Fierce Reduction

Achieving more for less with digital innovation.


Ian H Smith

As the global economic recession kicks in, organisations of all shapes and sizes will need to achieve more from less IT spend. This will require a significant reduction in IT services costs. How can this be achieved in a safe yet timely way? The answer is Fierce Reduction.

So, what is Fierce Reduction? In the context of IT, this means lowering the costs of implementation, integration and support services. In other words, it is the simplification of processes and tasks that may be (or should be) digitised.

Simplicity Matters

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

Leonardo Da Vinci

Since we are paid on Deliverables, Not Hours at Being Guided, we are motivated to simplify IT, yet maximise customer experience and user adoption, because we are not afraid to be measured on tangible outcomes. This contrasts with IT services firms who charge by the hour: and therefore, who are inherently motivated to maximise billable hours from indulging in complex thinking.


To avoid this becoming too abstract, this simplification of technology is something that is realisable through a class of cloud-based software platforms, in the jargon known as 'No-Code' and 'Low-Code' Platforms. When digitising paper processes or modernising IT systems, No-Code simply means delivering new systems that require no syntax-level programming skills and, likewise, Low-Code Platforms reduce the need for software coding, but accept some is still required.

So, I have spent the past ten years working with the No-Code leader: Salesforce. And, more recently, where my engagements needed a blend of No-Code and Low-Code, I have combined Salesforce with a great startup called See my Success Story.

In my own work with Salesforce customers, such as the UK National Health Service (NHS), I have seen how, even with the best of intentions, the underlying No-Code technology ('Salesforce Orgs') gets bloated if not brought into check. This can lead to unplanned costs in coping with bloat or what is called 'technical debt'.

This is where I apply Salesforce Design Principles to Salesforce Lightning Platform apps:

1. Meaningful Journey. To start small, with the lowest risk, faster - but understanding, more generally, where the ultimate destination might be - without being overly prescriptive.

2. Fierce Reduction. To simplify and eliminate waste from every step of the Meaningful Journey, every aspect of the Value Proposition.

3. Progressive Disclosure. To avoid 'cognitive overload' on the user - applying the simplification of Fierce Reduction and clarity of Meaningful Journey - one step at a time.

Then added to these three points are four guidelines added by Salesforce:

1. Clarity. Eliminate ambiguity. Enable people to see, understand, and act with confidence.

2. Efficiency. Streamline and optimise workflows. Help people to work better, smarter, and faster.

3. Consistency. Create familiarity, strengthen intuition. Applying same solution to same problem.

4. Beauty. Demonstrate respect for people’s time and attention through thoughtful craftsmanship.

Problems Solved

In order to deliver on the inherent advantage of Deliverables, Not Hours, for any digitisation or IT modernisation engagement, I always start with Discovery - a Mutual Value Discovery to determine what problems need to be solved, and in which order of both urgency and importance.

In turn, through Design Thinking, Applied I bring the right team of experts together to achieve sufficient receptivity, rapport and trust that gets to the heart of the problem. What follows then is the certainty of a fixed-price, fixed-time offer.

With the UK NHS most citizens know that it has a compelling need to reduce operating costs and increase patient experience. Some of these problems within the NHS are very challenging, but, as in many private and public sector organisations, some are readily solved with Fierce Reduction applied to delivering simple, low-cost Salesforce Platform apps in days and weeks.

Examples of digital innovation quick wins with Salesforce Platform in the NHS include:

  • Moving patient appointments from paper and post to app, email and text.
  • Eliminating paper in everyday hospital and social care organisations.
  • Digitising integrated patient care plans and empowering citizens to manage them.

Network Advantage

My network is multishore and, when compared to a typical Salesforce service provider, offers a much more diversified set of skills and the inherent Power Advantages, as summarised below. As we go through a more turbulent global economy, this also means a willingness to share risk through Deliverables, Not Hours. With multishore comes an underlying cost advantage too.

We do not always need the services of an Ethnographer, but we do recognise that diversity of both skills and culture always leads to a more innovative outcome. For me, the key starting point for any Salesforce implementation or integration is Empathy Mapping.

Change Intelligence

As I grow our customers and our human network, I began to realise that no matter how much I try to enforce Fierce Reduction into Salesforce Orgs and Integrations, the need for constant discovery and monitoring of Salesforce Orgs is essential to ensure we always keep the Salesforce customer's Org operating in a performant and reliable manner. This is where Elements.Cloud comes in.

Elements.Cloud is a Salesforce AppExchange solution that my teams use to discover and manage Change Intelligence of customer's Salesforce Orgs, as illustrated in the infographic above. This means measuring changes and risks related to Standard and Custom Objects and Fields, Flows, Validation Rules and Apex Code within each Salesforce implementation or integration.


Our four Power Advantages with Salesforce are:

  1. The power of simplicity. The 5 steps of Design Thinking delivered by our network creates a foundation for engaging a broad set of stakeholders at every stage of a Salesforce project.
  2. The power of discovery. Deploying Elements.Cloud to contininuously manage Change Intelligence and metadata changes to drive Fierce Reduction of Salesforce Orgs.
  3. The power of diversity. A network of experts, blending onshore nearshore and offshore tech arachitects, designers and developers all offering a broad set of skills and often, lower costs.
  4. The power of risk-taking. Engaging our network by being paid on Deliverables, Not Hours, ensuring that value for money is delivered and productivity maintained.
































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