To give salespeople access to relevant content in a beautiful design to close sales, Salesforce unveiled its new Salesforce Lightning platform, which consists of the Lightning experience, Lightning Design System with Lightning Components and Lightning App Builder. Lightning adds 25 new features and brings a brand new Experience to Sales Cloud.
Described as a re-imagined CRM for the modern era, the Lightning platform shows the same data and information as Salesforce1, and represents the company's 48th release based on the feedback of 150,000 customers and 16 years of experience.
Lightning brings a new experience on the same Sales Cloud platform, said Mike Rosenbaum, EVP & GM of Sales Cloud at Salesforce. Essentially, you're looking at the same data and information with a new responsive, highly customizable UI.
The new Lightning experience allows users to navigate their content in two different ways. There is an expandable and collapsable menu on the left in a view that's borrowed from the Salesforce1 platform, according to Rosenbaum, and also a search bar at the top to let users quickly navigate to relevant information.
The UI reminds me a lot of Windows 10. The left navigation menu feels similar to the navigation on Microsoft's new Mail, Calendar and Photos apps, and the Lightning's search bar feature and predictive intelligence share similarities with Cortana.
Salesforce is also bringing predictive insights to the Lightning platform to surface information, news and relevant content about sales deals and clients. If you're working on a deal with General Electric, for example, Lightning may pull in the latest company news. An assistant feature will alert you of new opportunities and remind you of tasks needed to close a sale. A quick view function allows you to hover over content to get more detailed information without having to leave the page.
Lightning users can customize their dashboards with more than three columns by dragging and dropping content, widgets and charts.
Even though Lightning's web interface may look like that of a tablet-optimized app, Salesforce is still committed to deliver a mobile app experience for mobile devices, said Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris. Lightning is designed to scale across platforms and design formats, added Craig Villamor, Chief Design Architect for Lightning.
Lightning is built on open standards, APIs and CSS. To build Lightning apps using the Lightning App Builder, Salesforce will give developers, partners and customers the same technology as what the company uses internally, Harris said, noting that Lightning is built as a platform.
The Lightning Experience for Sales Cloud is available in preview today and will be released in October. Users can choose when they want to migrate to the new Lightning Experience, and they can try out select features before they fully migrate.
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