A Paradigm Shift – Coding to No-Coding

Lead Consultant

Time flies! If today I get the permission from Abraham Maslow to tweak the Hierarchy of Needs theory, I would replace “self-actualization” (which forms the highest level of the pyramid) with “36 hours a day”. Isn’t that the most important yet unachievable need of ours – to have more time?

We have moved from the traditional vegetable/grocery shopping and cooking to ‘Ready to Eat’ options. The steam locomotives have been replaced by bullet trains. We love anything that comes with the plug and play option, which finally helps us save on time. Similar is the situation with the companies who are adapting to the IT revolution. Reduced project cycle and shortened deployment phase is the key to woo customers. The eco-system is moving from Coding to No-Coding to achieve this very need. In simple terms, the dynamics between Business and IT is changing.

Every company is looking at ready-made solutions that (with some configurations) can fit into their business. No one wants to undergo prolonged cycles of customization projects that could have uncertain outcomes. Companies do not mind encountering a failure at the initial phase as rectification gets easier and can be done quickly. If we put in some more thought, we would realize that saving time is just one of the factors. The other factors would be the Cost, Maintenance, Complexity and Scalability.

1. How much time would be needed to complete a custom development?
2. How many resources will be needed to write that code?
3. What will be the cost involved to get it custom-developed?
4. Who will maintain all that chunk of code?
5. How will complexity of the development be tackled?
6. Can you ensure scalability all the time?

These are the questions that could haunt customers as it is always an overhead for them and thus, to cater to that emerging need, Salesforce offered the Force.com platform, a declarative development platform that helps in delivering rich functionalities without having to custom-develop all the time. Mere point and click features can achieve a lot. A lot of cash-rich, new age, e-commerce companies have welcomed this approach and accepted solutions that can be just plugged and played. Their main criterion is to scale up within the shortest possible time.

The companies’ goal to scale up fast could work against the whims and fancies of developers who love to code everything from scratch. The argument would be: “Hey, isn’t it easier if the entire code is at one place and anyone can follow that methodology?”

Yes, they are right. However, there is another perspective and developers have to accept that as well; how to tackle Time, Cost, Maintenance, Complexity and Scalability.

Coding has been an integral part of any software development, but even customers love it when a majority of the business requirements get accomplished out-of-the-box. For instance, using the Force.com platform, one can use workflows, approval processes, process builder and validation rules instead of the native triggers. A plethora of such feature sets are available today and its essential for every Salesforce developer to deep dive into those options and make use of them. Why reinvent the wheel?

Does that mean the era has come that will bring an end to developers and related job profiles? The answer is definitely a NO. Similar to Darwin’s theory, developers need to compete, evolve and survive. They have to transform themselves to understand businesses better. It is no more about how to write an efficient piece of code, but how to plug and play a module that caters to the business’ needs. Developers will have to slowly evolve as technical consultants who can understand the product as well as address the business requirements. Thus, meetings with Technical Heads might get replaced by meetings with Business Heads.

All these changes will be led by the transformation in Project Management Processes. SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) will be a passé, agile/hybrid will be perhaps the ultimate-thing. For an everlasting relationship between the Business and IT, it is important for IT and its processes to change and adapt to newer ways. Only then the world will say, Business and IT lived happily ever after.

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