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Citizen Development Insights

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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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Cameron McGaughy
Ron Immink
Jody Temple White
Mario Trentim
Jelili Odunayo Kazeem
Jason Mayall
Chandrasekaran Audivaragan
Ryan Whitmore
Kimberly Whitby
Justin Sears
Derya Sousa
Vivek Goel
Raveesh Dewan
Dalibor Ninkovic
Ian Gosling
Tara Leparulo

Past Contributors:

Elizabeth Jordan
Arjun Jamnadass
Rogerio Sandim
Martin Kalliomaki
Richard Earley
Maelisa Woulfe
Octavio Arranz

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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Citizen Development: The Path to Success Starts Small

In today's digitally-driven world, organizations are discovering the power of empowering their employees to become citizen developers. These individuals, armed with no-code or low-code platforms, are revolutionizing application development within their organizations. But where does one begin on this transformative journey? The answer lies in starting small. In this article, we explore the importance of taking incremental steps, the benefits it brings, and how starting small with Citizen Development initiatives sets the stage for long-term success.

So, let's dive in and uncover the reasons why starting small is the key to unlocking the full potential of Citizen Development.

 

Learning and Skill Development

Starting small allows citizen developers to gain hands-on experience and develop their skills gradually. It gives them the opportunity to learn the basics of application development, understand best practices, and become familiar with the tools and technologies involved. Starting small also reduces the risk of overwhelming citizen developers with complex projects and increases their confidence in their abilities.


Proof of Concept

Beginning with small initiatives allows organizations to test the feasibility and effectiveness of Citizen Development within their specific context. It provides an opportunity to showcase the value and benefits of citizen-developed applications, such as increased productivity, process improvements, and cost savings. A successful proof of concept can help gain support and build momentum for broader Citizen Development initiatives.


Managing Risks

By starting small, organizations can mitigate risks associated with citizen-developed applications. It allows for controlled experimentation and validation of ideas without the potential for major disruptions or negative impacts on critical systems or processes. Starting small also helps identify and address any security, compliance, or data privacy concerns before scaling up.


Resource Allocation

Citizen Development initiatives often rely on employees who have other primary responsibilities within the organization. Starting with small projects ensures that the workload is manageable and doesn't overly burden employees or detract from their core duties. It allows for a gradual allocation of resources and avoids potential conflicts between ongoing work and Citizen Development activities.


Scalability and Sustainability

Starting small provides an opportunity to refine processes, establish governance frameworks, and develop support mechanisms for Citizen Development. It allows organizations to assess and address scalability challenges, such as training needs, resource availability, and infrastructure requirements, in a controlled manner. By starting small, organizations can establish a solid foundation and build a sustainable Citizen Development program over time.
User Feedback and Iterative Improvements: By starting with small initiatives, organizations can gather user feedback early in the process and incorporate it into subsequent iterations. This iterative approach ensures that citizen-developed applications align closely with user needs and expectations, leading to higher adoption rates and increased user satisfaction.


Change Management and Cultural Shift

Citizen Development often involves a cultural shift within an organization, encouraging employees to take on a more active role in application development. Starting small allows for a gradual change management process, giving employees time to adapt to new roles and responsibilities. It also enables organizations to address any resistance or challenges that may arise during the transition.

Conclusion


Starting small with Citizen Development initiatives allows organizations to gain valuable insights, build capabilities, and demonstrate the value of citizen-developed applications in a controlled and manageable manner. It sets the stage for successful scaling and long-term integration of Citizen Development within the organization.

Posted by Vivek Goel on: June 12, 2023 03:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

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)

Are citizen developers slated to outnumber professional coders? Let’s find out.

Gartner made a significant prediction at the virtual symposium for CIOs and IT leaders. By 2023, there will be at least four times as many active citizen developers at large businesses as professional developers.

For those who don’t know, a citizen developer creates software without receiving formal training in software development by leveraging no-code platforms and analytics tools to automate processes for themselves and their teams.

What is causing this shift in application development?

Essentially citizen developers are business users whose productivity is hampered by laborious, disjointed processes; as a result, they are more than prepared to improve routine operations through no-code development. They can create software to automate manual operations. They can design optimized workflows (automation sequences) by selecting from a list of pre-configured stages and placing them in a logical flow using the drag and drop feature of no-code platforms.

In a survey done by Forrester, 64% of business and tech leaders indicated that process automation is crucial to corporate strategy, supporting digital transformation and customer experience.

From a single no-code platform, citizen developers can build and customize administrative, data-tracking, and reporting tools. Typically, there are separate apps spread across many departments and go unnoticed by IT teams for each of these characteristics. IT teams may quickly monitor and maintain apps by using a single no-code platform to configure all of the applications.

Because of these reasons, a majority of businesses today rely on citizen developers to produce enterprise business software or applications specific to marketing, sales, HR, or other critical functions. These developers typically report to the IT department, and skilled/professional developers supervise their work to ensure the final product/outcome matches the standards.

Moreover, organizations are constantly pushing themselves to build operational and strategic agility for:

• Democratizing application development.
• Overcoming the lack of IT talent.
• Managing modest adjustments well.
• Implementing quick innovation cycles.
• Evaluating the risk and developing mitigation techniques.
• Encouraging citizen developers to creatively use technology and build custom applications with no-code platforms.
• Managing business turbulence brought on by changes in market dynamics, pressure from competitors, and COVID-19-like natural disasters

On the other hand, hyperautomation is on the rise, helping firms make it possible for non-programmers to create complex software. Most of the time, employers do not require prior software development training, although there are specific qualifications for this position.

Things to keep in mind while choosing non-programmers

• Business users who are or have been involved in time-consuming manual processes are known as citizen developers. Therefore, a person with practical experience working with paper-based processes and knowledge of the associated pain spots is the ideal candidate for citizen development.

• Although no technical knowledge is necessary to use no-code platforms, users must have a strong understanding of business logic to construct apps visually. As a result, this may be the second factor to consider when selecting your citizen developer.

• Because citizen development is carried out through a governance model and is not autocratic, an ideal candidate should also have a collaborative approach.

• Citizen developers are much more than just lone contributors. No-code development is not their primary responsibility; they must balance various tasks. Time management is thus yet another trait of a successful citizen developer.

• Business technologists or skilled, full-time developers or coders brought into departments like operations, finance, accounting, or marketing are ideal candidates for citizen development.

Citizen Developers are breaking stereotypes

To automate business processes and data integration, Gartner firmly believes that businesses must collaborate with experts outside of IT. This essentially ends reliance on software development teams.

Additionally, it stated that businesses should reject the idea that the work of citizen developers is easy and non-critical. Most citizen developers actively work on developing new features, user interfaces, and algorithms.

Hyperautomation has played a key role in the success of citizen developers

Gartner defines hyper-automation as a business-driven, focused approach that businesses need to identify, enhance, and automate their enterprise processes rapidly. Because hyperautomation has so much potential and entails many possibilities, relying solely on traditional coders and IT teams will never produce the desired results. Enterprises have quickly realized this and have been proactively training more employees to become citizen developers.

Organizations are no more holding themselves back from realizing enterprise-wide process management and workflow automation. As most of them are adopting a hybrid workforce model, it becomes imperative to encourage non-technical employees toward citizen development and reduce the burden of IT teams already stressed out with simple troubleshooting.

Enterprises are actively investing in citizen developers to democratize and pace up innovation – enabling UI/UX designers, business analysts, and marketers to build priority-specific applications without writing a single line of code. They are trying to nurture code-agnostic development teams with the help of no-code platforms.

Just like the future of coding is no coding, the end of automation is no-code automation. Organizations are stretching themselves to achieve end-to-end automation while rooting for a hybrid workforce model (where the availability of IT resources will always be a matter of concern). Citizen development is evolving and providing a fantastic opportunity for business and IT leaders to fulfil their primary strategic goals, the most significant of which is enterprise-wide automation.

The rise of citizen developers aligns with the rise of digital-first organizations

Organizations are going full throttle in digitization by investing heavily in low-code and no-code tools to build various applications. They are building teams, for example, a team of citizen developers, that rely on agile methods to integrate critical operating units with the IT organization, augmented by a set of new digital roles that are helping in value creation. The idea behind establishing such teams is to promote innovation and value generation by focusing on:

• Using analytics to assess operations and performance before taking action based on the findings.

• Using agile principles to test and deploy new hardware and software.

• Building and delivering new digital processes and solutions for field operations along with back-office processes (that can be standardized and scaled across businesses).

There are a lot of examples and trends that indicate the growing popularity of citizen developers. Can they outnumber traditional developers? It doesn’t seem a remote possibility anymore and is as accurate as it can get.

Posted by Vivek Goel on: August 12, 2022 02:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

Well begun is half done: Take these steps to kick-start Citizen Development project

Digital acceleration is a buzzword today because of the new technological trends such as cloud computing, mobile phones and social media. There is an increased focus on delivering customer experiences and business agility through the use of digital tools and platforms. Users are encouraged to become citizen developers who can deliver products faster than traditional programming models. This can be done by using no-code technology and platforms that enable business users to build custom apps without requiring any coding knowledge.

But how can organizations create a conducive environment for citizen development?

This article explores the key steps organizations can take to become citizen development-friendly

Step 1 - Demarcating the key roles to cover the entire gamut of citizen development

Citizen development requires coverage on a strategic level and tactical and operational levels. Fusion teams should be created in order to support enterprise innovations. The roles and responsibilities of citizen developers and technical people need to be demarcated.

i). Strategic Roles

 These are citizen development champions having the experience and skill set of CxOs. This role requires someone who understands how citizens interact with technology. They need to know the requirements of citizen development and understand the challenges involved in developing software solutions. Appointing such people may require effort and time, but the benefits are great.

ii). Tactical Roles 

Indeed, no-code platforms don't require any coding skills. However, a certain section of your business users' and programmers' teams should have the technical and tactical understanding of no-code platforms, and know-how is still required. This can help you nurture individuals who can oversee applications built by citizen developers. To successfully carry out integrations with third-party solutions, your technical staff should understand the nitty-gritty of no-code applications. These individuals can also provide relevant guidance to programmers and citizen developers.

 iii). Operational Roles 

To some extent, operational roles and responsibilities are primarily held by citizen developers and also by no-code masters. Depending on your organization's functioning (centralized or decentralized), you may put citizen developers in one or more departments or business units.

When defining the scope of work for citizen developers, you will need to decide whether you will adopt the no-code approach to build departmental workflow apps or customer-facing apps. The primary role of citizen developers (business users) is not to build applications, and therefore, it's essential to designate the minimum and the maximum number of citizen development hours.

Step 2 - Selecting business users who are the best fit for citizen development

Citizen development is an important part of modern software development because many manual tasks that used to be performed manually have now been automated. Examples include data entry into databases and the creation of spreadsheets. Therefore, people who excel as citizen developers are often sought after by businesses looking to automate some of their mundane back-office operations. 

Citizen development doesn't require any technical knowledge but requires some basic business skills. For example, if you are a citizen developer and want to create an application, you first need to know how to use visual tools (like drag & drop) and then learn what type of data your app collects. You also need to understand how to handle errors and validate user input. In addition, there may be other prerequisites depending on the platform you choose.

 An ideal candidate must be an independent contributor without being a lone wolf. Citizen developers do not act independently but participate with others within the group to develop solutions while juggling different roles. Time management skills are therefore essential when working with citizen development groups.

Step 3 - Choosing the right no-code platform for citizen developers

You can follow these steps to choose the best possible no-code platform for your innovation goals.

i). Determine your focus goals

You can't go overboard with no-code application development, and it is essential to have some focus goals. In this regard, choosing the right project is paramount. 

For example- 

  • You may pick a workflow application you struggle with due to IT resource constraints. 
  • You can ask your team to identify paper-based business processes that require immediate automation. 

Some of your focus goals can be: 

  • Respond to business needs faster
  • Innovate and get ahead of competitors
  • Reduce costs and syntax errors
  • Speed-up reporting/feedback
  • Speed up data collection
  • Better utilization of IT resources

ii). Create a list of functionalities you want in your no-code application

Different no-code platforms support different sets of functionalities. Of course, you should select the one which covers the maximum ground. Here is a general list of functionalities that no-code platforms support, and you can map this list with your requirements. 

  • Reports
  • In-app communication
  • Form Builder
  • Third-Party Integration 
  • Dashboards
  • Audit Trials
  • Device Responsive
  • Role-Based Control
  • Customizable tool
  • Agile Process Management
  • Push Notifications 

iii). Create a list of integrations you want your application to support

Some applications exist within an ecosystem of other apps, systems, and devices and therefore require integration capabilities. For example, the application may require access to user contacts and the company's financial data. You can refer to the below list of integrations. Based on your selection, you can zero in on a no-code platform.

  • API 
  • REST API 
  • Online databases 
  • Excel 
  • Web Services 
  • CRM database
  • ERP database
  • E-Commerce
  • SQL 
  • Google Analytics

iv). Address critical questions 

When choosing from a list of prominent vendors, it all comes down to their value proposition. These questions will bring you more clarity in the context of no-code platforms. 

  • Does the platform operate in a genuinely no-code fashion, or is it essentially a low-code platform?
  • Is the platform cloud-based?
  • Can the platform keep a record of your most sensitive documents and transactions? 
  • What level of administration and maintenance does the no-code platform provide?
  • Does the platform offer software development lifecycle (SDLC) controls and auditing capabilities? 
  • How secure is the platform?
  • What are the initial and follow-up costs of using the platform?

Step 4 - Imparting training to citizen developers 

No-code platforms are designed to simplify application development. Non-IT professionals can develop software applications without needing a background in programming. These platforms allow businesses to create custom apps quickly. However, there is still a significant learning curve for citizen developers who want to use these no-code tools. Frequent education and training need to be imparted as new features continue to enhance these platforms.

To seamlessly collaborate with IT, you need a no-code platform and a common language to communicate. Yes, citizen developers don't need to learn to code, but they need to understand the nitty-gritty of software development life cycle and agile methodologies, prototyping, wireframing, and design thinking.

 Citizen developers should also be briefed on relevant data lists and connected systems. It's ideal for them to take multiple before gaining access to a no-code platform. You can ensure cross-functional learning opportunities for citizen developers in workshops, hackathons, and community events.

Conclusion

Citizen Development requires an agile approach where new technologies and skillsets are adopted quickly and iteratively. Your governance should be flexible enough to adapt as requirements change. The above-mentioned steps will help you streamline the humongous task of rolling out citizen development. 

Posted by Vivek Goel on: June 08, 2022 02:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Citizen Development Part 1: What Is It and Why Do We Need It?

In this series of five articles, I'll be taking a comprehensive look at citizen development, from getting started to governance to scaling. Of course, there are certain principles to citizen development upon most of us will agree, but at the same time, different types of organizations will naturally have different experiences to draw on. 

For that reason, I'm going to start with a basic overview of the key elements that make up citizen development – how we at Betty Blocks define it and why we're so passionate about supporting its adoption throughout enterprise organizations. 

 

What is citizen development? 

For the sake of clarity, this is how we define citizen development at Betty Blocks:  

"A strategic program in which a new breed of developer builds applications on a platform that is governed by IT." 

Note the governance part. It's something that we see lacking in citizen development definitions from time to time, but citizen development without governance is simply 'shadow IT'. 

 

How did we get to citizen development? 

The experienced developer shortage 

By now, we've all heard about the increasing experienced developer shortage. But what are we talking about in terms of actual numbers? Statistics on the number of people in the world who can code range from 0.3% to 0.5%. That means that at least 99.5% of us can't write code. 

Isn't that crazy? 

With how much we rely on software in our everyday lives, for work as well as for pleasure, you'd be forgiven for thinking that these numbers have to be wrong. Enterprise organizations, however, see the full picture all too clearly. 

Enterprise leaders understand these numbers because they see them directly reflected in the infamous and titanic backlogs – and titanic isn't a bad metaphor, considering the many tasks that spend so long on these backlogs they eventually sink into oblivion, as markets move on and render yesterday's ideas obsolete.

In fact, according to research by PMI, 86% of IT decision-makers site the greatest threat to digitally transforming their business as a shortage of developers. In other words, the demand for software is skyrocketing and there simply aren't – and won't be – enough experienced developers to fulfill this demand. 

The knock-on effect of this is that application delivery is too slow – far from ideal during the current pandemic, in which organizations need to speed up delivery to meet the rising demand for digital products and services. 

This leaves IT departments with their hands full just trying to keep daily operations running smoothly. And it leaves the business-side departments – customer services, sales, marketing, product, etc. – facing a roadblock in their need to modernize, adapt, and innovate. 

Shadow IT

Another reason we find ourselves in this brave new world of citizen development is shadow IT. I mentioned that many business-side employees, though dying to solve problems and innovate, are stuck, with no safe and effective way to realize their brilliant ideas. 

But that doesn't mean they won't try. 

Shadow IT is rife throughout enterprise organizations because when IT doesn't have the time to get the job done, the business side inevitably takes matters into its own hands. Although well-intentioned, this type of unsanctioned development leads to all sorts of problems, particularly in the areas of security, scalability, and maintenance. 

 

Working smarter 

There's more to citizen development than tackling the experienced developer shortage, the slow delivery time for applications, and the rising demand for software. 

As customers are able to shop around more easily and access a greater array of options – products, services, vendors – than ever before, organizations need to work smarter to stand out. What does working smarter mean? In this case, it means having the people that are closest to the problem play an active role in building the solution. 

If a customer service employee has a great idea for improving a customer-centered process, it makes sense to have them build the solution in an environment set up for citizen development success, under the governance of IT. Injecting that expert knowledge into the development process has, for many organizations, proven invaluable. 

 

The tech that makes it possible 

An effective citizen development platform should make development accessible to non-experienced developers whilst facilitating governance for central IT. This is the reason why no- and low-code platforms are the go-to tools for citizen development. 

Both platforms generally utilize visual, drag-and-drop interfaces, which lower the technical barrier to entry whilst making it easy for IT to set permissions and roles, ensuring everything is done safely. We'll take a closer look at no- and low-code platforms later in this series. 

 

Next time: Getting started with citizen development 

I've covered the main challenges that led to the birth of citizen development. I've covered how citizen development expands the developer pool, providing organizations with additional resources. I've touched on how citizen development invites business-side insight into the development process, making for better products and services. 

In the next article, I'll be taking a look at where organizations actually start with citizen development: The discovery phase. 

See you next time!  

Posted by Ryan Whitmore on: May 26, 2021 11:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
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