Digitally dexterous organisations and their need for Citizen Developers. New reality or vendor fallacy? Part 5 of 6
Organisations now operate in a business environment that is increasingly uncertain, ambiguous, and complex. As such, every aspect of business needs to move faster. Organisations must become as digitally nimble as their rapidly shifting market.
Today’s technology enabled economy demands ‘digital dexterity‘. Organisations must be both bold and nimble to react quickly enough to succeed. Low-code / no-code technologies provide organizations with much needed tools to transform processes faster than ever thought possible 10 years ago and offer digitally adventurous firms an opportunity to be nimble and quick.
This article continues to outline the practices organisations need to implement to have any chance of launching a successful Citizen Developer program.
16. Engage IT from the very start. To get the most from Low-Code / No-Code application development, IT must take a leadership role. Organisations must make sure IT is involved throughout the development process from the very beginning. Low code platforms provide new ways for the business to partner with IT, rather than working around them. IT must create the underlying enterprise IT approved infrastructure and lock this down securely.
“The result of a more mature digital business model is a never-ending IT backlog. The people who need new solutions to do their jobs more efficiently are frustrated with IT’s inability to quickly deliver fast enough. IT can’t do it all alone. When IT and the business work together, great things can happen.”Graham Lee , Automation ands Digital Solutions Lead
17. Actively discourage shadow IT. Rampant unchecked development, of which IT has no awareness, cannot be permitted in any organisation.
“Just like with Excel macros, the automation is dependent on the person who made it and impossible to maintain. If the automation breaks – who will fix it? If someone builds an excellent automation that could be used by many – how do you share that within the company?Anna Lagerhed, RPA Lead Digital Business Development
The potential security, code quality, privacy and transaction risks to the business are simply too high. Organisations can and should discourage shadow IT using both the carrot and a stick.
“Organisations need to take precautions to ensure that Citizen Developers do not create more shadow IT. Oversight by IT distinguishes Citizen Development from ‘shadow IT,’ which takes place without the knowledge, sanction or control of IT.”Gourav Datta, Intelligent Automation Director
The proverbial app running under someone’s desk – unmanaged, ungoverned, and of questionable quality, is a danger to any organisation, its integrity, data lineage and security. But so too is an IT team that does limits innovation, ideas and participation by its business partners. Digital dexterous firms must encourage open transparent innovation and no individual or team should limit that ambition.
“In the Venn diagram of business and IT and ‘bus-devs’ are in the middle – you still need all three to build good solutions to solve business problems.”Chris McKernan Business Solutions Integration Lead
Organisations must foster a tech-friendly business culture and behaviour amongst every employee not just a chosen few.
“For me Citizen Developer is a misnomer. I much prefer the word Business Developer (bus-dev) as it more clearly defines what we are trying to do (i.e. bridge the gap between IT and Business). And maybe describe what it isn’t (i.e. it is not Shadow IT; it is not cheaper IT; it is not faster IT ). Rather, it can help facilitate short term change and deliver value if applied to the right problems in the right way. Purple people often exhibit these skills”Chris McKernan Business Solutions Integration Lead
That said, one of the very best ways to actively discourage shadow IT is to embrace those individuals who want to get things done and show them a better way. IT is not easy. Security, governance, development standards all exit for a reason. Often, non-technical people don’t understand why these are important. Therefore, what better way is there than to teach them and guide them.
“When people hear of ‘Citizen Development’ many think immediately of the widespread issue in businesses of Excel-macro based solutions. The Excel-based solutions were often created by one or two people, who later leave the company, leaving behind an unsupportable mess. We should be aware of the problems that world created, but use that experience to design a better way forward in this new wave of citizen development. How do we ensure it is built to the right standards, does not violate any policies, is maintained and has enterprise levels of support? This is where the focus really is these days for those serious about Citizen Development.”Arif Khan, AI Ninja
18. Train Citizen Developers how to redesign processes for automation or give them the support of exceptional business analysts to do this work. Volumes of simple processes or tasks are not found very often in organisations. Organisations that take a look at their processes for the first time in years often find that they are not suitable to digitisation or automation.
“Low code does not take away the loops, variables and discrete mathematics of coding! Hence it takes practise and maintained skills to do.”Lasse Rindom, Chief Digital Officer
If Citizen Developers attempt to automate hundreds and thousands of tasks they may find that the cost to automate and support the tasks is simply not worth the effort. By providing process redesign skills or support more processes can be made available for automation and digitisation.
“What does good look like?”:
- Eliminate, Simplify, Standardise – do you really need to build a solution or can you relook at how we do the process. If no other option then Automate.
- Supportability – can someone support what you have built
- Simple – can you support what you have built a few months later (KISS Keep it simple seriously)
Chris McKernan Business Solutions Integration Lead
19. Pay and reward competent individuals commensurate to their value. Organisations looking to implement Citizen Developers because they are cheap or to avoid employing ‘expensive’ developers simply will not succeed. Cheap and good are not natural bed fellows. Cheap solutions will quickly disappoint as the bitter taste of failure long outweighs the short, but sweet taste of low cost. Organisations must invest in the right individuals and reward them appropriately.
“The best organisations seek to harness their best people and technology to reimagine work, to unlock new ways of working, to augment teams to innovate and solve problems more creatively and effectively.” Kieran Gilmurray, Global Automation Lead and Article Author
20. Lock down, secure and track Citizen Developers to prevent company code best practices and controls policy violations: In order to prevent human mistakes creeping in, organisations should be able to block access to functions and limit developers ability to send data outside of secure firewalls. Organisations should lock down the version of software Citizen Developers can use as well as prevent using automations that are not on a company automation hub and so on. Low-Code | No-Code best practices and controls need to be implemented to ensure code is developed safely in line with company policies.
“A Citizen Developer initiative is like “Nuclear Energy” – Use it effectively and it can be a boon, in wrong hands, it can turn itself into a weapon of mass destruction. While this debate of good vs evil with respect to Citizen Developer has been ongoing, I feel it has more good in it than bad. However, what can really make it more successful across organisations, is an effective ‘R&R’ program. I don’t mean “Reward & Recognition”. Rather, a “Reward & Reprimand” program that governs Citizen Developer initiatives. Think of a country with free speech, but also governed by its own laws to ensure sanity ensues.”Swapnil Pitale, Intelligent Automation Global Practice Head
The series examined the concept of a Citizen Developer. It considered the pros and cons; and recommended the governance processes that need to be put in place to give Citizen Developers a fighting chance to succeed. Our final article will summarise our series.
Do firms need Citizen Developers? Is a Citizen Developer the equivalent of a Citizen Dentist? Do digitally dexterous firms, a new digital first workforce and advanced AI driven low-code/no-code platforms have a secret sauce that will give them an increasing competitive advantage or are they kidding themselves? Will putting Citizen Developer’s at the heart of digital transformation, by giving them the platform they need to transform their working lives, lead to the transformation of their organisations too?
What do you think?
Additional articles on Digital Dexterity and Citizen Developers:
- 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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