By Jef Cozza / Top Tech News. Updated September 14, 2016.
Customer relationship management (CRM) giant Salesforce is aiming to make it easier for companies to deploy new customer-facing Web sites, thanks to a new framework for its Lightning platform. Dubbed Salesforce Lightning Bolt, the framework is designed to integrate with the company’s existing CRM platform more easily than other frameworks for customer sites.
“The new Lightning Bolt framework enables the experts in our partner ecosystem to create tailored Salesforce Bolt solutions to meet the specific needs of virtually every industry," said Mike Micucci, GM and SVP, Salesforce Community Cloud, in a statement. “Companies will be able to leverage Salesforce Bolt solutions to deploy robust, next-generation communities, portals and more with just a few clicks, making it easier than ever to connect with customers in new ways.”
Expanding on Lightning Templates
Lightning Bolt represents an expansion of Salesforce's existing Lightning Templates for Community Cloud, which it launched last year. Lightning provides templates so companies can quickly create customized communities for their customers, partners and employees. Lightning Bolt is designed to build on that idea by allowing developers and partners in the Salesforce ecosystem to build industry-specific solutions, such as B2B e-commerce, partner relationship management, and patient care portals.
More than 10 partners, including Deloitte, Accenture, and Cognizant, have already developed Salesforce Bolt solutions for specific industries, according to the company.
“”With Lightning Bolt, companies can jumpstart the creation of a new community, next-generation portal or customer-facing Web site that seamlessly integrates with Salesforce CRM in a fraction of the time and with far less investment than was required before,” according to a blog post by Mike Micucci, Salesforce's SVP of product management for Community Cloud.
New Tools for Insurance, Retail, and Manufacturing
Among the new tools being built with the Lightning Bolt framework is Community for Insurance Agents by Accenture. The tool provides insurance agents with new self-service capabilities, including dashboard features and sales productivity tools.
“It’s imperative today for insurance companies to quickly deliver digital environments that empower agents to collaborate, discover new insights, and connect with customers in meaningful new ways,” said Toan Huynh, managing director at Cloud First at Accenture, in the Salesforce statement. "With the Community for Insurance Agents Bolt solution, companies no longer have to reinvent the wheel to deploy a personalized, branded portal to supercharge agent productivity and performance and deliver on their agent engagement strategy faster.”
Accenture has also built Store Operations, a new platform that connects store associates so they can share and manage information about customers, stores, departments, merchandises, promotions, inventory, and operational details on a mobile device.
Consulting firm Deloitte, meanwhile, said it has used the Lightning Bolt framework to create a new tool for manufacturing companies called FastLean. The new product provides tools for CPQ (configure, price, quote), field workforce management, customer and partner communities and analytics, the company said.
The Lightning Bolt framework will be generally available starting in October as part of the Community Cloud license, at which time customers will also be able to begin deploying Salesforce Bolt solutions. Developers in the Salesforce ecosystem can immediately start creating Salesforce Bolt solutions, and will be able to distribute them via the AppExchange in early 2017, the company said.