There is a new application developer in town and they are not in your IT Department. They may be the accountant that sits next to you, the project manager on the second floor, or any subject matter expert in your company. “Citizen developers” are digitally transforming enterprises more quickly than ever with low-code and no-code platforms — and enterprises who use this new methodology for Agile delivery are seeing drastic reductions in cost, as well as exponential innovation within the company.
Coined by Gartneras “end users who create new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT,” citizen developers are individuals with non-traditional coding skills. So, why and how are low-code and no-code platforms taking over?
According to extensive analyst research, the vast majority of large enterprises suffer from an unsustainable backlog of application improvements along with requests for new applications. IT departments have grown in size along with budgets, backlogs, however, continue to increase. The cloud and mobile requirements, along with deep integration needs across hundreds of disparate data sources on-premise and in the cloud, have IT departments building millions of lines of code trying to keep up.
Enterprise IT departments struggle with politics and fiefdoms trying to protect their areas of knowledge to ensure continued career paths. Their heavy reliance on coding and traditional dependence on behemoth unresponsive software companies is taking its toll on organizations’ innovation capabilities. Many of today’s largest enterprises are missing exceptional digital opportunities to move their brands forward to effectively compete for “today’s consumer.” Large organizations are halted with hundreds and thousands of requests for innovation that have no hope of completion. Companies are lagging behind in digital transformation and many prominent brands of the last two decades have become dinosaurs due to their reliance on traditional IT methods of building and improving applications.
Enter: low-code and no-code application development platforms. A report from Forrester Research, Vendor Landscape: The Fractured, Fertile Terrain Of Low-Code Application Platforms, forecasts the market for citizen developer mobile no-code or low-code platforms to be over $15 billion by 2020 from under $500 million less than 3 years ago. Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than half of all business-to-employee (B2E) mobile apps will be created by enterprise business analysts using no-code tools.
So, where do enterprises go from here? The answer is right inside their companies. Unbelievably talented, powerful subject matter experts (SMEs) who know a business from the inside out know how to transform and digitize everything. The only problem is that the IT department is in the way. SMEs paired with a leading no-code app development platform can work miracles.
Try these three simple steps to ignite digital transformation and break through tough log jams to give your organization competitive advantages you could only dream about until now.
To empower SMEs you must find the “right” ones. Not all subject matter experts are created equal. Make an assessment of each department. Ask questions. Who are the real leaders? When something needs an answer, who is the person everyone seeks out? These people are the key to the next step.
Give your SME budget and authority. Once you know who your SMEs are, give them some power! Provide them training and encourage them to build a “proof of concept” application. Most low-code/no-code platform vendors should do this for free. So, seek out top vendors that let you dip your toe in the water before you dive into the deep end. Early experimentation saves headaches later. It’s important to note that if a proof of concept app is going to take longer than two weeks, consider if the platform you are using will actually speed up internal processes. Most platforms should produce a working deployable app in a week or less! Also, be sure to include your IT team as part of the discussion, but don’t let them stop progress. The morale around the app dev process is often driven by organization executives. It’s imperative to keep top executives engaged to ensure speed and progress.
Finally, get your organization on board. Now, you’ve built confidence in your SMEs and you’ve got a proof of concept application ready to roll. Get everyone on board including your IT team and all other departments. Schedule training, and identify high priority projects along with low hanging fruit that will keep the ball rolling, supercharging your digital transformation.