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August 30, 2017
The top six Salesforce Lightning features…and why they matter
By: James L. Novakoff and Jeff Lacey

The top six Salesforce Lightning features…and why they matter

Today's top forward thinking global leaders are already increasing ROI, earning payback and increasing their average annual benefit. How? They’re achieving those benefits with Salesforce Lightning. But there’s a wider story about Lightning: How it helps companies apply customer-centric design to CRM, enabling them to gather the right information about customers, quickly interpret it and thus drive increased productivity and growth.

Applying customer-centric design to CRM is part of how #Salesforce Lightning helps companies drive productivity & growth.


And then there’s the "happiness factor"—how Lightning can make your customers (external and internal) happy to do business with you. 

Following are six ways Lightning can do all this … and more.

  1. Process-based customer management that includes Kanban views for improving your daily work. Before, Kanban was only available for use in Opportunities. Now it enables sales reps and others to visually track and manage leads, contracts and campaigns. One key here is the visual aspect, which accelerates and simplifies everything. Combine that with the ability to drag and drop for updating, and now reps can more effectively monitor their progress with leads, contracts, and campaigns using the same Kanban-style visual layout they use for their opportunities. Plus, reps can now edit or delete records from the Kanban view.

  2. A new component exchange for easily acquiring Lightning building blocks. The Salesforce AppExchange offers searchable, reusable nuggets of functionality from third-party software vendors that can run on a desktop, a mobile device, even a billboard if you want. All that’s required is a little imagination and a business need. As one example, Accenture offers more than 30 ready-to-use custom Lightning components through its internal component library.

  3. Cross-component updating, providing the ability to support more complex processes. This includes analytics and artificial intelligence to, for example, use data mining and machine learning to proactively identify trends in sales, service and marketing systems. Let’s say your big customer stopped buying something, or suddenly doubled the regular order. Thanks to AI and analytics, you’re proactively notified, then asked, ‘Do you want to call or email this person or get more info on the products?” Meanwhile it’s all updated in Salesforce and, if you want, you can dictate an email—as if you were typing directly into Salesforce.

  4. Intuitive and simpler experiences on more types of devices. Sure, Salesforce always worked great, but before Lightning, the interface was more “80s” than today—and that makes a difference. People tend to get more use out of tools they’re comfortable with.  At one global insurance company, reps selling retirement packages tend to use Lightning much more often than the old Salesforce interface because, well, it just feels right. They like that they can drag information between boxes. No more opening multiple records and filling in fields and saving to a specific record. Now one click and they can call it a day. 

  5. More realistic development expectations for application design, which reduces total cost of ownership. Reducing or eliminating the cost of developing code is a big deal; so it the ability to reuse Lightning components across many applications, amortizing the cost.  Lightning App Builder employs drag and drop technology to make building and customizing apps quick and easy for non-technical users. Let’s say you want a map showing the location of all your customers. Just add the Google Maps component to your Salesforce application and link it to your Salesforce customers. Use the map again and again for different customer groups … and if there does come a time when a more complicated app needs to be built, the Accenture Salesforce application development methodology is proven and ready to help, as is our team.

  6. Lightning components can run in applications outside of Salesforce servers. Lightning Out, for example, offers an intuitive way to extend CRM capabilities outside of the Salesforce Platform. This enables users to quickly browse account contacts in external applications—maybe a customer portal or SharePoint. Lightning Out also enables developers to bundle Lightning Components, such as a JavaScript library, and embed them in web pages. Another fun example: You could pull Lightning onto your car dashboard’s interactive screen to get a full snapshot of what is going on—as somebody else drives, of course. 

These Lightning features are just skimming the surface. As explained in a recent blog by Daniel Le Jehan, Accenture Cloud First Applications EMEA and Latin America Lead, it’s clear that we’ve arrived at a transformational moment for Salesforce.

Focusing on the findings in the Accenture Technology Vision for Salesforce, Le Jehan notes that the implications are profound—including helping companies provide a smarter and faster experience for customers and allowing IT and business users to bring new applications to market faster.

Lightning is worth a look because the deeper you go, the more you’ll be impressed. For more on leading practices and key activities for making the move to and using Lightning, read more detail in our POV—Path to Enterprise Excellence with Salesforce Lightning.

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