Salesforce Lightning vs Classic: The Differences Between Them and Why You Need to Make the Switch

The hype is real. More and more organizations are switching from Salesforce Classic to Lightning. And why not? Lightning provides companies with a variety of new features, including enhanced dashboards, more detailed insights, and an intelligent home page.

Like every Salesforce customer, you’re probably thinking: “Should I make the switch?”

And of course, that question isn’t an easy one to answer. Every company uses Salesforce differently, from workflows to custom development. But the first step is understanding the differences between the two, and why Lightning is, in the end, the better platform.

So which factors should you consider before making the switch to Salesforce Lightning? Let’s read on to find out.

Understanding the Lightning Advantage

A Better User Experience for End Users.

First off, there’s the improved experience for end users. Admins, for instance, can now enjoy an enhanced drag-and-drop functionality that doesn’t require code. Rather than collaborating with a developer to create or modify a Salesforce page, an admin can rearrange the page components to their liking.

In other words, Lightning components replace the constant need for Visualforce. After all, coding is only the first step in the development process. The code next needs to be tested and QA’d, then deployed. If there were any missed or unforeseen bugs, the code goes back to the developer and the process starts over. Again, Lightning removes these types of processes from the development process.

That’s not to say companies no longer need Visualforce developers. On the contrary, Lightning helps developers by moving minor customization tasks to the end users. Developers can now focus their time on larger app development and customization projects.

The Addition of Einstein (Wave) Analytics

While the User Interface(UI) upgrade alone is superior enough compared to Salesforce Classic reporting, Lightning gives users access to Einstein (Wave) Analytics reporting.

How do the two compare? Classic reporting relies on standard reporting types to create lists and static charts and graphs. These dashboards are great for capturing a snapshot of valuable metrics at the time the data was refreshed.

Einstein Analytics is a whole other animal. The platform has its own database pulled from Salesforce and is automatically updated every hour. When someone opens a dashboard to view a metric, the most recent data refresh is shown.

And speaking of dashboards…. Einstein-created dashboards can be drilled into and explored. If a sales manager has a metric showing the number of closed accounts this quarter, they can click on the metric to see the data behind it (e.g. types of accounts closed, the sales reps responsible for closing them).

Einstein Analytics also comes with many new features, including:

  • Widget editing right on the dashboard
  • Dashboard exports as pictures
  • More advanced formula calculation capabilities

In other words, Classic reporting is like a painting, then Einstein Analytics is like an immersive 3D experience. Rather than being an observant, you’re actively participating and seeking your own answers.

Not to mention Einstein Analytics’ look is slick and modern, while the Classic version has, well, a classic look (though some would say dated).



The differences are striking, right?

When I asked Mark Tossell, CIO of Visioneer360 what he thought about the new analytics featured in Lightning Experience here’s what he had to say:

Native Salesforce analytics are great, but Einstein Analytics takes business intelligence to whole new level. My top benefits include processing performance, data integration, relationship modeling, and all-round awesomeness!

^Tweet This^

Lightning Experience is More Secure

Another big win for Salesforce is the enhanced security that comes with Lightning. LockerService, for instance, is a security feature that isolates Lightning components (the building blocks of Lightning pages) so they can’t interact with each other. This helps safeguard against malicious input.

Permissions also work a bit differently in Lightning. Users can’t raise their assurance levels, say from standard to high, in-session. Instead, they’ll have to log out of Lightning and sign in with an authentication that has the higher assurance level. This is important for companies that require high-assurance security sessions for report and dashboard access.

Lightning Has Made Great Strides

We get it, Lightning doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to transitioning and compatibility. That’s mostly due to the fact that Lightning, upon release, wasn’t compatible with custom code, objects, and apps.

For the most part, that’s in the past. All custom metadata objects are now supported in Lightning, making it easier for companies to transition their existing workflows and apps without building from scratch.

That sounds great… but are there any drawbacks?

The short answer, yes. As with any large product update, your users and developers will have to make some sacrifices (at least, to start). Some major points to keep in mind include the following:

Yes, everyone will face an adjustment period

First off, everyone at your company will need time to adjust to the new UI and may need to adjust their workflows.

For example, Lightning is slow on refreshing changes. If a user decides to add a field, it doesn’t appear right away. We’re sure Lightning will catch up, but it’s these small limitations that might give users a headache at first.

There are also some features in Classic that simply won’t be available in Lightning. Printing and editing reports, for example, can only be done in Classic.

JavaScript Changes

Yes, we have some bad news for JavaScript developers. JavaScript buttons aren’t supported in Lightning, which can be a significant pain point for users that relied on them. Yes, there are workarounds, like Lightning action, though this will require some adjustment on the users’ end (more on this later).

On the bright side, Lightning continues to rely heavily on JavaScript, though they’ll have to juggle working with two new environments: Lightning, and Lightning Mobile.

Is It Time I Make the Switch?

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this post. And while we’re big fans of lightning (really, we are), the decision is ultimately up to you.

We know, that sounds like a cop-out answer, however true it may be. Every company is different and has different circumstances. With that being said, we’re happy to provide some things to consider before deciding to move forward with Lightning:

Get a Sense of Your Requirements

Thankfully, your organization doesn’t have to navigate the world of Lightning alone. Salesforce has a tool called the Lightning Experience Migration Assistant, which walks users through the key differences between Classic and Lightning.

Even better, the Migration Assistant has two tools – Readiness Check and Preview – which evaluate your organization’s current Classic structure to determine how ready you are to migrate to Lightning.

This check will generate a report that lists what you need to tackle in Salesforce before making the switch. You’ll also have access to a Lightning Experience expert, who can answer your questions and help you determine the first steps of your organization’s implementation plan. Speaking of which…

Take One Step at a Time

There’s no reason to feel like you need to transition your entire organization over at once. Transitioning one department, such as sales, at a time will give you time to train those users on changes specific to their roles. This will help focus your training and reassure users that their questions and concerns aren’t being looked over.

Yup, Lightning is Better

According to the Salesforce 2017 Lightning Adoption Survey, respondents reported the following:

  • 44% conversion rate increase
  • 41% user productivity increase
  • 21% win rate improvement
  • 23% sales cycle time reduction (i.e. time to close)

That’s right. Salesforce spent years creating a tool that will help teams improve their sales processes and, ultimately, land new clients. Lightning, in the end, is the superior platform. Every company should consider making the switch.

If you still have any questions, or want help making the switch to lightning, contact us today to get a free consultation with one of our Salesforce experts.


IMG credits: Lightning vs Classic Dashboards.

Leverage best-in-class tools to help your customers

Get Started