Digitally dexterous organisations and their need for Citizen Developers. New reality or vendor fallacy? Part 3 of 6
Low-code / no-code platforms offer out of the box, visual modelling tools, that help Citizen Developers provision much needed business functionality at the click of a button. These business applications are then consumed by others in environments that are, or should be, sanctioned and governed by corporate IT. The business then accrues the benefits.
However, organisations cant expect to leverage these, or any other benefits if they don’t put the right practices, controls and governance in place. This article continues to outline the practices organisations need to implement to have any change of launching a success Citizen Developer supported digital transformation program.
6. Promote, train and celebrate great code practice. There’s no point in organisations giving workers tools if they don’t know how to use them. Train and educate individuals on security, version control, naming conventions, commenting, etc. and how they may apply that in their code. Training is critical to support and encourage Citizen Developers and digital professionals.
“When automation threatens employment, the response should neither be denial nor panic, but up-skilling” Tholang Mathopa RPA Company Founder
Citizen Developers can drive value for their organisations, and the ones that get the most support will predictably be the most successful. Educate individuals and teams as to the right way to develop, share code and reuse software.
“Organisations should develop a well documented and well publicised catalogue of reusable building blocks that can be used to increase productivity, application quality, scalability, and speed to market.” Arif Khan, AI Ninja
Individuals do not intentionally create unsecure, poorly crafted, inadequately document code, they simply know no better. Exceptional coders are made not born. It is the same with Citizen Developers.
“Let’s not make everyone a bot developer by claiming its low code / no code. Processes have to be documented. Change management has to be planned. Exceptions have to be handled. I believe it’s important to have Citizen Developers as they can help scale automation programs. But lets build a proper foundation with the very best practices to begin with.” Sangeetha Phalgunan, Digital Operations Consultant
Who knows, an organisations Citizen Developer of today, maybe their best coder tomorrow or even today.
“I’ve said it before and I’d like to repeat it: If your citizen developer programme requires your citizens to undergo a long and specific (internal) education and follow strict guidelines and code review plans, they are no longer citizen developers but just plain developers. And when realizing the truth above, it immediately occurs that what you thought was democratisation of technology is in reality little more than distribution of developers and that this in turn only leads to less control of your IT environment.” Lasse Rindom, Chief Digital Officer
7. Provide the right toolkit which may include a Low-Code / No-Code platform. All employees need digital literacy skills. Some will grasp digital skills faster than others. They will need to use multiple digital tools.
If an organisation wants it’s teams to succeed, they must provide the right, easy-to-use, low-code platform and digital tool kit. Rory McIlroy could not win the US open with a 7 iron. It is critical that an organisation gives is Citizen Developers the best opportunity to succeed. Not providing the right tools, political support and training, will result in its Citizen Developer program failing.
“Organisations claim they want Citizen Developers to learn automation tech, but then they don’t make the resources available for them. Providing a low-code / no-code tool by itself is not enough. Training and expert help needs to be provided too. The day organisations start providing the right tools and the right support inspirational Citizen Developers will start to appear.” Parth Doshi, Automation YouTuber and Giver of Information
8. Mirror digital dexterity. Every employee should embrace and champion the latest technological innovations, facilitate training, and motivate others to take responsibility for their own and the organisations digital dexterity.
“A successful Citizen Developer program is definitely not a pipe dream. It is possible, feasible and a definite necessity given our increasingly digital and changing economy. It is a fundamental shift away from the developer-user approach which we are all accustomed to. Due to the momentum and adoption of ‘low-code’ platforms, we are now seeing what I consider as an expert-user approach. Employees are already building rules to sort email inboxes, drawing business process flows and using keyboard shortcuts. Empowering them to build low-code automations is simply taking it one step further. It is by no means a huge leap forward.” Martin Lau, Global Automation Development Lead
9. Grow and promote talent from within. There has been a widening disparity between the rate of technology change and employee’s ability to exploit the technology. This growing chasm is one of the biggest obstructions in the path to digital dexterity. Too often organisations hire externally and then repeatedly tell the organisation how wonderful this new, external talent is. This generally makes incumbent staff feel devalued and unwilling to help their new colleague(s).
“An inability to hire internally is evidence of a failed HR strategy. HR teams should constantly align to business strategy and fight to build internal capability in advance of business requirement.” Kieran Gilmurray, Global Automation Lead and Article Author
Organisations need to create opportunities for existing employees to join development teams to learn how to code correctly.
“Historically, RPA or software robots were viewed as replacement for human employees but Low-Code/No-Code platforms can double and triple the capacity of people. People can focus on more high quality productive tasks. They can then add more value, at less cost, and grow a business.” Shige Sato, Low-Code, No-Code Platform Founder and CEO
Citizen Developers see the technology around them as a way to boost the productivity of their jobs.
“As Steve Jobs said, “The doers are the major thinkers. The people that really create the things … are both the thinker and doer in one person.” In that context, Citizen Developer is a person, who can twist their thinker, doer, believer, and dreamer skills depending on the challenges and the environment in which they find themselves.”Iurii Shubin, Head of Intelligent Automation.
And when people close to the enterprise’s operations are empowered to innovate using that technology, their actions can become a key part of a business’s digital transformation.
“We see time and time again that companies struggle to deliver these programmes due to the lack of talent. We always recommend a hybrid approach to new technology implementation, hire experts to help you get started and invest in your own people. If more and more companies train/up-skill/promote their employees the closer we will be to closing the skill/talent gap with these emerging technologies”. Harrison Goode, AI and RPA Specialist Recruiter
Organisation’s HR departments have a huge responsibility to work hand in glove with the business. Career paths, reward systems, training and alignment with business strategy are all key to developing and retaining an organisation’s best staff.
“If a Citizen Developer wants to do more Automation is there a career path for them? This needs to be established as a career path while also valuing those who contribute via Citizen Development but wish to stay in their current role.” Arif Khan, AI Ninja
10. Offer tangible rewards and gamify – organisations need to incentivise staff to contribute ideas and give them time to deliver them. Rewards make that possible; competition makes it fun.
“Every company or organisation is looking for new ways to engage with their workers & teams. The goal is usually to encourage team members to meet specific goals or accomplish specific tasks. So how do you do that within RPA and Citizen Developers? You Gamify it!
Build or use a platform that can track your CitDev’s work, efforts, automation even ideas. Give them badges, accolades, and ways to engage with their peers. Tie this in with an easy efficient path to create, produce, and share their creations.
Of course, your larger automation efforts can be reviewed by the COE to provide more secure connections to other systems or datastores. Remember gamifying is a great tool to provide teams with a sense of achievement and it will drive innovation if it is well watered and cared for.” Doug Shannon IT Product Lead RPA
Do remember that gamification and reward based systems need to be carefully cultivated. Incentivising the ‘wrong’ behaviours can destroy a business case or indeed an organisation’s culture.
“Why should Citizen Developers create these automations and share with their company? How are you going to recognise and incentivise that activity? Software tooling can help with the ‘gamification’ of things like submitting ideas and sharing re-usable components but how will that translate into recognition within your organisation? This needs thought and planning within each company” Arif Khan, AI Ninja
Visual low-code / no-code drag and drop platforms help share the responsibility for application development across the organisation. They help reduce the strain on over burdened IT departments that are struggling with the pace of change demanded in the digital age.
At their best, low-code / no-code platforms help drive efficiency and responsiveness to changes in market, user and consumer demands. They offer capable business users the freedom to innovate and experiment at pace within a secure and well governed IT framework. At their worst, they are an expensive lesson in how do things different next time.
Additional articles on Digital Dexterity and Citizen Developers:
- Digitally Dexterous Organisations and their need for Citizen Developers – New Reality or Vendor Fallacy – Part 1, Kieran Gilmurray, Global Automation Lead
- Digitally dexterous organisations and their need for Citizen Developers. New reality or vendor fallacy? Part 2 of 6, Kieran Gilmurray, Global Automation Lead
- Less Citizen Developer and More RPA Neighborhood Watch Joe Labbe VP of Business Development
- Pega Low Code Enterprise Factory Method
- Gartner Says Too Few Organizations Have the Digital Dexterity to Adopt New Ways of Work Solutions
- Four fundamentals of workplace automation McKinsey By Michael Chui, James Manyika, and Mehdi Miremadi
- Avoiding the Loose Ends of Citizen Development
- Purple People: The heart of cognitive systems engineering.
- Citizen Developers by Betty Blocks
- Governing Citizen Developers Betty Blocks
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