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Salesforce Spring 16 Feature Write-up – Lightning Experience

Salesforce Spring 16
Salesforce Spring 16
The Spring 16 release notes are out. You know what else is out? Star Wars. In about 5 hours, I will be in an IMAX experiencing that (with five 9 – 12 year olds), and I feel like I’m about to explode. Am I sitting here in my Millennium Falcon t-shirt writing this hoping to distract myself over the next few hours? Yes I am. Is there anything wrong with that? Not at all. Glad that’s out of the way. Let’s get to the 2nd geeky hobby I have – salesforce.

With Winter 16, the monster feature was Lightning Experience. As we mentioned in our write-up, it was a very exciting step forward, but it was still missing a lot of functionality. Spring 16 seems to also be focused quite a bit on Lightning Experience (50 pages of release notes dedicated to it) and a lot of new features are tied to it. Due to that, we’ll focus our first post strictly on Lightning Experience and then dive into the other. In what looks like yet another 4-part blog post, here’s the order we’ll be going in:

  • Part 1 – Lightning Experience
  • Part 2 – Service Cloud
  • Part 3 – Collaboration – Chatter, Communities and
  • Part 4 – Sales, Salesforce1 and the General Platform

Alright, let’s get started. We’ll start with the net new Lightning Features, but then at the end, we’ll have a list of existing features that with Winter 16 were only supported in Classic, but now are supported in LE.

  • Expanded Homepage – The new and improved LE Homepage gets some new features this release as well. In addition to Assistant and Opportunity Dashboard that were added in Winter 16, you get 3 new components in Spring 16. First you get an Account Insights tab that will highlight news for Accounts that you own. Then, similar to the old homepage, you now have a panel for Upcoming Events as well as a panel highlighting Today’s tasks. Still doesn’t look like you can customize the homepage though – so in particular for non-Sales users, this isn’t as powerful.
    Updated Lighting Experience Homepage
    Updated Lighting Experience Homepage
  • Composer Window – Very slick new feature that I can see a ton of potential for in the future once it opens up a bit. Now, from the global navigation, you can click on a + icon and it allows you to create an Event, Task or Log a Call no matter what you are looking at in salesforce. Basically, instead of having to go navigate to the record you want to create a quick note for you can do it at any time using this. When clicking it, a window slides up from the bottom left (the below shows what it looks like if you did two of these) where you can enter your information. The release notes says this works for Notes as well, but in the pre-release org, “New Notes” was not an option. We’ll see.
  • Lightning Experience Composer Windows
    Lightning Experience Composer Windows
  • List Views – Users can now create and edit List Views in LE, and in general, the List View builder gets modernized with Lightning. Doesn’t look like additional functionality is included, but it does look much easier and intuitive to create these now. Big benefit to non-admin users.
    Lightning Experience Create / Edit List Views
    Lightning Experience Create / Edit List Views
  • Task Features – A bunch of new Task / Activity / Event features. First is a pretty cool Opportunity Calendar beta where you can see the progression of Events related to an Opportunity. Only thing I don’t like here is it’s called “Next Steps” on the Opportunity screen, but doesn’t have anything to do with the Next Steps field that almost everyone uses. Would have been nice to somehow combine those. In addition, the Tasks tab (I do love that Tasks and Calendar have their own tabs now) has ways to filter to look at Overdue or Upcoming Tasks. In the new Calendar, with a single click, you can now create Events as well. Finally, what used to be the Activity related list in now the Activity Timeline. This allows you to see all Events and Activities in a single view related to a record to see what is coming and what has past. Pretty handy feature, and supposedly they can be combined in reports too.
    Activity Feed in Lightning Experience
    Activity Feed in Lightning Experience
  • Even more Notes Enhancements – Salesforce continues the beefing up of Notes in Spring 16 with a bunch of great new features. I’ve mentioned it before, but with the take-off of applications like OneNote and EverNote, salesforce clearly saw users leaving Notes in systems other than salesforce – which is a problem for adoption. These enhancements of the last few releases really brings salesforce Notes up to par with these other tools, and even past them when you consider the Notes are saved against the record they are about. With Spring 16, salesforce gives us the ability to view past versions of a Note. This is a huge feature, especially for those users that like to keep one big running note vs. separate notes on a record. There is now also the ability to add images to a Note, as well as change the text color or highlight text within a Note.
    Even more Notes features with Lightning Experience
    Even more Notes features with Lightning Experience
  • Updated Report Charts – Some quick new features to Report Charts, but for some reason, not Dashboard Charts. First, you can now add a reference line to the chart to show a goal, etc. Really handy. I always do this in Powerpoint, so love to see it here. Next up, we now have a Funnel Chart type for reports. Would be nice to see this on Dashboards too, but I assume that’s coming soon. Finally, you can now change the colors in chart elements.
    Reference Line in Lightning Report Charts
    Reference Line in Lightning Report Charts
  • Existing Features Now Supported – Here’s the list of existing “Classic” features now supported with Lightning Experience:
    • Inline Editing – Huge.
    • Person Accounts – Beta only
    • Opportunity Teams
    • Campaigns – With some nice improvements here. First, you can now add Campaign members in one page, vs. having to do it with two steps like in Classic. Next you get a nice Donut Chart to show the overall Campaign Status on the Campaign and then can click down into the Member details. Lightning Experience not only now supports creating Campaigns, but also viewing related Campaigns for Leads, Contacts and Opportunities.
      Campaign Status Chart in Lightning Experience
      Campaign Status Chart in Lightning Experience
    • Assets – Also includes a huge improvement to Assets that we’ll discuss in the Service Cloud post!
    • Users Creating List Views
    • Right Clicking – I love how salesforce listens. In Winter 16, you couldn’t right click on the LE tab images and open in a new window / tab. Now you can.
    • Matrix Report Details – You can now expand Matrix Reports to see the details.
    • Dynamic Dashboards
    • Table Dashboard Component
    • Case Feed
    • Assigning records to Queues
  • Overall, a bunch of good new features for Lightning Experience, but more importantly, a lot of the existing features from Classic are now supported. We’re still missing some features, like Forecasting, Record History, Custom Buttons, Revenue Schedules, and some others. That said, most of the big, common features are now covered. I think with Spring 16, you can give Lightning Experience a much deeper look – in particular for your Sales users.

    Next write-up on Service Cloud will be after Christmas, so Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and may the Force be with You!!!

Harry is the CEO and founder of GearsCRM, with more than 18 years of experience working with the Salesforce platform. Outside of Gears, Harry enjoys debating Star Wars and Marvel with his son and sharing music and videos with his daughter. He is an avid racquetball player, bleeds Dodger blue, cries Jets green and always tries to find spare time to read a good fiction novel.

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