• Emily Malone

Our top 10 Salesforce Lightning features from the Spring ’17 release

Happy new year from the Salesforce team! Now we’re back into the swing of things (albeit a few lbs heavier!) you’d think that all the festivities are over… BUT FEAR NOT! Salesforce (SF) has got your back, filling in that awkward gap between Winter and Summer (except for those of you who celebrate your birthday in Spring – Happy Birthday!).

They’ll be delivering their colourful update shortly, and though some may be subject to change (‘Safe Harbor‘ and all that), we’ve gone through all* of the 472-page-thick release notes, so you don’t have to!

We’ll also throw in one or two of David’s 2017 cheese-related jokes, they’re brie of charge…**

*Nearly all **I’m not sorry

So, here’s the top 10 LEX Spring ’17 release things that we’re looking forward to:

1. Salesforce Lightning Knowledge

Sounds cool, huh? This is Salesforce Knowledge going into Lightning Experience, which sounds great – but I’m going to throw a Jayta tag to it (It’s like Beta, but more… me?)

Lightning Knowledge is here, but with a few key caveats.

It doesn’t support multi-language, multiple Article Types; you have to migrate them all into one, delete the unwanted ones then create record types. Nor does it support transferring of existing Article Attachments from Classic to Lightning. That’s just the top three downsides, but there are others.

So although this might not be a good point to jump at for existing knowledge users right now, it does mean that another great SF feature is now arriving into the 21st century.

2. Favourites

In Classic you could customise your tab ribbon, to suit you and only you. In Lightning, you have favourites! Similar to bookmarks in a normal web browser, it allows you to mark:

  1. Records

  2. Specific Lists

  3. Dashboards

  4. Reports

  5. Chatter Groups

This is for quick and easy access. You can have up to 200 variants of these, with the ability to search through them. So if you’re a list person, you can have a list… of lists!

Salesforce favourites list

Better yet, the navigation bar also references your favourites and displays them at the top of the quick-access list.

Salesforce quick-access list

 3. Lightning utility bar

The utility bar brings us a whole new level of app level customisation that could take the form of Batman’s toolbelt. Frequently need to run a Flow that creates a new record? No problem, we’ll stick it on your belt. Want to see your notes, or pull up Chatter – you’ve got it! Why not throw in a few frequently used report charts? Just because you can.

The utility bar stays with you at the bottom of the page and can be customised per app, so if you have an app for your sales team and an app for marketing, with both teams needing different tools, you can provide it. With the ability to launch a flow or even a Visualforce page from your toolbelt, you can do pretty much anything.

Lighning utility bar

 4. Product entry updates

Okay, we couldn’t think of a cool name for this, like Lightning Knowledge, or The Bat-Belt, but it’s still cool.

Who’s seen the Opportunity Product entry process for LEX? No? Here’s a picture. Yes; it’s one at a time, save, new, and repeat. Even searching for the product hurts.

product entry updates

Okay yes, you can replace this with a completely custom solution, we have done so several times for both Classic and LEX. But now, you can search and tick 50 products at a time to add in bulk.

product entry updates 2

You can also edit in bulk; by clicking ‘Next’ on the above screenshot or ‘Edit all’, you’ll be taken to the multi-line view, which is all Lightning-y!

 5. Sales Path becomes ‘Path’

LEX users of old would have at some point come across Sales Path, and in many ways, admired its aesthetically pleasing way of removing the Opportunity Stage field from the layout, and showing it as a guideline. It’s great, and it’s also shown below:

sales path becomes path

Well, I’m pleased to say, it’s hit puberty! No longer specific to Sales, SF have renamed it ‘Path’ and made it available for Quotes and custom objects as well. All you need to do is (enable it, first) choose the object, record type and picklist field to use through the setup menu (search for ‘Path’).

Once you’ve chosen the basics, you can make it more complex by choosing additional fields required for each step. Things like, adding useful tips to help drive completion, motivational quotes or just a picture of your good self to encourage success (or reward it).

sales path becomes path 2

We’re about half way now so it’s time for one of David’s cheese jokes (and our response to it):

cheese puns

Back to business….

6. Lightning Console

We’ll cover this really quickly, but it’s a huge piece. For those of you who haven’t seen or heard of a Salesforce Console, it’s a native way to have a tabular platform without actually opening in new tabs (for those of you who have tried in Lightning, it’s a little clunky to open multiple tabs).

Now it’s available in LEX, and it’s great! It allows for the LEX look and feel, LEX functionality and better yet, for those of you who’ve never used one before – SF are GIVING you a vanilla build console app! In days of old, you’d need to request the Admin set you up a console app, then you’d get distracted with all the pretty colours to choose from (or was that just me?) and eventually, you’d get it.

Now, you’ll start using the standard app, and submit your changes to your admin for an easy setup process.

This is a beta release and for existing classic Console users, the apps aren’t migratable. But for new LEX users, it’s great!

Here’s a 2-minute creation. You can see through one web tab I have the home page, an account list and two accounts open, each I can pin or refresh individually. With 30 minutes, the possibilities are endless.

Lightning console

 7. Visual Workflow (VisFlo) has reached ‘Grandad’ status with its field visibility rules

I’ve titled this point under the assumption it wasn’t just my grandad who used to magically pull £1 coins from my ears, then magically make them vanish in his hands and appear in the back of my Nan’s barnet. This is exactly that — through visual flows you can now specify field visibility criteria. For instance, a flow element that asks how to be contacted — if the user selects ‘Phone’ then a ‘Phone Number’ field appears. If they select ‘Email Me’ then an email address field appears. How cool is that?!

Salesforce VisFlo

I should probably point out this is a pilot, but this has been one of the most simple sounding and common complaints since I met SF. So a step in the right direction? Yes. Yes it is.

 8. Kanban, Kanban everywhere!

This is literally exactly that. Kanban has been expanded to be available everywhere* and it’s even open to the personal touch. Your users can now create their own Kanban view, for example use the view settings to change to Kanban from any related list and you’ll be prompted to choose what to group and summarise by. It’ll even remember for you, but you can change it in future. Here’s an example of an account Kanaban.

Salesforce Kanban

Don’t like the settings you’ve chosen? No worries, hit the cog wheel at the top right and choose ‘Kanban Settings’ to change it.**

*There are a few exceptions, like Tasks and Knowledge **any changes to shared related lists, affect everyone who views that list.

 9. Dashboard enhancements

As usual, Dashboards are getting a seasonal injection of steroid-like features! Here’s our top three Dashboard enhancements:

  1. View dashboards as other users You can now create a dashboard in the view of someone else, or create a dynamic dashboard to allow users to choose the point of view they see things from

  2. Add funnel and scatter graphs to dashboards Finally! We have Funnel and Scatter graphs; Opportunity Pipeline dashboard users can now rejoice.

Salesforce dashboard enhancements
  1. Expand components to get the bigger picture – click a dashboard component to see it.

Dashboard enhancements

10. Go Grease Lightning (App Builder)!

There are too many enhancements, like Dashboards, to write about individually, so here’s our top three (again!):

  1. Assign Record Pages by App, Record Type and Profile Giving us more flexibility on how objects interact with the record settings and user settings is great, the customisation potential with this alone could make LEX incredibly intuitive.

  2. ‘Related Record’ component I had asked one of our developers to create this for me in the past, on a read only basis, but SF have only gone and ruddy done it! a standard component to expose on the record pages that can look up a related record. For example, on the opportunity page to show Account fields. But wait; there’s more! If you play around with some quick actions on the related object, you can also allow quick updates without having to navigate away.

lightning app builder
  1. Choose how related lists appear Last but not least, you can choose whether you want to display all the related lists, or just one at a time. You can also choose whether you want to show them as a list (1) or tile (2) (providing you place them in the wide region, narrow regions are tile only). BUT WAIT; THERES MORE! You can also show a related list from a related record (3). For example, other opportunities under the parent account, or sibling opportunities, if you will. Here’s what I mean — on the right, all of the specific opportunity related lists. At the top, sibling opps.

related lists

Anyway, we hope we’re not the only ones stupidly excited about these features, and if you’re not, we hope we’ve wet your appetite for the full list of features is in the Spring ’17 release notes.