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Salesforce Lightning upgrade may create winners and losers

Recent upgrades to Salesforce Lightning may benefit customers who can now build new apps -- but how will it affect partners who have apps that tackle the same problems?

The recently announced Salesforce Lightning upgrade puts customers squarely at the forefront -- but the move may leave some partners out in the cold.

Since the initial launch of Lightning in 2014, Salesforce has been touting the platform as the gateway to a better user experience, with its intuitive interface, faster development and, most recently, the ability to build applications on top of the Salesforce portfolio. In its upgrade to Lightning, Salesforce president of products Alex Dayon noted that Lightning's enhancements this time around are also designed to bring greater cohesion to Salesforce development environments as a whole. "One platform, one experience," was the mantra of the announcement.

Salesforce also debuted the new configure, price, quote (CPQ) application it built on top of its Sales Cloud, based on its acquisition of SteelBrick in December. Salesforce demoed the new app at the event in which it announced the Lightning upgrade, and it was "pretty seamless," noted Brent Leary, a partner at CRM Essentials, who was at the event and discussed some of the highlights in this SearchSalesforce podcast. "The fact that we were able to see [the demo] when the acquisition just happened speaks to the power of the Lightning platform," Leary noted.

At the same time, the fact that the Salesforce Lightning upgrade integrates CPQ natively raises questions about what will happen to partners of the company, like CallidusCloud and Apttus, whose business is CPQ.

"For customers, making CPQ, making it more consistent, that's a good thing," Leary said. "But from a partner perspective. I don't know. There may be some winners and losers here."

Leary also spoke with Sara Varni, senior vice president of product marketing for Sales Cloud, about some of the change management that companies may face in taking full advantage of the Salesforce Lightning upgrade by building new applications. Varni acknowledged that while some customers are ready for Lightning, "not everyone is at that point," Leary said.

"For companies to come on board and take full advantage, it's a new way of thinking," he said. They may have to create new business models to accommodate new applications, for example, and that is about getting out of a "routinized way of thinking," Leary added.

For more, check out the podcast above.

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