PROVAIL’s Lightning Migration: “From Brontosaurus to Pterodactyl”

Kim LappalaPROVAIL is a nonprofit supporting children and adults with disabilities in primarily King and Snohomish Counties of Washington State. PROVAIL’s Employment Services program provides community-based vocational assessments, individualized job placement, job coaching, and supportive employment for adults with disabilities. They partner with the business community to recruit, hire, and train employees with disabilities. Their Employment Services program uses Salesforce to track program participants’ information, business contacts, job development efforts, job support, case notes for services provided, and billing.

Bigger Boat recently worked with PROVAIL to rebuild their legacy Salesforce app from the ground up, this time in Lightning Experience! We sat down Kim Lappala, Program Manager at PROVAIL and asked her to share their experience.


1. In one word, describe your org in the old Classic experience.
┬áStagnant – honestly this question brought to my mind a picture of brontosaurus legs.


2. In one word, describe your org in the new Lightning experience.
Flexible – it feels like it went from a trusty brontosaurus, clunky, but sturdy, to a nimble pterodactyl that can zip around and do all sorts of cool stuff.


3. What is your favorite Lightning feature?
DASHBOARDS!! I’m well-known on our team as a spreadsheet kid, data nerd, etc. We have all this info on our participants and depending on how we look at different pieces of it, we can set goals and push ourselves to do better work. I’m pumped about being able to track our team goals visually and on the go. I love that as someone enters a wage or hours increase or a new job, I can see our needle pushing towards our goal. We have the ability to be proactive instead of not knowing our data and having to be reactive.
“BS” in dashboard is shorthand for Billing Summary


4. What was the most challenging part of rethinking your operations in Lightning?
It’s definitely hard to break free from your old habits, even if those old habits didn’t make sense to begin with. I had several clunky workarounds that were passed on to me and I hadn’t even taken the time to think, “how can I do this better?” and “how can I use Salesforce to do this more efficiently?” Breaking free from old habits took a little getting used to, but I’m glad I did. It gets easier to really look at how you’re doing your work and think of more efficient ways to get things done.


5. Where have you seen the biggest win from moving to Lightning?
I’m so glad we’ve made the switch because I’ve been able to streamline our billing process and open up days of staff time each month for other projects. I’m still getting used to some of the nuances of Lightning and there are some things that Salesforce is working on adding as we go, so some features I’m used to aren’t in Lightning yet. Even so, the perks of cutting down on the amount of time we’re processing billing, streamlining check-ins with our team members, and having handy mobile-friendly dashboards has definitely been worth it. Why wait several more months to make the switch, when you could be saving time now and focusing on improving your processes and providing better services now?


6. What advice would you give to a nonprofit admin thinking about moving to Lightning?
Use Trailhead! Learn how to do things in Lightning, learn what it can do, learn about current limitations, and see if switching to Lightning could help your agency improve processes. Plan your rollout, prep your users, train your users, and continually check in with them to see how things are going with Lightning once you make the switch.
Read our blog series to learn more about PROVAIL’s supported employment solution.