Salesforce has introduced pre-packaged themes into its Community Cloud offering, giving companies greater creative control over their community portals. Through its Lightning user experience framework, anyone can develop a site, and Salesforce has made it even easier to get started by enlisting 12 partners to provide specialized WordPress-style themes.

Beginning this October, companies will be able to select portal solutions across a wide spectrum of industries, from partners such as Accenture, 7Summits, Cognizant, Deloitte, PWC, Appirio, and Magnet 360.

More than 9,000 communities have gone online worldwide since Community Cloud was unveiled in 2013. Companies have used them to provide customers access to their account information, deliver online self-service, or enable purchases. Other use cases include helping partners target leads, establishing new franchises and retail locations, and giving employees the tools to find human resource and benefit information or collaborate on projects.

Salesforce Lightning Bolt solutions.

Above: Salesforce Lightning Bolt solutions.

Image Credit: Salesforce

However, really tailoring these sites to suit the needs of individual companies was still difficult and required more developer resources. Fast-forward to last May, when Salesforce revamped its Community Cloud to incorporate its Lightning framework — offering better customization around communities, with 900 portals going live in the past year.

So what about tailoring communities to companies’ specific needs? This is where Salesforce’s new Lightning Bolt offering comes into play. Think of it as WordPress themes that you can download from the AppExchange, but which are specific to individual use cases, from patient scheduling to supply management, retail store management, mortgages, partner relationship management, and customer service.

“The third wave we’re working on now is ease of deployment and evolution of the community,” explained Mike Stone, Salesforce’s senior vice president for product marketing. “How do we make it easier for customers to set up and deploy communities and add functionality to move them forward? These 12 different partner-created Bolt solutions have taken lightning-based communities and created a solution for specific use cases.”

The 12 templates can be found within Community Cloud starting next month, but if your company wants to create its own special design, you can go ahead and submit it once the Lightning Bolt framework becomes available. Once approved, the templates will start appearing in the AppExchange starting in 2017.

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