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Citizen development is a disruptive approach to digital transformation and organizational innovation, where teams are empowered to turn ideas into applications using no-code/low-code technology. This blog provides insights, advice and practical knowledge from thought leaders and practitioners in Citizen Development.

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Recent Posts

5 Top Citizen Development Myths Busted

Empowering Citizen Developers: Overcoming 5 Common Challenges Together

Citizen Development: The Path to Success Starts Small

Can No-Code/Low-Code ERP Replace Traditional ERP Platforms?

No Code, Big Bucks: How Citizen Developers Can Capitalize on the Future of Tech 

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Can No-Code/Low-Code ERP Replace Traditional ERP Platforms?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have been a cornerstone of modern business operations for decades. They help companies manage their resources, streamline their workflows, and improve their overall efficiency. However, traditional ERP systems can be expensive, complex, and time-consuming to implement, making them inaccessible to smaller businesses and startups. This is where no-code/low-code ERP platforms come into play. These systems require little to no coding knowledge, making them accessible to businesses of all sizes. But can no-code/low-code ERP systems really replace traditional ERP platforms? 

In this article, we'll explore the benefits and drawbacks of both approaches and see if no-code/low-code ERP platforms are ready to take over the market. Let’s begin!


All About ERP Platforms


Let’s start off with a bit of revision. As you must know, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are software solutions that help businesses manage their day-to-day operations, including financial management, human resources, supply chain management, customer relationship management, and more. ERP systems integrate different business functions and provide a centralized database for all data, enabling businesses to have a holistic view of their operations. In fact, 53% of businesses believe ERP is one of the priority sectors for investments.

ERP systems are important for several reasons. First, they help businesses increase efficiency and productivity by automating routine tasks, reducing errors, and streamlining workflows. This frees up employees to focus on more strategic tasks, such as customer acquisition and product development. Second, ERP systems provide real-time data analytics and reporting, allowing businesses to make informed decisions based on accurate information. Lastly, ERP systems improve collaboration and communication within and between departments, leading to better decision-making and increased transparency.

If all’s well and ERP systems are helping organizations so much, then why are we even talking about replacing them? Why is there a need to do so? 


Challenges Associated with Legacy ERP Systems


Legacy ERP systems, which are typically older, on-premise software solutions, can hold back a business in several ways. These systems were designed to meet the needs of businesses in a different era and can struggle to keep up with the rapidly changing technological landscape of today's business world. Here is why your traditional ERP could be harming your business: 

1. Lack of Flexibility and Customization

One of the most significant challenges with legacy ERP systems is their lack of flexibility and customization options. These systems are often designed to meet the specific needs of a business at a particular time, and any changes to the system require significant time and resources. This can be a major challenge for businesses that need to adapt quickly to changing market conditions or customer demands.

2. Limited Integration Capabilities

Legacy ERP systems were not designed to integrate with other software solutions, which can create data silos and limit the visibility of critical business information. This can make it difficult for businesses to make informed decisions or take advantage of emerging technologies like AI, machine learning, or IoT.

3. Outdated User Interface

Many legacy ERP systems have outdated user interfaces that are difficult to use and not intuitive. This can lead to decreased productivity and increased frustration among employees who need to use the system regularly. It can also make it difficult to onboard new employees and ensure that they are using the system correctly.

4. Security Risks

Legacy ERP systems may be more vulnerable to security threats, as they may not have the latest security patches and updates. This can leave a business open to data breaches or other cyber attacks, which can be costly and damaging to the company's reputation.

5. Costly Maintenance

Maintaining a legacy ERP system can be costly and time-consuming, as it requires specialized knowledge and resources to keep the system up to date. This can divert resources away from more strategic initiatives and make it difficult for businesses to stay competitive in their industry. According to one study, firms using old ERP systems spend between 60% and 80% of their IT budget on maintenance compared to those who have shifted to modern ERP software.

6Limited Mobile Accessibility

Most legacy ERP systems are not designed to be accessed from mobile devices, which can limit the ability of employees to access critical business information when they are away from the office. This can be a major challenge for businesses that have remote or field-based employees who need to access the system on the go.

To stay competitive in today's rapidly changing business landscape, businesses need to consider modern cloud-based ERP systems that offer greater flexibility, scalability, and integration capabilities. By doing so, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and achieve greater success in the long run.

Naturally, the question arises, what is the best way to create an ERP system that helps your business thrive and compete? One that does away with all these challenges? Well, look no further because we have the perfect solution in mind. 

No-Code/Low-Code for ERP Modernization

Just to recap, no-code/low-code technology refers to software development platforms that allow users to create applications without requiring advanced coding skills. These platforms typically use visual interfaces, drag-and-drop tools, and pre-built templates to enable users to create applications quickly and easily.

When it comes to ERP modernization, no-code/low-code technology can be a game-changer. Traditionally, ERP systems have been expensive and time-consuming to implement, often requiring extensive customization and development work. With no-code/low-code ERP systems, businesses can implement and customize their ERP systems much more quickly and at a lower cost.

Here are some reasons why organizations should consider ERP modernization with no-code/low-code technology:

1. Faster Implementation

No-code/low-code ERP systems can be implemented much more quickly than traditional ERP systems. This is because the visual interface and pre-built templates allow users to create and configure their ERP system with minimal coding or development work.

2. Increased Efficiency

Modern ERP systems with no-code/low-code can increase efficiency by automating routine tasks and streamlining workflows. This frees up employees to focus on more strategic tasks, such as customer acquisition and product development.

3. Improved Data Analytics and Reporting

No-code/low-code ERP systems provide real-time data analytics and reporting, allowing businesses to make informed decisions based on accurate information.

So, is it time for you to completely do away with your current ERP system? Do you need to start afresh with no-code/low-code technology?

Using No-Code/Low-Code in Conjunction With Your Existing ERP System

Answering the million-dollar question, you simply don’t have any need to make it no-code/low-code vs your existing ERP system. One does not have to replace the other, as both can work in conjunction to create magic. Your current ERP system, despite its shortcomings, is designed to fit into your organizational processes. The people in your organization must also have a certain level of comfort with it. However, this does not mean that you need to put up with all the shortcomings of a legacy system. You can use no-code/low-code to get rid of these challenges without having to start from scratch. Let’s explore the various advantages of using no-code/low-code with your existing ERP system: 

Integrating no-code/low-code technology with existing ERP systems can offer several advantages, including:

1. Faster Customization

Using no-code/low-code technology, businesses can customize their existing ERP system without needing to hire additional developers or programmers. The visual interface and drag-and-drop tools allow business users to create and modify workflows, forms, and reports without needing to write any code.

2. Lower Costs

Implementing a new ERP system can be a costly endeavor, but no-code/low-code technology can reduce costs by allowing businesses to modify and extend their existing ERP system without the need for expensive customization or development work.

3. Improved User Experience

By using no-code/low-code technology, businesses can improve the user experience of their existing ERP system. They can create custom forms and workflows that are tailored to their specific needs, making it easier for employees to complete tasks and access the information they need.

4. Greater Flexibility

No-code/low-code technology allows businesses to make changes to their existing ERP system quickly and easily. This provides greater flexibility, enabling businesses to adapt their system to changing business needs and requirements.

5. Reduced Risk 

When implementing a new ERP system, there is always a risk of disruption and downtime. By using no-code/low-code technology to modify their existing ERP system, businesses can reduce this risk by avoiding the need for a complete system overhaul.

6. Increased Innovation

No-code/low-code technology empowers business users to experiment with new workflows, forms, and reports, encouraging innovation and experimentation.

 

The Takeaway

Using no-code/low-code to update and modernize your legacy ERP systems gives you the power to have the best of both worlds. While you can continue using a system you’re comfortable with, you can do away with all the challenges associated with a legacy system. By leveraging the visual interface and drag-and-drop tools of no-code/low-code technology, you can make changes to your ERP system quickly and easily, without needing extensive development work or coding skills.

Posted by Vivek Goel on: May 18, 2023 02:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Empowering Project Professionals in Construction: The Benefits of Citizen Development

Construction and engineering project managers and professionals face many challenges in delivering projects on time, within budget, and to the highest standards of quality. With increasing pressure to streamline work processes and maximize efficiency, many are turning to citizen development as a solution. 

Citizen development, which involves using low-code / no-code platforms to develop custom software applications, can help construction and engineering project professionals achieve their goals more effectively and with greater ease.  

According to a Forrester report, there are several benefits to adopting modern process management platforms to the Construction and Engineering organizations. It empowers co-operation with internal and external collaborators, invites various types of stakeholders into critical business processes and serves remote workforces by eliminating reliance on paper-based tasks. (Forrester report, Optimize Cross Organizational Content and Process-Rich Apps for Construction and Engineering Firms, February 19, 2021). 

By empowering project professionals to take control of software development, citizen development can help them streamline their work processes, integrate data from multiple sources, and quickly respond to changing requirements. 

If you are a project professional in construction or engineering you may have some of these goals in your agenda:

  1. Delivering projects on time and within budget: Meeting project timelines and keeping costs under control may be key priorities for you like many others. 

  1. Ensuring high standards of quality: aiming to deliver projects that meet or exceed quality standards, ensuring that they are safe, durable, and functional. 

  1. Minimizing risk and ensuring compliance: managing risk throughout the project lifecycle, from design to construction and operation. This includes managing technical, financial, and regulatory risks. 

  1. Enhancing collaboration: Effective collaboration between all stakeholders, including designers, contractors, and owners, is essential to the success of construction and engineering projects. 

  1. Integrating new technology: aiming to embrace new technologies that can improve project delivery, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) and advanced digital tools. 

  1. Improving sustainability: Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important consideration for construction and engineering professionals, who must find ways to minimize the environmental impact of their projects and improve energy efficiency. 

These goals are all interrelated and must be balanced to deliver successful construction and engineering projects. By focusing on these key priorities, you can help ensure the success of their projects and meet the needs of your stakeholders. 

Citizen development, can bring many benefits to you, including:  

  1. Improved efficiency: Citizen development can help streamline work processes, integrate data from multiple sources, leading to improved efficiency and productivity. 

  1. Better collaboration: Citizen development you to develop custom applications that meet your specific needs, improving collaboration and communication between team members. 

  1. Increased flexibility: With low-code platforms, you can quickly and easily develop new applications and make changes to existing ones, without having to rely on IT teams or outside developers. This increases their flexibility and responsiveness. 

  1. Lower costs: By streamlining work processes and improving efficiency, citizen development can help lower project costs and increase profitability. 

  1. Empowerment of project professionals: Citizen development empowers you to take control of software development, enabling them to create custom applications that meet your specific needs. 

  2. Faster innovation: Citizen development enables faster innovation, allowing you to quickly adopt new technologies and advanced digital tools.

    These are some of the many benefits construction and engineering project professionals experience from citizen development by maximizing efficiency and improving results.  

 

 

As a low code / no code technology provider in the market, one of the areas we have seen that project managers in construction are looking to streamline and ensure compliance is Environmental, Health and Safety tasks so that they can improve how this function is managed and identify incidents faster, spot patterns sooner, and avoid the risk of accidents recurring. 

This is why recently we launched a new product Kianda EHSwise for construction which enables you to quickly and easily deploy applications to improve environmental, health and safety management with industry specific platform capabilities.  

 

When evaluating industry specific technology solution is if the solutions will provide specialized features?

In a recent report, where Kianda was included, one of the critical factors Forrester recommends to considerer when evaluating industry specific technology solution is if the solutions will provide specialized capabilities.  

These specialized solutions often include critical capabilities that may not be in generic platforms. For example, solutions that must work in no- or low- bandwidth environments like construction and engineering, require robust offline capabilities. 

“Many solutions do not allow people to run operations while offline. They revert to paper to do it later in the office.” (Kianda, Forrester report, Low- Code Platforms Are Going Vertical, November 10, 2022)  

Offline capability allows you to submit all your EHS processes, perform inspections, record events and submit approvals in real-time and on the go weather you have connection or not. Helping construction and engineering project managers and professionals improve health and safety performance, automate key processes, and reduce the risk of human error.  

This is just one of many areas where Citizen Development empowered by low-code / no-code platforms can help construction and engineering to move beyond manual processes and leverage modern technologies to improve their operations and embrace digitalisation successfully. 

Posted by Derya Sousa on: February 06, 2023 12:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Progress not Perfection: The Importance of simple steps in Digital Transformation

I spoke to a law firm's technology leader a few weeks ago about how she planned to further develop their digital transformation plans.

One of their practices is family law, and we talked about their work so far to help clients plan their inheritance.  Here is what they had done as a first step.  They had sent the clients an online form to fill in and had the questions and answers automatically put into a PDF document and emailed to the lawyer the client was going to meet.  This simple step is a stroke of brilliance.

This is not the most technologically challenging thing in the world to do.  Nor is it perfect.  But it is an awful lot better than what was happening before.  

Before the firm implemented the online form, the first meeting would be the client telling their lawyer many essential details.  Did they have children?  Did they own a property or many properties?  The lawyer would be scribbling notes or frantically typing fields into the matter management system.  Time would fly by, and the meat of the discussion would be limited.  Now the lawyer showed up with all the details in hand, and that vital first face-to-face engagement with the client was more advice-driven, more productive and gave a better impression of the firm.

The point here is that it is best to start simple and expand step by step. In the 'hyperagile' world of no-code, where you can make a change in minutes and release a new version in seconds, you don't need to get to perfect before release, just to better.  ('Hyperagile' - good, isn't it?  It's your new favourite awful buzzword.)

Delivering better often and not perfect at some unknown point in the future has some critical advantages.

First, you deliver value to your end users faster.  In this case, the frontline lawyer and client got a precious improvement in performance from something straightforward.  And that means they are now more open to other changes that the digital transformation programme may bring.

The second benefit is much less obvious.  

If you are going to shoot for perfection, you have to know what perfection looks like.  But the chances are you have no idea.  People with different points of view will have different visions of the ideal.  And, of course, what is perfect now may not be in a few months.   

If you are delivering progress, you don't have to have that model of perfection.  You can change and evolve as you go along.  It is better to deliver the next step and get actual usage data and feedback that guides you to the next stage than to strive for some abstract ideal.

It is something that the software industry has learned painfully over the years, and it is a lesson that anyone leading digital transformation should remember.

Posted by Ian Gosling on: September 28, 2022 09:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

How the Rise of the Citizen Developer Enables the Scaling of Automation Across the Legal Sector

As defined by Gartner, a citizen developer is a persona for an employee who creates application capabilities to be used by themselves or others – for example, forms, automations, connections to other systems.  The increase in citizen development is part of the trend towards the democratisation of IT – people who don’t sit in the IT department being able to access sophisticated technical capabilities without technical or development training. These people are working within individual business units and are using no-code tools to rapidly develop applications. They simply don’t need advanced technical training. They need an analytical mindset and an understanding of their subject matter, but they don’t need to be developers. And they are on the rise – with an ever-increasing younger, more tech-savvy workforce wanting to develop their own applications. Gartner further showed in 2021 that 41% of organisations already used a platform for citizen development, while another 27% expected to use one within the next 12 months.

What are the implications of this for legal? Who are the new citizen developers in law? We’ve heard from a number of them in this white paper. In a GC’s office, they are the legal ops specialists who sit in the legal innovations department and their role is, with input from the legal experts, to assess the challenges the department faces and begin to develop these applications. In law firms, it’s not the front-line lawyers developing these applications (although as we’ve shown in this paper, they will have a massive contribution to make) but rather the Legal Tech teams. 

We are witnessing the rise of multi-functional teams to develop solutions. Lawyers or people with legal expertise plus IT departments who arrange and secure the correct platforms for delivery, join with citizen developers or legal technologists. The latter of these, take the expertise of their lawyers, assess the solution that needs creating and then are developing them on no-code platforms. And no-code is a massive growth area – Gartner predicted a 23 percent expansion within business Worldwide during 2021.  

The implication for cost reduction by moving this functionality out of pure IT development and into legal is massive. Automation is now in the hands of the citizen developer making it possible to automate areas that previously could not as the gains in time simply did not justify the investment.

Posted by Ian Gosling on: September 20, 2022 05:42 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

No-Code and Gen Z: The Productive and Future-Proof Match

For the new generation of workers just entering the workforce (who we fondly call Gen Z), it’s about meaningful jobs and building an impactful career than run-of-the-mill stuff.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, people are reflecting on what they want from their jobs and growth trajectory. Gen Z, in particular, is placing more importance on workplace flexibility. “Work-life balance” has become the ultimate selling point to attract, motivate, and keep early-career workers. In addition, these young employees desire cutting-edge technology that will enable them to remain as productive, effective, and connected as possible.

The Equation between Gen Z and Technology

Gen Z is the first generation who grew up in a digital age. Therefore, they are accustomed to connectivity and technology. Early exposure to devices from millennial parents is thought to have resulted in them having their smartphones by the age of 12. Global Web Index’s survey indicates that 98% of Generation Z worldwide own smartphones.

At least 8 hours a day is how 74% of Gen Z spend their free time online. They are available on various gadgets, including laptops and tablets.  Their exposure to digital media affects how people get information and form opinions. Advantageously, these can serve as platforms for creative expression, inquiry, and learning.

They are more knowledgeable about the technical aspects of technology now that they have been exposed to it. Coding has already been incorporated into the middle school curricula in nations including the United States, Australia, and Israel. Teaching coding to young minds can facilitate adoption and provide them the ability to approach challenges logically and creatively. They can use this expertise not just in programming but in a variety of other careers.

However, due to a lack of mentors and modernized technology, this has not yet been appropriately implemented in other nations. But now that no-code platforms are available, kids will find it simple to start creating their no-code programs, websites, or apps. These resources will make visual programming as simple as dragging and dropping for them. Although there is some code, the learning curve is simple and can be quickly picked up on sites like Youtube, Twitter, Discord, etc.

No-Code and Gen Z – The perfect match

Maintaining employee engagement and preventing burnout is more critical than ever in the face of the “Great Resignation,” which saw four million Americans quit their jobs in July alone. Giving employees the ability to automate away the most tedious parts of their days is the best approach to handle this.

Gen Z is accustomed to using technology to solve problems because they were raised in an era of Google, YouTube how-to videos, and drag-and-drop website builders. There is no reason why this should be any different in the workplace. But unfortunately, no-code is the DIY technology this generation has been waiting for.

No-code platforms have become a golden goose for Gen Z, who have limited access to coding education. A generation of young, “not so obsessed with coding” personnel is being given unprecedented flexibility, thanks to no-code platforms. They can build team-specific applications without much dependency on IT.

No-code is not limited to apps and websites but can enable workflow automation for mundane tasks. As a result, flexibility-loving young employees can save many hours on admin tasks and involve themselves in other high-level analyses and processes.

Of course, no-code tools require deductive reasoning that is inherent to coding. For example, you must be able to create pivot tables or comprehend what machine learning capability is and its potential applications.

The critical thing to remember is that no-code tools are practical because they are simpler to use and appeal to a younger generation familiar with the reasoning these platforms need to operate. Moreover, today’s students view their computers and mobile gadgets as more than merely consuming screens they can activate. Instead, they use them as tools of self-expression, research, and analysis.

Gen Z, No-Code, and Creator Economy

In the creator economy, a person or a group creates visual material or a tangible good and uploads it on a platform. It might be a YouTube video, a handmade necklace sold on Etsy, or even a carefully cropped Instagram photo. It can generate income if someone interacts with it or sees it. Selling, sponsorships, and subscriptions for unique content are ways they can make money upfront.

It’s a tailor-made model for Gen Z for running independent businesses.

No-code is now a tool for creators and young entrepreneurs, with Web3 enabling the decentralization of content delivery. Platforms that can facilitate the production, distribution, monetization, and business management of Gen Z are indispensable for the creator economy to expand. No-code development gives more individuals the ability to become creators and gives creators control over how their work is distributed.

No-code platforms give creators access to other key technologies like AI or blockchain, which can significantly benefit their solopreneur ship. Additionally, they can now create NFT collections consistent with their brand.

Given that most young creators are presumably not tech-savvy, no-code is an ideal tool for the creator economy. Only a tiny fraction of people can create apps or websites from scratch; even then, it typically takes them years to learn and even longer to complete. For a variety of reasons, no-code can give a big push to the middle-class creator economy.

Conclusion

Raising the bar is a crucial aspect of progress in many ways. For example, the standard for data utilization in the workplace, in business, and entrepreneurship is being raised by Gen Z. They are more adept than ever at combining multiple standalone services and integrating them into seamless user interfaces for their clients, readers, and users.

The No-Code Generation can close the productivity gap in the global economy, improving our lives and saving everyone’s time in the process.

Posted by Vivek Goel on: August 23, 2022 05:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
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