No Power, no Party?


Let me tell you my recent experience, I was out of electricity from Friday because of the Eunice & co storms in the UK.

There was some serious damage around where I live, including some snapped cables, we had to stay put and hope for the best.

Near by village, roof collapsed.

Over the course of these days we rallied together as a village to help and support one another, it’s been rather an intense and eye opening.

Gosh what a luxury now: warm water, heating, cups of tea! 🙂 … internet!

We do neglect the role that energy plays in all we do.

Did you know that the percent of global population lacking access to electricity is 17%? (Year 2013)

The carbon impact of the web is largely caused by electricity use. In fact, 55% of current emissions are down to energy.

“The internet consumes a lot of electricity. 416.2TWh per year to be precise. To give you some perspective, that’s more than the entire United Kingdom.” 

And that’s only the internet! Think of all the other related energy items required to support the work we do, as well as the users of our applications. At quite a high level, websites use electricity in data centres, telecoms networks, and end user devices. This makes one think. 

We are facing a new energy transition. In terms of technology, the challenge of our century is moving from fossil fuel to clean energy sources, and to generate smart electricity grids. The challenge is not about if we will make the shift, but if we will make it in time. This transition involves changing the paradigm by looking at it from another angle, a cultural change has to be undertaken as well.

Let me bring this idea closer to home.

Following are some examples related to Salesforce I have recent experienced.

How can we keep resources in use for as long as possible, maximising their value with recovery and regeneration of products, materials and energy at heart? How can we reduce processing, straining system, redundant data collection and storage… How can we reduce waste? How can we maximise the return of work not done?

1) Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

One of my current placements is supporting a StartUp. A rare occasion as for once there is an idea and no technology attached. A blank canvas.

A blank canvas also brings a world of possibilities. In every conversation more and more potential has and will be revealed, tonnes of ideas, future enhancements, new by-products… And so before we drove ourselves into the oblivion, until we asked:

How can we prove ourselves wrong?”

What is the bear minimum we can throw out there so that we can (with real data) decide whether to pivot or persevere. For now, we draw its core and we can then focus to build the first bet.

We drilled down what that was, something along the lines of: Calling to external networks, retrieve documents. Yet even on this reduced bet, then quickly deviated to remap each piece of potential data on retrieved files into related fields on a DB. What amount of logic, processing, storing, effort, energy…

Digging a little deeper we in fact only needed to fetch 2 pieces of data. Let’s help each other to focus on what matters.

2) Less is More

With a different customer, we were designing an app to track value stream from inception to delivery. The goal is to help us to bundle value to hit production early and often.

Some of the Agile concepts comes (unfortunately) with much baggage, and jargon! Looking at the architecture and with some prompt questions of purpose: What is this for? Do we need it? Why we do this? Why are we doing it this way? Why are we doing it in the first place? Whats the goal for XYZ?

With some honest conversations we managed to reduce the structure and processing by almost half!

3) Keep it Simple

Have you heard of the KISS principle? Coupled with Clean Code to keep things streamlined, less really is more to help remove and avoid duplication. Remove unnecessary add-ons you may have and don’t use the same fields, objects etc. I often remind myself to just “Keep It Simple, Stupid” (KISS).

Even just over the storm days I was trying to help out a friend with some flow guidance (when ever I could charge my phone and get some signal), few fields on account object pointing to a contact object and the interconnection of changes and subsequent updates between them.

My go-to are formulas, if there is no need to process, automate, use up resources and save the data in the database – let’s not do it!

As the relationship spanned over the ‘primary account’ thats the one you can fetch from the contact in formulas “Account ID >”. Ok we needed a different plan. A flow would bring too many checks: is new, is changed, is blank, is not longer blank, is blank now, is deleted, … HOLD ON A SECOND. When there is more than 2 fields doing the same sort of thing but not quite, to me it serves as a sign for a potential separate object decoupling/extension; in this case junction object!

We in fact already had it, the Contact-To-Multiple-Account relationships. We could leverage existing records and relevantly place it on the screens (Thanks Lightning Pages!) to surface the value data to the users.

KISS all around!

Craving more on this? Check out our “Do look up!” entry

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: