Salesforce.com is hoping to give its user experience a jolt with a new, more modern design for its marquee Sales Cloud service with the announcement of Salesforce Lightning on Tuesday.

At its Dreamforce conference in 2014, Salesforce previewed a drag-and-drop Lightning App Builder that developers could use to build apps on its platform. Now it appears the Lightning brand will be used to usher in a new look and feel for the cloud vendor’s legacy products and serve as a guideline for third-party app developers building onto those core services.

Companies using the Sales Cloud can start previewing the Lightning Experience today, Salesforce says, and the new look will be generally available in October.

The new Lightning look for the Salesforce Sales Cloud is designed with mobile devices in mind.
The new Lightning look for the Salesforce Sales Cloud is designed with mobile devices in mind.

The make-over will no doubt be welcomed by many users of the San Francisco-based firm’s cloud services. Ask any sales person that is familiar with Salesforce to list their complaints about it and an aged interface that’s too information-heavy will often be near the top.

Take this scathing review posted by Matthew W., a senior product manager at SafetySync, to G2 Crowd.
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“It’s not intuitive, they do not keep up to date with web standards and the interface is just a nightmare,” he writes. “You don’t know how bad it is until you use a website with an intuitive interface that doesn’t make you click five a half a dozen times just to get to an edit screen.”

Overall Salesforce’s CRM scores very positively on the user review site, at 4.1 out of 5 with 831 ratings, but the above sentiment is what it’s hoping to eliminate.

Salesforce-Lightning-2The new Sales Cloud Home page offers a one-stop shop for salespeople that includes account insights and recommendations on what actions to take. The overall site is a responsive design, adapting to screen size (or browser window size) and users can now send files directly from the platform.

A new Pipeline Board shows all active deals, allowing salespeople to drag-and-drop the prospects as they move through the sales cycle. The Activity Feed shows reps all the details related to a specific deal and what the next step to take is in one view. Salesforce Chatter is integrated for collaboration.

Salesforce is also stressing the ability to customize its new interface. Build a dashboard featuring key performance indicators with Salesforce Wave, the vendor’s analytics software, and embed that into your home screen.

Along with the new design approach comes new guidance for independent software vendors (ISVs) that build apps on the Salesforce platform. A pilot for the Lightning App Builder and the requisite Components for Lightning Experience will be piloted in October, and are expected to be generally available in the first quarter of 2016.

Salesforce customers with the Sales Cloud Group Edition or higher will be given access to the new Lightning Experience version of the app. Access to the Lightning App Builder and Components for Lightning Experience are included in all CRM and Force.com licences.

 

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