Speed up the development of your company’s online hub with Salesforce Lightning Bolt

Enterprises and medium-sized businesses aiming to develop a personalized community hub for their users, partners, and employees just received a powerful new tool from customer relations management (CRM) giant Salesforce.com.

Today the San Fransisco-based company announced Salesforce Lightning Bolt, a framework for its signature platform that will accelerate a business’s ability to create and deploy personalized, industry-specific home pages that can be accessed from any device.

“With Lightning Bolt, companies can jumpstart the creation of a new community, next-generation portal, or customer-facing website that seamlessly integrates with Salesforce CRM in a fraction of the time and with far less investment than was required before,” Mike Micucci, senior vice president of product management for community cloud wrote in a Sept. 8 blog post.

As the name implies, Lightning Bolt builds on Salesforce Lightning, a 2015 release that updated Salesforce’s Community Cloud user interface, and specifically its Lightning Template feature, which according to Micucci has been used to create nearly 1000 custom communities for users, partners, and employees since its release last year.

The key difference between Lightning Bolts and Lightning Templates is that third-party Salesforce developers can now use what the company calls “Lightning Components” to create solutions with pre-built business logic and workflow, such as e-commerce capabilities, recommendation engines, and case management, with what Micucci promises is “drag and drop ease.”

Naturally, the platform is also integrated with Salesforce’s signature CRM software, he noted.

To show off Lightning Bolt’s capabilities, more than 10 partners, including Accenture, Cognizant, and Deloitte, have announced Bolt-based solutions for industry-specific communities, including:

  • Accenture’s Community for Insurance Agents, which allows insurance companies to provide their agent with sales productivity and self-service tools, plus dashboard features such as Agent360, through a mobile-friendly portal.
  • Accenture’s Store Operations, a mobile-first solution that gives sales associates a central hub they can use to access customer, store, department, merchandise, promotion, inventory, and operational information.
  • Cognizant’s Banking Collaboration Accelerator, which simplifies the application process for prospective borrowers by allowing them to apply for a loan on their mobile device, and by accelerating behind-the-scenes discussions between a bank and other parties involved in the transaction.
  • Deloitte’s FastLean for Manufacturing includes a variety of features aimed at increasing sales and services efficiency, including CPQ, field workforce management, customer and partner communities, and analytics.
  • And for technology companies, 7Summits’ PartnerFirst provides channel managers and their partners with a cloud-based platform both parties can use to collaborate in real time, along with personalized dashboards, streamlined on-boarding, and deal registration.

Salesforce plans to make Lightning Bolt generally available as part of its Community Cloud license in October, which is when customers will be able to start deploying Salesforce Bolt solutions as well.

Third-party developers, meanwhile, can start creating Salesforce Bolt solutions now and will be able to start distributing them on the company’s AppExchange sometime in early 2017.

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former editor of ITBusiness.ca turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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