When community cloud was launched in 2014, the product management team wanted to make sure that all existing portal customers were able to take advantage of community cloud features without the need for intervention by a Salesforce Account Executive, and with minimal administrative disruption to our customers. To that end, Salesforce Product Management took several key steps to ensure that current portals kept operating and that the transition was seamless:
|All Legacy Portal Licenses work with community cloud.||To minimize the disruption and ease customer migration to community cloud, product management designed community cloud to work with both legacy portal and current community licenses. Moving to a community is simply a matter of configuring a community, then adding the existing profiles of the portal-licensed users as members of that community.|
NOTE: Some customers are still using the free Self-Service Portal that was retired in 2012. This legacy portal did not require licenses, so customers using Self-Service Portal will need to contact their AE to purchase Community Cloud licenses to get started.
|Unless otherwise indicated, portal licenses used within a community get community functionality||Almost all features associated with Community Cloud (including Chatter/Collaboration, Topics, Page Templates, and Community Builder) come as a result of using the Community web property, and NOT from using community cloud licenses. As such, using legacy portal licenses with a community results in those users getting all community cloud features.|
Because community cloud is a go-forward strategy for Salesforce, it’s important to note that we MAY IN THE FUTURE make improvements that are not available to users with legacy portal licenses. This is reflected in our contract language. But as of January 2016, no feature that is available to users with current community licenses has been withheld from users with legacy portal licenses. The legal disclaimer is there simply to cover our bases in the unlikely case that product management team encounters technical issues with the legacy licenses that prevents them from making new features available to those licenses.
It’s important to note that all customers with legacy portal licenses retain the ability to swap their licenses at any time...when they are ready to undertake the administrative work to do so.
|Current Community Licenses are not officially supported when used with legacy portals||You may have users who have registered for your portal and have been assigned legacy portal licenses to access that portal. This is a supported configuration. You can use those same users (with their portal licenses) in a community, and this will also be a supported configuration.|
If, however, you create a user with a community cloud license and make that user’s profile a member of the legacy portal, this configuration is not officially supported by Salesforce. In our experience testing this, it works seamlessly but we cannot guarantee that orgs with this configuration will not encounter issues in the future.
That’s why it’s a good practice to create a community first, then use your existing users, with their legacy licenses and profiles, with that community instead of trying to switch licenses and move to community all at once.
|Customers with legacy products can continue to add to the counts of those products||As a general rule, Salesforce customers can continue to add additional counts of SKUs they already have on their contracts. This is true for legacy portal licenses. So if you own legacy portal licenses today, you can contact your Account Executive to add to those license counts.
Using Portal Licenses with a Community
The following are key technical steps (but not an exhaustive list) of how to create a community and use your existing portal licenses and profiles with that community. The key lies in creating a community that lives in your org alongside the legacy portal(s), then switching existing user profiles over to that community when you are ready.
|Survey your existing portal configuration||Legacy portals were set up under two places:
One could create multiple portals in these screens:
- Setup→Customize→Customer Portal→Customer Portal Settings
It’s important to survey these portals for their tab configuration so you can create an equivalent (or better) experience in the new community.
|Survey existing portal membership||Each portal in your org had a membership list. After configuring the portal, admins could assign the profiles of users with portal licenses as members of that portal. The members appeared as a related list on the detail page of each portal:|
The users who are assigned these profiles have already been created, and have a login to the portal. Moving these users to a community license is possible, but is not necessary to make them members of a community.
|Create and Configure a Community||Communities are created and configured in a separate area of Setup, under Customize→Communities. One can create multiple communities in an org:|
NOTE: All communities in an org are configured in the same place. This is different from portals, which had separate lists for partner-focused and customer-focused portals.
Additionally, community cloud introduces the ability to run your community on a community template instead of using the legacy Tab UI. This is a valuable new UI that makes it much easier to create a community.
Full configuration of a community is not covered here. Refer to the Community Implementation Guide, Portal to Community Migration Guide and Help & Training for full details. Also, consult the Community Implementation group on the Success Community for discussions around this.
|Configure Community Membership||After configuring your community, you can add your existing portal users as members of that community in the Community management Console’s Members pane:|
NOTE: This will cause your users to be sent a welcome email if the community is active.
NOTE: Community cloud also allows you to add any employee with a Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, or Platform license as members of the community at no extra charge This allows them to collaborate with customer, partners, and others: