Salesforce Lightning Strikes Twice

Salesforce last week launched Salesforce Lightning, combining its new Lightning Experience and new Lightning Design System with its Lightning App Builder and Lightning Components released last month.

Lightning Experience ensures that information is tailored to suit the screens of desktops, tablets and smartphones as required.

There are consistencies across devices, “but slight differences to allow for the different form factors and how people use them differently,” explained Sara Varni, SVP of marketing for Salesforce Sales Cloud.

“Lightning Experience … enables our customers to sell faster and smarter,” she told CRM Buyer, noting that it’s based on feedback from more than 150,000 customers and is highly customizable.

Salesforce “is on the right track here, as there’s pent-up demand for fresh mobile user interfaces,” observed Al Hilwa, a research director at IDC.

With this announcement, “we’re seeing Salesforce double down and use its technology in its own application in a much bigger way,” he told CRM Buyer.

Translation, Please

The Lightning Design System translates Salesforce’s design principles of clarity, efficiency, consistency and beauty into extensible Cascading Style Sheets to build components that work with Salesforce on every device and OS.

Lightning App Builder and Lightning Components will be familiar to anyone with object-oriented programming experience. App Builder lets devs build apps using a drag-and-drop visual interface of Lightning Components, which are reusable app building blocks that can be anything from single UI elements to microservices, all connected to the Salesforce1 Platform.

“With these announcements, Salesforce is getting ever closer to the ideal of letting any user develop and maintain standardized, sophisticated and maintainable apps, with or without declarative coding,” said Denis Pombriant, principal at the Beagle Research Group.

“That’s big,” he told CRM Buyer.

This update is long overdue, according to Bluewolf CEO Eric Berridge.

“With the new Lightning Experience, Salesforce is making headway to unify both the mobile and desktop experiences,” he continued. “Now there is a version of a page that makes contextual sense specifically to the user, no matter what device or form factor is used.”

Lightning Experience for Sales Cloud is now available in preview. It’s scheduled for general availability in October.

Lightning App Builder and Components for Lightning Experience on the desktop will be in pilot in October and are scheduled for general availability in Q1 2016.

The Salesforce Lightning Design System is available now, at no charge.

The Sales Cloud Revamp

Salesforce last week also released a rebuilt Salesforce Sales Cloud.

The Sales Cloud redesign incorporates feedback from more than 150,000 customers, Salesforce said; it includes Lightning Experience and more than 25 new features.

The redesigned home page aggregates all required information, including Account Insights, which highlight relevant news for accounts and prospects, and Assistant, which recommends key actions to take.

Users can send files and emails to contacts from within Salesforce.

Existing customizations are brought forward to the Lightning Experience.

Enterprises can configure dashboards easily and relocate charts on the fly, and they can customize processes such as Sales Path, as needed.

The Sales Cloud now has a four-column dashboard, fulfilling the request of 80,000 of the 150,000 customers who provided feedback, according to Salesforce.

Building the Enterprise Around CRM

CRM is the new center of gravity for businesses, in Salesforce’s view.

Salesforce’s inherent flexibility lets companies “quickly accelerate and align people and processes across all departments, spanning sales, marketing, service and IT,” Bluewolf’s Berridge told CRM Buyer.

“Companies are no longer constrained by inflexible technology that barred them from scaling infrastructure,” he pointed out, so “they can refocus on business outcomes.”

Some apps that previously were in the back office, such as HR and compensation, have been moved closer to the front office in CRM, Beagle’s Pombriant told CRM Buyer. This enables better access between front-office apps and back-office data, facilitating interaction with customers.

Lightning “is a great opportunity for businesses to build apps that can be changed or built quickly, he said, enabling them to change as fast as customers do.”

Richard Adhikari

Richard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it's all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon's Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.

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