Organisations and their need for Citizen Developers. New reality or is this a vendor fallacy? The final part – article 6 of 6.

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Organisations and their need for Citizen Developers. New reality or is this a vendor fallacy? The final part - article 6 of 6.

Organisations and their need for Citizen Developers. New reality or is this a vendor fallacy? The final part – article 6 of 6.

Research shows organisations that integrate technological and people architectures enjoy widespread innovation and out perform their peers. Companies with high technology intensity have doubled their growth rate on average compared to those with low technology intensity.

“if you have a company of 10 000 employees, and 5000 of them build automations that save them 10 minutes per day, you would save millions of hours per year. That is hard to ignore. I also think the business will no longer wait for IT to run long, expensive system implementations that never really meet expectations. The business will take things into their own hands, especially the younger generations.”

Anna Lagerhed, RPA Lead Digital Business Development

It is in a digitally dexterous environment that workers feel most empowered to innovate and collaborate and to take calculated risks in order to achieve business goals.

“A digital transformation is a complicated and risky endeavour. When done correctly, it can lead to amazing, future-proof results, but when done incorrectly it can be extremely costly and embarrassing for the company.” 

Blake Morgan, Forbes.

Can everyone become a citizen developer and scale will follow?

Organisations must learn the lessons of the past. Not just anyone can be a Citizen Developer. The right individuals, at every layer of the organisation, should be encouraged and empowered to build automations, to be more efficient, to spend time on activities that they enjoy and that add the most value.

If organisations can identify and encourage those who posses the right aptitude and attitude to learn to use low-code/no-code tools safely and securely then they are more likley to capture a wider set of benefits compared to organisations that restrict innovation to the chosen few.

At their very best, Citizen Developer programs can reduce frustration amongst capable business users; address the shortage of expensive developers; avoid business units missing income or cost savings targets; accelerate digital transformation; support a business hit strategic business transformation goals; increase responsiveness to the business; boost productivity; break down silos by encouraging cooperation and communication to help organisations gain competitive advantage.

Yet organisations find it hard to identify, nurture and retain individuals with the right aptitude and attitude to become Citizen Developers; never mind have them produce code that makes a substantive difference to transformation programs when business processes are unsuited to digitisation or automation.

“Let’s stop kidding ourselves, there’s not much scope for No-Code tools when we take a look at organisations complex processes that are full of decision points, exception cases and bespoke technology.  We can confidently say that No-Code solutions are only capable of conducting a tiny fraction of processes.”

Balint Laszlo Papp, Automation Advisor and Delivery Lead

Centres of excellence are becoming centres of empowerment:

The best information technology functions and centres of excellence are becoming centres of empowerment. Rather than maintaining a tight control on technology and limiting or slowing innovation, they are working to democratise digital, automation, technology and analytics capabilities. They maintain excellent risk frameworks but with a sense of proportion that reflects an organisation’s need for digital agility and security.

“How do you de-risk? Many would see that the further from the CoE you allow development to be completed, the less control and therefore risk you are exposing in the organisation. Excellent governance, training and quality checking are just some of the ways to limit risk.”

Wayne Butterfield, Intelligent Automation Expert

Organizations that actively support ‘Citizen Developers’ with training, low-code/no-code technology, as well as the right kind of executive sponsorship and IT support, are the ones better prepared to succeed with their digital transformation efforts. To create opportunity and drive resilience, organisations must democratize technology. But to do that they must fuse technology with exceptional people skills and trust their teams to deliver.

“But if we give them the tools is there a risk of automation gone wild? What if these folks leave the org? They won’t if they are valued like other folks in the organization. If there are getting projects to work on and gain knowledge each passing day. They would be happy to work with that organization.”

Gourav Datta, Intelligent Automation Director

If organisations turn a page in end-user productivity they will enjoy exponential rewards.

If organisations couple Citizen Developers with skilled programmers then organisations can extend their range of automation opportunities and deliverables.

“Having a programmer is key to a successful digital transformation program. Programmers will allow your teams to take full advantage of off-the-shelf tools and will pave a road for highly customised in-house tools. Having a programmer on your team, or as a consultant, will significantly lower the overall cost and will improve the effectiveness of company-wide RPA efforts.”

 William Roseberry, Automation CEO

Organisations must overcome a lack of IT responsiveness to massively broaden the number of people engaged in technology enabled delivery will enjoy significant competitive advantages (e.g. faster time to deployment, lower cost of application delivery, greater innovation, a reduced need to employ quite so many expensive developers). The alternative is to move slower than the market demands,

An organization that is more flexible in its approach to IT and software development will foster greater collaboration between business departments and IT which will result in more useable business outputs.

Employees want to see their organizations do more to encourage and support their Citizen Developers. This opens the door to innovation, and new ways of accomplishing goals, which may have not been apparent to IT managers.

“The traditional approach to application development cannot keep pace with organisations demand for rapid transformation. Skilled code developers are scarce, in high demand and expensive. Yet Citizen Developers and low-code/no-code technology platforms are not a panacea for organisation’s digital transformation programs.”

Kieran Gilmurray, Global Automation Lead and Article Author

But IT needs to help support Citizen Developers and help govern the solutions that they create. Everyone cannot become a developer. Whilst business users have an in-depth understanding of specific process and customer challenges weighing their company down they are not IT/software/analytics professionals. They lack the expertise to build programs that do more than the basics.

This is no time for timidity. The key to success with Citizen Developers and low-code/no-code is to abandon the idea that only experienced ‘code’ developers can deliver useful automation tools. Citizen Developer programs are not without risk but it may just be a risk worth taking.

“Innovative, forward thinking leaders should not see Low-Code / No-Code platforms as a threat. Instead they need to see it as an opportunity to revisit how they work, and why.”

Kieran Gilmurray, Global Automation Lead and Article Author

Citizen Developer programs will require new approaches to managing the life-cycle of software and solutions. Remember, what seemed technologically impossible or improbable several years ago has become todays reality. For the nimble and adventurous the opportunities low-code/no-code technology is and will present is incredible.

“It should be remembered that you do not need to adopt a Citizen Developer based-approach to have some benefits of automation reach each area of your business. You can scale automations in different ways and bring its benefit to your employees without any Citizen Development. A key benefit of Citizen Development, however, is that you unlock the ‘tail’ of automations that each bring a smaller benefit, but that are widespread across an organisation. This can accelerate the adoption of Automation, accelerates benefit realisations, as well as increasing your organisation’s digital literacy levels.”

Arif Khan, AI Ninja

This does not mean that organisations can avoid the need for exceptional technical architects, solution designers, security experts, experienced developers, business analysts, testers to build and deploy automation. There are no shortcuts to digital transformation.

“Beyond Centres of Excellence building and providing automation – RPA, low code, and more – to employees, the idea of decentralised business users developing their own presents a seemingly compelling vision for in-demand talent to emerge, jobs to evolve, and employee productivity to meet the demands of business.

In reality, the ease of implementing quality automation and realising this vision is overhyped. Besides very simple task automation, relying only on Citizen Developers with little coding experience results in unstable automation which fails to scale or be reused; ultimately increasing the cost of automation programs.

The challenge before organisations now is to execute a strategy in a way that leads to positive results for themselves, their employees, and society as a whole. That means cultivating communities – aligning the right people, methodology and technology – to help Citizen Developers innovate and ensure small pilots have a path to scale to organisation-wide solutions, if and when needed.

Making this happen requires action, such as:

  • Automation vendors driving simplified user experiences as well as democratising knowledge via open source learning, forums and marketplaces
  • Organisations optimising governance with effective standards, assurance and reusable component approaches
  • Professional developers and architects collaborating closely with increasingly tech-savvy Millennial and Gen Z Citizen Developers

As automation augments humans in doing work, jobs are evolving to require new combinations of human skills and capabilities. This creates the need for organisations to redesign jobs – along with their business and work processes – to keep pace.”

Lewis walker, Intelligent Automation Architect

So maybe Low-Code / No-Code platform’s are not quite ‘Iron Man Jarvis’ ready to replace developers just yet. But what organisations can do today is nothing compared to what they will be able to do tomorrow. Low-Code / No-Code’s day is coming.

We are just at the beginning of a new era of automation, digitisation and analytics powered competition and there is a still a ways to go.

“Software development is an expensive activity for any company. It’s highly skilled work, involving many disciplines, lots of planning, organisation and code management. New tools & technologies have promised to put computer programming within the reach of the ordinary non-IT worker – the Citizen Developer but everywhere we’ve seen these tools adopted, Citizen Developer candidates fail to materialise, & the low-code tools end up being handed back to professional developers who’d rather use proper dev tools.”

Jon Silver, Automation Guru

Organizations need to be prepared to pivot and adapt in this new world and future generation Low-Code / No-Code platforms will help them get there faster. Playbooks for organizations are far from clear but one thing is sure.

The successful firms of the future will be those that can leverage data, code algorithms to augment human talent to innovatively meet customer multi-experience needs.

Organisations must develop a new perspective about the kind of work machines should do, and where humans add the most value.

“In times of rapid disruption and change, what we often realize quite painfully, is that all we have are experts on yesterday. No one is a true expert on tomorrow”

Gyan Nagpal

In this brave, new, location independent digital world, the successful delivery of automation tools will require creativity and collaboration between the business and IT departments that never existed before. Planning around these issues cannot start too early or organisations risk having to engage in discussions during the next crisis. 

“As per Forrester categories, today’s Citizen Developers are still developers. Certified, technical people that help deliver value to the business quicker using low-code tools and agile delivery methodologies. All that allows them to gain productivity improvements and speed within the software development area. Technology helps with solving specific problems but businesses are more complex and need constant, speedy deliveries within all three areas:

1. the technology (delivered with low-code and IT automation),

2. business processes (delivered with automation and agility),

3. and the people (delivered with RPA at scale)

The real magic happens when you glue them all together and deliver on all three. Those types of businesses are able to react to changes happening on the market on time and deliver the needed change in order to become or maintain the leadership”.

Marcin Kierdelewicz, 10X Intelligent Automation Managing Director

What is possible now was not even possible of conceivable before. Low-code/no-code platforms are here to stay. They are not a stop gap or a short-term fad. They are major components of organisations digital futures. Organisations with a deep commitment employee and customer-centricity will continue to evolve technology platforms to gain competitive advantage. Those that don’t, simply wont survive.

“It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”


The End.

Additional articles on Digital Dexterity and Citizen Developers:

#intelligentautomation #bots #rpaworks #digitaltransformation #roboticprocessautomation #rpa #cognitiveautomation #digitaldisruption #digitalworkforce #processautomation #digitalfuture #digitalstrategy

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