Migrating from Classic to Lightning

Today, we are in a day and age where the design of an interface and experience matters, most customers that have been with Salesforce for over a decade have been using Salesforce and its amazing features on its traditional user interface “Salesforce Classic”.

And in the now, with Salesforce’s release with their lightning experience which happened in October of 2016, we are looking at an increase of customers that are looking to migrate out from the old classic and into the new lightning experience.

The questions that a customer faces to achieve this always starts with the multiple Hows and Whats to achieve this task.

  • How do I ensure that my current system is ready to move to the lightning experience?

  • How do I make sure that none of my current functionalities and features get affected?

  • What steps do I need to follow to make this jump?

  • How can I measure the success rate of the move from Classic to Lightning?

  • Who can help me achieve this?

That’s where I come in and want to assure you that with all the questions that you may have, there are no rights or wrongs. Hey, at the end of the day you have invested in a functional system for over a period of time and you obviously want that experience to continue and grow.

I know it might be a bit scary since you're walking into uncharted waters, having to move into this new interface, and have your end-users adapt to the system quickly and gain confidence using the system to continue making it a success.

A few reasons why we need to make this move quickly, first as you all know Salesforce’s focus has shifted from its Classic interface to Lightning, where all new features and functionalities that roll out with every release from Salesforce is impacting the way we work but it is only happening on Lightning.

That is why I am here to talk to you about the few guidelines you can follow when you’re moving your organization from the traditional Salesforce Classic interface into the new world of Salesforce Lightning.

These Guidelines that are presented to you are ideally my point of view from past experiences of do’s and don’ts, learning experiences from mistakes which brought me to a conclusion on how we in the Salesforce Community can achieve this successfully.

So here are my Guidelines for a successful migration from Salesforce Classic to Lightning.

Step 1 -

Get an expert's opinion and analysis - This can be someone from within your team or a consulting Salesforce implementation partner that you can work with to run a small workshop and understand your current system, what has already been built, what works and what does not work, what are your key functionalities and features, how customized is your current system, what are the impacts that you are going to face, how much time are you going to spend to achieve this, what is the end outcome.


Step 2 -

Deep dive into your system - with a person who has the expertise in Salesforce, take it a step further get down to the nitty-gritty and claw through your current system, take a look at the data model that has been built, the automation around business processes, how much custom Salesforce native apex code has been put in place and if you’re using any custom Visualforce pages how have they been built and what is their core functionality, any external applications that are integrated with the current system, any managed packages that are installed from AppExchange and what is their core functionality.


Step 3 -

Take a step back and evaluate - Once you have identified all these features that are built within your current system, you need to take a step back and really understand and look through what has been working for you and is being used extensively and what functionalities have been put in place but never really mattered and have never been used. Do you actually need them, do they fulfill some part of your business process.

  • The data model is over clustered and should I declutter.

  • Those automation processes around my business process what is and what isn’t working and what has never really been used.

  • Code - run a check on the code and learn if everything in the code is up to date with the best practices that need to be followed and how is the health of your system and coverage of your code.

  • Check-in on those Visualforce pages that you're using, run a basic analysis using a reporting tool from Salesforce to check how ready those pages are to move to lightning. With your visualforce pages, there is a step that needs to be checked on how heavily customized the page is with HTML styling. Cause when you make that move you want to make sure that you have everything lighting with the look and feel. By understanding and analyzing these pages you can take a call if there is a possibility to move those pages to Lightning Web Components or if you need to play around with the current styling to retain the Visualforce Pages due to its heavy functionality.

  • Check your integrations, it's always a good idea to run a small check to ensure that all your applications are integrated, in case there are a few dependencies on the Classic interface for them to function(Moving data from your system through a click of a button or link) these features have to be accounted for when making that move.

  • Check-in on all your managed packages that you installed from the App store (AppExchange), this is something that religiously needs to be performed especially if these apps are tied back to your systems business process. Check whether those apps are compatible with Lightning or if you need to look at an alternate solution.

  • Evaluate any impacts that you're going to have with this shift due to functionalities that have not been built using the best industry standards and practices.

  • Run the readiness report this will give you an understanding of how ready your system is to move to Lightning.

  • Document all your findings and evaluations, this will help you refer to them when you're going to make this jump.


Step 4 -

Review and understand the capabilities of lightning and its features - Since you have been on Classic for quite some time and not had a chance to look into Lightning and its features, it is always a good solution to have the person hand-holding you through this process and ask them to list out all the features that lightning has that can optimize your current solution built on classic and can replace those features with the new lightning experience. For eg. you may be sending out multiple alerts to your internal team in the form of email communication this can be optimized to using the lightning bell notification feature. Helping your users stay on top of their work and declutter their inboxes.


Take a look at the lightning UI and UX (User Interface and Experience) to get a feel of the navigation, you may be asking yourself why do I have to do this? It's simple by getting accustomed to the layouts and the navigation will give you a better idea of how you want your users to navigate through the system and how you want the Pages and Layouts to look like. This will help you coordinate with the expert partner consultant that you are working with to draw up wireframes/mockups based on the lightning interface and come to a comfortable user interface/experience.


Step 5 -

The Interesting part - Documentation - While all the steps above help you get a better understanding, the one important step prior to going ahead with the migration is documentation. From the smallest field change to the biggest change in code has to be documented. When you draw up and get all your requirements in one place it becomes the easiest way for you and anyone to refer to and understand what is about to happen with the migration process. It helps you keep a track of all your requirements and is a go-to guide for everything. Even the minor details of your wireframes can be tracked here, this also helps the person who is going to do the groundwork to migrate the system and acts as a guideline and reference document for them.


Step 6 -

Planning the Migration (Similar to a Project Plan) - Effectively planning the project and the migration process by breaking the requirements down into Epics, User Stories, and Milestones is the best way to start planning your project. I personally believe that using an Agile Sprint based plan will help you achieve your milestones and User Acceptance Testing to get done much faster. This will also ensure that you are building a robust system without any issues and also ensure that when the final product is completed your users get the best experience using their new Lightning Experience. How do you ask? To answer this is quite simple, if your sprints are planned effectively you can complete a set of tasks, give it to your end-users to play around with, and get real-time feedback on things that do or do not work. This will enable you to get them fixed/resolved on the go. So when the final product is delivered it meets your end-users needs.


Step 7 -

The Last Lag of your Migration - Prior to moving all the stuff that you have changed around and built, you have to make sure that all your end users are ready to use the new interface. How do you do this? It’s quite simple and can be achieved with 4 simple steps.

  • Handpick a few of your current users who are your Salesforce Champions/Trainers.

  • Get your partner or the person who is the owner of the requirements to do training with them and give them reference and demo videos.

  • Give them access to the system to start playing around and gain hands-on experience with the system.

  • Your Salesforce Champions/Trainers are now ready to go out and train the rest of your team.


Step 8 - Maintain usability and increase adoption - Since this interface is fairly new to your users and you need to increase adoption. I have personally noticed users moving back to the Classic Interface cause they are happy with it. You need to put your foot down, stand your ground for what you need to achieve. The best approach to do this -

  • Restrict access for your users to switch back to Salesforce Classic.

  • Enable a point and click solution - there is a solution available in Salesforce to help users Navigate or if your willing to go the extra mile pick up a product like Walkme or Whatfix which helps your users move through the entire process with the guidance of what they need to do, where they need to click and how to navigate through the system.

  • Ensure that your Salesforce Champions/Trainers are available to guide your users and help them.

  • Check your reporting and analytics on record movement, this will ensure that your metrics are being tracked and your users are not dropping the ball due to the new interface.


Step 9 -

See the change and reap the benefits - Post your release take constant feedback it helps to know what your users need and want. Make sure you are able to meet the critical expectations of your users.

With your new Lightning experience, you will now be able to grow with Salesforce as they roll out new features that might help your business use cases and processes get more streamlined.

You will be able to feel the difference with Analytics as you no longer need to view the old outdated Classic Dashboards.

No longer do you have to think of building too many custom solutions to meet business needs, you might just be able to configure some of the lightning features.

You're introduced into a new world of multiple possibilities, you can now take advantage of other products Salesforce has to offer such as the Live Agent to chat with your customers, Einstein Bot/Chatbot to increase leads and user productivity, Einstein Analytics and so much more.


I hope my views help, they have been detailed out from experiences with similar implementations to move from Classic to Lightning. Learning from mistakes, Do’s and Don’ts and extensive effort to get adoptions right has brought me to a place where I am now comfortable to say that this is the best methodology for anyone in the Salesforce Ecosystem planning to take this leap.

So trust me when I say, don’t think twice or be hesitant about moving to the Lightning Experience and get onboard with the future of Salesforce.

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