No-code Templates as Your Time Portals
Startup founders are no ordinary people, as we have recently discovered in our review of the book Founder’s FAQ. Their courage and the will to make a change should be commended regardless of the result. Mike Maples, co-founder at the investing firm Floodgate and renowned for his eye for startups with potential, attributes a mission to startups and founders. Maples thinks that startups should not just offer incremental change but radical change so that they can transform the way people think and act. He argues that companies like Amazon, Tesla, and Spacex, which only entered our lives after the internet revolution and thus are fairly young, are the most powerful engines of change today. That’s why he urges entrepreneurs to go for the big upside projects because he pictures them as agents of change. Entrepreneurs, to Maples, are people who can envisage a future and turn that vision into reality. That’s why he calls them “time travelers.” According to Maples, entrepreneurs can see further into the future than regular people can do, and they build businesses that can bring that future to the present.
This “entrepreneurs-as-time-travelers” concept ties in well with the vision Code2 has for no-code templates. We see no-code templates as a potent means of know-how delivery that punches a hole through time. Each template is a pre-packaged bundle of UI, UX and data modeling know-how that accrues from the software company to the customers. No-code templates take the customers to their desired state of success right away, without having to spend months or even years to accumulate that know-how. If visionary startup founders are time travelers, we think it would be fair to call no-code templates “time portals” in the same vein.
No-code templates make it easier for customers to customize a product for their own needs and extend it, facilitating the growth of an ecosystem around the product. The best example of such an ecosystem would be the TM Forum, the global association of service providers in the telecommunications industry. TM Forum was founded with an aim to solve a very real pain point for service providers: Lack of standardization in telecom software. Major American service providers like Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T were pouring millions into software at the beginning of the millennium. The lower tier operators under these companies, too, needed CRM, billing, and support software. To avoid redundant effort in software production, save money, and standardize the operating procedures, these companies agreed on a set of frameworks: eTOM (Enhanced Telecom Operation Map), SID (Shared Information Data), and TAM (Telecom Application Map).
eTOM (renamed as Business Process Framework in 2013) is the result of efforts to determine the processes a telecom service provider would need. It is akin to building a telecom service providers’ glossary, detailing the processes a typical business workflow entails and what they map to. Whether it is order placement, pricing offer or billing, eTOM precisely defines what stakeholders should understand from each concept, and thus creates a common language each stakeholder can understand.
SID clarifies the kind of data model a telecom operator needs. It standardizes the data entities used in the industry. SID ensures that there is no doubt as to what a “customer” is, or what a command like “retrieve customer data” refers to.
TAM describes how a CSP (Communication Service Provider) can map to its eTOM a third-party application that carries out a specified set of processes manipulating a specified set of data. Today, these three frameworks have become a part of the Open Digital Architecture (ODA), which provides a CSP with a composable, cloud-based blueprint. Thanks to this blueprint, CSPs no longer have to reinvent the wheel at every step of their operations and spend money to develop solutions when there are tried-and-tested solutions in place. This is as close to creating economies of scale in the service sector as you can get.
The three TM Forum frameworks promote interoperability among different stakeholders at different tiers and disseminate know-how across the industry. In that regard, they are serving as time portals and empowering CSPs to become time travelers, accelerating the growth of individual players without the need to invest in lengthy R & D processes. The whole industry benefits from the quick expansion of the ecosystem.
Any startup adventure is a race against time. Money is scarce and dwindling, and the window of opportunity—if there is any— is small. The TM Forum frameworks illustrate how the injection of know-how into a startup can turbocharge growth as it runs out of runway. These frameworks are the perfect example denoting what you can achieve if you heed Mike Maples’s advice to think big and leverage well-thought-out blueprints or templates to build a resilient ecosystem around your product. We envision Code2’s no-code templates to do the same for our customers: Solve their problems quickly and teleport them to a future state of success.