Salesforce says that Lightning Experience is “an intuitive, intelligent interface that helps sales reps work more naturally and close more deals faster.”
This, by the way, is a really good marketing pitch for a CRM platform although ‘close deals faster’ would have been easier on the brain.
Many users actually found that to be true. With its Salesforce Lightning migration, sales reps at T-Mobile reportedly cut down the number of mouse clicks to create a pricing quote from 104 to just 8. That’s a massive improvement, isn’t it? Who wouldn’t want that?
Despite the improvements on offer, many companies have still not migrated to Salesforce Lightning. A lot of companies still continue to use Classic because of two important reasons.
First, migrating from Salesforce Classic to Lightning is an arduous process that can potentially take several days, if not months.
Second, users will be slow in adopting Salesforce Lightning coming off a long affair with Classic and will take quite some time getting up to speed. And that’s despite all the training programs that companies have in place.
There is a lot of collective effort and time that is required to be put in before you migrate to Salesforce Lightning and cut 104 clicks to 8 to generate that quote. But, if you’re a Salesforce user, you’ll know it’s worth the effort.
The question now is if there are smarter ways to solve the two problems companies have in migrating to Lightning.
Our answer is yes. And so, in this post, we’ll examine why the post Salesforce Lightning migration strategy is as critical as the migration strategy itself and suggestions to create one.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the migration strategy that’s important for organizations to reap the benefits of Salesforce Lightning, but also the post migration strategy that’s equally critical.
Salesforce Classic to Lightning Migration Period
There isn’t a lot of public data around the time it takes for companies to migrate from Classic to Lightning. However, we have statements from two companies about their migration journey.
Telecom major T-Mobile took about five months for the complete switch to Salesforce Lightning from Classic and Visualforce while investment management company T Rowe Price estimated its Lightning roll out time to be between three and six months.
That’s a lot of time for a software upgrade. It is and it is so because enterprises like T-Mobile don’t just have one Salesforce application but rather work on an ecosystem with a ton of customization and development in place. There are multiple customized instances which have to be translated to the new UI.
Salesforce has been thoughtful enough to provide users with a Salesforce Lightning Readiness Tool which evaluates a company’s readiness to make the leap to Salesforce Lightning. It’s good help but T Rowe Price reports that there will be some instances which the tool is going to miss, so another manual evaluation would be a good idea.
Even if the Readiness Tool passes an organization in flying colours, implementation would likely not be a smooth ride. When software migration at such a large scale is carried out, it must be done in phases. Roll out must be gradual with a constant feedback loop in place.
Should you migrate?
From what T-Mobile and T Rowe Price have stated, it’s amply clear that switching from Salesforce Classic to Lightning will be a case of complex organizational change management. But are there benefits? Should you even switch?
Let’s ask Bob Bird, who is the Senior Manager of Salesforce Operations at T-Mobile, and oversaw T-Mobile USA’s switch to Lightning. Bird said T-Mobile made the switch because it wanted to streamline sales processes and remove internal hurdles in sealing deals. Salesforce Lightning was their saviour. In simple terms, the “switch was about bringing more productivity to sales reps’ jobs.”
So to answer the question, yes, you should switch. Even if you think Classic is doing a great job for you. Why? Because Salesforce Classic might not live for too long. Salesforce has already made it clear that it is building new features only for Lightning.
Yes, there are some things you can only do on Salesforce Classic but there are 200 other things that you can do/will be able to do on Lightning.
So, at some point in time, the leap has to be made or you could be left stranded.
Putting Together a Salesforce Lightning Migration Plan
There are already a lot of resources you can use to assemble a Classic to Lightning migration plan. Salesforce also provides a Lightning Migration Assistant which lets you preview how your organization would look like in the Lightning mode before actually switching live.
But obviously that’s not enough. You need a crystal clear Lightning rollout plan. You need to do pilot runs first, test in sandbox, see if there are issues and gradually roll it out. Salesforce has put together a generic migration strategy for companies to follow but, most likely, it will not be enough. In fact, nobody can put together a migration plan with a high degree of specificity unless they know the company inside out and have a very deep understanding of the Salesforce implementation there. So, who’s the best person to put together a migration plan? It’s the Salesforce operations department within a company. A lot of companies also hire change management experts to deal with the migration but it’s just another option.
Planning for Lightning Post-Migration Period
Fast forward. Migration’s done. There were some hiccups but it’s done. Most probably, there still are hiccups. Users are new to the Lightning build but they haven’t adapted yet so they will keep doing things like they were still in Classic.
Agreed, learning is an important part of the migration strategy and Salesforce has very generously provided a lot of training material in Trailhead. But, can you expect users to get up to speed on Salesforce Lightning Experience right from the word go? No.
So how long will it take? Do you have an answer?
Switching to Lightning is a much more complex instance of change management than what most people realize. T-Mobile completed their migration to Lightning in May 2016. In October 2016, Bob Bird said his company was still in the retraining mode and would go on for another six months. That’s like a year just for post-migration training!
T-Mobile does have thousands of users, but still, that’s a long time. But then, of course, they wouldn’t be investing that time for retraining if it wasn’t required in the first place. It shows how important the post migration period is and how critical and time taking it is to get users to be productive on the platform.
The point is that even though Lightning is just an upgrade, it is like a vastly different universe with faint similarities. For instance, a lot of users tend to have issues with record sharing in Lightning since there is no option for it. The workaround was to switch to Classic, finish the job and get back to Lightning again (There is also a component on Salesforce App Exchange for this). This is not the only issue that users will encounter. Most likely they will be hundreds more surfacing on a daily basis. How much time does each user lose trying to figure that out?
What was the whole purpose of migrating to Lightning? Bringing more productivity to sales reps’ jobs.
How is that even possible if they spend all their time trying to figure Lightning out. Sales reps will realize this before everyone else and they will be scratching their heads thinking what have they gotten themselves into. Product adoption is directly proportional to user satisfaction and the realization that the product adds value.
So, does that make Salesforce Lightning a bad product upgrade? Does it mean companies shouldn’t switch to Lightning?
Training During or Post Migration?
Lightning is ready for all the companies out there and vice-versa. But the mistake most companies make is that they focus so heavily on their Lightning migration strategy that their post-migration planning is rarely up to scratch.
Training is an obvious answer to the question about getting users up to speed on Lightning. But when? Do you train users on Lightning during migration or after the switch?
Rollout strategies recommended by a lot of experts suggest training sessions during the migration period. T-Mobile was carrying refresher training programs post migration.
If the purpose of switching to Lightning was higher productivity, you can’t have refresher trainings for a year because that leads you into the implementation dip. Training programs during migration may not have a lot of recall value when Lightning actually goes live.
So, what’s the best way to go about it? Training during or after migration?
Learning While Doing Inside Salesforce Lightning
Classic or Lightning, it’s still Salesforce. And Salesforce users know the core of the platform. What they need is always-available performance support that can lead them through the chores within the application. It’s not online training, it’s not simulation, it’s support embedded within Salesforce Lightning.
What users need is just to be step-by-step guided inside Lightning after migration so they can understand how each functionality is used and what they need to get their job done.
For instance, think about sharing records. An interactive walkthrough can point them to switch to Classic, then show them how to share records and then switch back to Lightning. In the absence of the walkthrough, users would probably be searching through Trailhead, internal documentation or scouring the internet for answers.
If they fail to find the answers, they would raise a support ticket. This sequence of events has been summarized here in three sentences, but, in reality, it could take hours. Hours of productive work lost on figuring out how to get a simple thing done in Lightning.
The burden is not just on productivity but on IT support teams as well who have to handle spikes in support tickets
A simple walkthrough could have saved the day.
It is also possible that a lot of users understand Lightning pretty well. It’s just the deeper functionalities that get them confused.
Would you like them referring back to Salesforce release sheets, roadmaps and so forth for information?
Users just need embedded support which will answer their queries within seconds and simultaneously provide learning allowing users to master Lightning very quickly. Performance support that’s available all the time within Salesforce Lightning and helpx users resolve their queries without any time lag or without another person’s interference is a smart solution.
Guided walkthroughs have a good recall value and with users who know Salesforce Classic, all it requires is just one instance of support and they’ll be up to speed. That’s something conventional training can’t do for you.
Something like the interactive walkthroughs that Salesforce itself uses within Trailhead, but, much more expansive. Salesforce itself has claimed that documentation and training is pretty much dead.
What works today is interactive content for users which can help them get their jobs done faster and more efficiently.
Salesforce Trailhead as an Alternative
The other solutions are obviously learning resources. Deloitte has a Salesforce training program. Salesforce itself is probably the best resource with its Trailhead program. It’s free and they have some really good training material coupled with interactive walkthroughs for new releases. But the downside is the time it takes.
For instance, the trail “Get Started with Lightning Experience” for Admins is listed to take 8 hours and 45 minutes. Just one trail, that is. Spending so much time on training and learning defeats the whole purpose. Nevertheless, it is still a good resource considering the amount of information that is available.
Modules within Trailhead are good too with smaller timelines and more specificity. But then again, it’s plain reading. Something Salesforce itself says is dead.
Whichever solution you opt for in your post migration training, the fact is: There’s no escaping Lightning. Tomorrow, next month or next year, the leap to Lightning has to be made. But don’t just take a leap of faith, plan for the migration and plan for the time afterwards too.
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