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Communities License Swap – What’s Best For You?

If you want to move from a customer/partner portal to Communities, you might find yourself faced with a dilemma:

Should you swap your old portal licenses to Communities licenses, or not?

Don’t be alarmed, of course, your existing portals aren’t going away, but you may want to move to take advantage of some of the great new features. With Communities – you have quite a few options, but which one is best for your company? We’ve put together our recommendations to help guide you through the process.

  1. Keep using your portal licenses

Salesforce has made sure that Communities is backwards compatible (for now) with your existing portal licenses. That means you can turn on a community today, add an existing portal profile as a member, and your customers/partners could start logging in with no issues.

Pros: No need to migrate users to a new profile/license, easy to get started with Communities

Cons: New pricing options with Partner Communities licenses, if you need to move users in the future you may lose Chatter history for your existing users (since they need to be recreated, check out this helpful guide for more)

  1. Keep some portal licenses, but swap most

Depending on your existing portal license type, you might want to keep some around. The new community user licenses have been greatly simplified into two categories (Customer Community and Partner Community) and don’t have the range of options that exist with portal licenses today. If you elect not to migrate your users, or have a small number of existing portal users, you might want to leave the old users be and only set up new users in the community license type.

Pros: Blended approach means you can save effort while gradually moving towards a full swap

Cons: With two different active licenses, you will have to manage two different portal profiles and other user settings

  1. Swap all your licenses

Migrating existing portal licenses to community licenses is not a trivial effort. Because you may need to deactivate your existing users and create brand new users for them (see page 6 of this guide for more), you need to be aware of all potential data owned by or related to them (cases, community questions/replies, etc.). If you’re not using SSO or some other system for login – it will also mean a new password for your existing users. Even if you do elect to go for a 100% swap, we recommend keeping at least one of each old license type.

Pros: Be able to move 100% onto the new Communities platform

Cons: Significant effort to migrate users and related data (all depending on the size and complexity of your existing portal)

In many cases, Option #1 may be simplest and easiest, but each option has it’s benefits and trade-offs, so it’s best to think about what is important for your company both short term and long term. This information should help you make an informed decision, but feel free to get in touch if you’re still scratching your head.

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Brendan Callum

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