migration plan

Migrating from a portal to a community #1 — Develop a plan

by Chris Gardner

The Salesforce Cloud can be a great benefit, and if you have an existing Partner or Customer Portal built into Salesforce, it’s vital to ensure you’re taking full advantage. Modern Lightning communities make helpful features and capabilities available to your users. Access to Chatter, community member permission sets, and SSO, along with increased partner record and feature access, are all valuable tools available to Salesforce Cloud users.

It’s critical to have a plan in place to migrate your portal to the newer framework. In this first installment of a three-part series, we’re going to look at developing an effective migration plan to help you move to your new community. And any solid plan begins with some critical decisions.

1. What is the transition timeline and plan?

2. Who are our users?

3. What functionality will we retain from the existing portal?

4. What new functionality are we adding?

Let’s go over each decision.


Portal strategy

Typically, it’s best to leave the existing portal in place as you open your new community and relocate power users. This process is also an excellent opportunity to solicit valuable feedback from your users before completing the migration.

When you’re ready to implement your plan, managing URL’s can be a challenge. However, we have found in most cases that deal with the impact of a new URL (and later forward the portal domain to the community domain) is typically much easier than managing a hard cutoff date for the portal URL. If that isn’t an option, it becomes very important to communicate with your users to ensure they are prepared for the change.


User personas

As you build your new community, don’t miss out on the opportunity to create or revisit your user personas. Knowing your user base is critical. A thorough understanding of your users will enable you to better make the key decisions that will influence your new community’s usability.

Key questions to ask about each type of user in your partner or customer portal include:

What are they trying to accomplish?

What are their primary pain points with the current portal?

What do they like about the current portal?



Easier updates are a significant benefit of the new Lightning community framework, and page updates are a simple drag-and-drop experience. Outside of internal improvements, you will also be able to provide users with access to additional features.

Identify the features that need to be duplicated in your new community. What features, code (Visualforce), or capabilities are essential to your users? It’s also important to determine what additional benefits you can bring to your users. Can you clean up pages, streamline processes, or make a more user-friendly design?


It’s human nature to resist change, but helping users understand you’re introducing genuine improvements that will streamline and simplify their experience will help reduce frustration and increase user adoption.

Once you have your plan and personas in place, you’re ready to start building your new community. We’ll help you begin your build in part two of this series.


Chris Gardner

Chris is a Salesforce Consultant and Developer with Simplus. He is an experienced leader with a focus on implementation, best practice consulting, and marketing. Chris has over ten years of experience in consulting for small to large businesses. He fosters healthy client relationships from initial engagement through handoff. Chris is skilled in turning client requirements into actionable system designs and following best practices to implement and optimize Salesforce solutions.


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