The Summer 18 release has a number of high profile new features and improvements for Lightning Experience.  If you are at all on the fence about making the switch to Lightning, check out the volume of excellent Lightning only new features and enhancements.  Below, is a selection from the 512 page document.  I have provided a link to the release notes, some text with a link from the document (in italics) and a comment about the feature(s).

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Salesforce Overall

Lightning Adoption

You’re on the way to fully transitioning your org to Lightning Experience. How can you ensure that users embrace the new Salesforce? If they’re slow to move from Salesforce Classic, encourage them to stay in Lightning Experience by automatically switching them every week. Salesforce Classic users see what they’re missing in Lightning Experience with new learning prompts.

Salesforce is making Lightning adoption a priority in this release by adding a number of features designed to help encourage adoption.  I expect this to be an ongoing theme in the coming releases.

Get Guidance for Data Protection and Privacy Regulations

Work your way toward complying with data protection and privacy regulations. Regardless of the regulations and policies with which you’re complying, we give you guidance to help you evaluate the best way to meet your requirements.

With GDPR becoming law in the EU on May 25th, Salesforce along with every company is bringing forth new features to help customers manage privacy.  There are a number of tools/features in this release to help companies manage and understand a variety of Privacy regulations.

See Field Dependencies While Editing a Record Details Page

It’s now easy to view and update all dependent and controlling fields when editing a picklist or checkbox on a Record Details page.

This is a major improvement when editing records.  Related to this is the improvement to Path that allows you to update dependent picklists from within a Path.

Sales

Convert Leads with Contacts to Multiple Accounts and Other Conversion Enhancements

If your business uses Contacts to Multiple Accounts, when sales reps convert a lead to an existing contact, they can now associate the contact with a new or existing account. Sales reps can now expand the Opportunity section of the Convert Lead window by clicking the opportunity name. In Setup, the option Select Don’t Create an Opportunity by Default in Convert Lead Window now works in Salesforce Classic.

This is a nice set of features to make converting Leads and especially converting Leads with an Opportunity more efficient.

Products: Work with Schedules in Lightning Experience

With product schedules fully available in Lightning Experience, reps can now do it all in one place. Establish, update, and delete revenue and quantity schedules on opportunities without leaving Lightning Experience. If you’ve been waiting on product schedules to switch users to Lightning Experience, the time has arrived.

This is a large step toward complete Lightning to Classic feature parity.

Path: Path for Contacts, Dependent Picklist Support

Path is all about making your team’s processes run more smoothly. Help your reps build stronger relationships with their contacts by setting up a Path. Plus, your reps can travel a Path more easily by updating dependent picklists without having to break their stride.

Path is a great way to show users progress visually in Lightning.  The addition of Contacts and field dependency support makes this feature even more useful.

Einstein Activity Capture: Wider Availability, Email Insights, and Improved Activity Timeline

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You don’t need a Sales Cloud Einstein or Inbox license to use Einstein Activity Capture. Plus, we added Email Insights and improved the activity timeline so that sales reps can zero in on activities that have insights. And now you can control how data is collected and processed.

This is a BIG deal.  Now you don't need to buy an add-on Sales Cloud Einstein license in order to get the benefits of Activity Capture.  You’ll now have the ability to assign Standard Einstein Activity Capture permission set to up to 100 Sales Cloud users at no additional charge.  Connection to a Google or Microsoft account is required.

Activities: Tasks List View, Bulk Task Creation, Predefined Subjects, and More

Boost your reps’ productivity with the tasks list view, offering table view, split view, and Kanban view. Create predefined subjects that reps can use for tasks and events, and create copies of a task for colleagues. Plus, the activity timeline has a new filtering option to help reps focus on only the tasks they’re involved with.

These new features are designed to make working with Tasks easier.  The addition of the Kanban board for Task management is a great advancement for visually moving Tasks and Activities through statuses.  Also, customizable pre-defined Subject lines will be very helpful for adoption of Task tracking in Salesforce.

Send List Emails to Campaigns and Campaign Members

Sales reps can add campaigns and individual campaign members as their list email recipients, expanding their reach to customers. The list email appears on the activity timeline for the recipient and the recipient’s account, and optionally on the campaign. Logging list emails gives your company a 360-degree view of email activity.

Salesforce is making is easier than ever to communicate with Campaign members via email.  There might be concern about access to sending bulk emails form Campaigns, so make sure you only have this available to those you wish to send bulk emails.

Unify Contact, Lead, and User Merge Fields in Email Templates with a New Merge Language

The Handlebars Merge Language (HML) is replacing the Salesforce Merge Language (SML) in Lightning email templates. When you specify a merge field for a recipient, the merge field shows the corresponding field for a contact, lead, or user. No need to create separate templates for contacts, leads, and users, because they can all be in one template. You can also continue to use your SML templates.

Long needed enhancements to the email template builder are here!  The UI is more intuitive and the addition of unified fields for Contact and Lead is a huge gain.

Service

Case Management: Lightning Flow Guided Engagement, Case Teams, and Omni-Channel Skills-Based Routing

We’re introducing a robust set of features to help you and your agents manage cases better. Use Lightning Flow Guided Engagement to walk your agents through your business processes. Case teams in Lightning Experience help groups of agents work together more easily. And Omni-Channel skills-based routing lets your contact center route work to the best agent for the job.

If you are using Service cloud and Case management, there are a number of new features to look forward to.  Highlights are a new Lightning Guided Engagement that will step agents through a business process.  Also, the small but much needed feature, Email Drafts, is finally here!

Analytics

Reports and Dashboards: Lightning Experience Report Builder (Generally Available), Lightning Joined Reports (Beta), Subscription Improvements

It’s here! The Lightning Experience report builder is now generally available. Start gaining insights from multiple objects with the Lightning Experience joined report beta. Subscribe other people to dashboards. And a whole lot more!

The Lightning report builder is out of beta and is truly ready for prime time.  I've b3een using the tool in beta and have been quite happy with how much better the experience is than the Classic report builder.  Subfolders for Reports and Dashboards is another long-anticipated feature that is here in Lightning only.

Communities

Communities: Pre-Built Themes, Sharing Sets for Everyone, Pinned Posts, and Closed Threads

The Community Cloud makes waves this summer with fabulous new features. We’re excited to introduce ready-made themes in Community Builder, so you can change the look and feel of your community with a few clicks. We also expanded support for sharing sets, now available to Customer Community Plus and Partner Community users. Add some exciting new features on feeds, such as pinning posts and closing threads. Who needs a summer vacation when there’s so much fun in your community?

A great release for Communities indeed.  The addition of Themes is going to make creating high quality communities even easier and faster.  My gut says this will be expanded on even further in future releases.

Critical Updates

This release includes new critical updates for processes, flows, HTML-based email templates, and sandbox URLs. And we’re postponing a critical update for @AuraEnabled Apex controllers.

I definitely recommend reviewing the critical updates that are included in this release.  One in particular is that Salesforce will be removing the Instance name from sandboxes.

To learn more about the Salesforce 2018 Summer release contact eightCloud.