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For almost all Salesforce orgs that are still using the Classic interface, the question of migrating to the Lightning Experience is no longer a question of if but when. Salesforce has a host of resources to help you justify and prepare for the switch.  In an earlier post, I added to the chorus with my own favorite features of Lightning. If you're finally convinced that your organization needs to make the switch and you want to understand what the switch will entail for you and your users, we're here to help.

Because Salesforce is so flexible, there is no single path to a Lightning upgrade. For some, the process will be easy.  For some, it will require the involvement of outside consulting or development resources. Let's look at how you can figure out which group you're in.

The place to start your evaluation is with the Lightning Experience Readiness Check. Admins can access this assessment in Setup. Once the check is complete, you will receive a detailed (and long) report on your org that outlines areas to evaluate and correct before turning on Lightning for your users.

Lightning Experience Readiness Report

As you review the Lightning Experience Readiness Check for your organization, there are three key areas that will determine the ease or complexity of your Lightning Experience migration.

Do You Have Visualforce Pages Custom Coded in Original Format?

The Lightning Experience is a whole new visual design scheme and you'll need to update your legacy Visualforce pages using this new scheme. In some ways, this new design scheme is like a new style sheet for your pages.  You can actually add the APEX tag into your existing Visualforce code and see what happens (in a sandbox, of course).

It's technically possible (but highly unlikely) that your custom pages will look fine and you're done!  Most likely, you'll see some page functionality that is distorted or unusable in some way.  That's the stuff that will need some work, and you'll be able to see how extensive it is on the actual pages.

Do You Use Any Custom Buttons?

Custom buttons aren't necessarily a big problem. If a button is just a link or if it performs a simple action like updating a record, then you can easily recreate it in Lightning.

If, however, a button uses javascript to call an external system, to capture data values or to perform calculations, you won't be able to easily upgrade it. You'll probably need some outside help to either recode the button or find an alternative solution.

Does Your Instance Use a Community?

If your Salesforce instance includes a community that was developed in the Classic interface, you're likely going to want some outside help to migrate it to Lightning. There are a host of reasons for this. The three most important are as follows:

Lightning is a Fundamental Change

Lightning Experience for Communities introduces some great new features such as support for responsive page templates. But Lightning for Communities is not just a bunch of new features. It's a fundamental change in the way that you'll develop and maintain the interface for your community. To upgrade your community to Lightning, you'll effectively need to recreate the interface using a new framework rather than simply migrate the code.

Customization is common and expected

Another consideration in moving your community to Lightning is the level of customization it includes. Almost all communities include a significant amount of custom code, which is expected. After all, your community is an extension of your organization's unique brand. Any custom code will at a minimum need to be reviewed to determine if and how it will need to change in the Lightning framework.

Your Community Is An Extension of Your Brand

Finally, remember that your community is in many ways the face of your organization to some of your most valued constituents - donors, students, volunteers, board members, etc. If you plan to make changes to your community, you'll want to take a careful, structured and rigorously-tested approach.  

Other Ways A Partner Can Help With Your Lightning Upgrade

As you go through the process of planning your transition to Lightning, you'll compile a list of to-do's - some of which your team can handle and some of which will require outside help. In addition to these objective "to-do" list items, consider a couple of other ways that an outside consultant might be valuable during the process.

Solution Innovation

If you have one or more custom interfaces that are mission-critical and were developed in Visualforce, don't just dive in to recoding the page. This is a great time to do what we call "solution innovation."  Rather than simply updating old code that supported an original business case, take the time to rethink the business case. Has anything changed in your organization over the past several years that might change the business requirements?  An outside consultant can help you with this process and can also help you find alternate ways to accomplish your goals with solutions that may not require custom code at all.

Data Cleansing

The Lightning Experience only updates the visual experience and functionality of your system. If you've been working in Salesforce for 4+ years and haven't been following a regular data maintenance schedule, you are likely to have some dirty data. Outside consultants can be a great help with cleaning dirty data, a process that is often time-intensive and manual if you do it in-house.  KELL Partners has done so many data cleanup and migration projects that we've developed some slick automated tools to make the process as quick and error-free as possible. 

Ready to Make The Move?

If your organization is ready to upgrade to the Lightning Experience and you want the help of an experienced consulting partner, contact KELL Partners today! We've been helping nonprofit and education clients go farther and faster with Salesforce for over a decade, and we'd love to help your organization, too.