Salesforce Lightning Strikes

Salesforce today introduces Salesforce Lightning on the Salesforce 1 platform, a rethought and redesigned CRM experiences that the company is claiming sets a new standard for the industry. Salesforce Sales Cloud has been “rebuilt from the ground up” says a company press release, which credits Lightning with more than 25 innovations created based on feedback from 150,000-plus customers.

The company describes what it calls the “Lightning Experience” as a natural culmination of its move to mobile CRM with Salesforce 1 and its Lightning App Builder. The multi-year Lightning project looked to “completely re-imagine CRM for the modern era,” says the company.

“What I like about what I read, since I haven’t seen it in action yet, it is built so that regular people, not just sophisticated programmers and developers, can build everything they need to accomplish whatever their corporate and personal goals are,” says Paul Greenberg, author of CRM at the Speed of Light. “They promise what is an important component of true customer engagement in the omnichannel world we live in—consistent experience across all devices. So they are hitting the right spots and are the first to apparently deliver customization tools for personalized applications that lead to stronger engagement.”

Lightning comprises three main components. “Experience” refers to streamlined processes and intuitive workflows for ease of use on desktop, tablet, and mobile. A redesign features cascading style sheets and capabilities to turn users into developers. The third is an update of App Builder. “Lightning has the potential to be a platform its ecosystem of partners and customers can build engagement frameworks with to create experiences and outcomes needed to extend relationships with today’s sophisticated customers,” comments Brent Leary, an analyst with CRM Essentials.

Updated features include a new Sales Cloud homepage that aggregates account insights and recommends key actions to take with active accounts. A “Pipeline Board” visualizes deals in play and allows salespeople to drag and drop opportunities. Dashboards and processes such as Sales Path are now able to be easily customized to fit the needs of individual clients. Salesforce will be demoing Lightning for press and analysts this afternoon.

“What I will say is that the promise is great. But at the moment, it’s a promise,” Greenberg says. “I truly hope they can deliver it, because it could be an important step forward in this new customer era where engagement is the dominant concern of companies everywhere.”

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