Managing the Move to Citizen Development
The past 10 years have been an amazing time for business users, as technology has brought increasing levels of capability to help users create their own solutions to problems they face. In the late 2000s, IT teams largely adopted BYOD policies to allow individuals to select the devices of their choice, which helped bring more mobile technology into the enterprise. During the same period, the proliferation of cloud solutions made it easier for business users to procure, deploy and implement a growing array of solutions without involving the IT organization. Today, new low code development solutions are beginning to extend the capabilities of line of business owners to application development - a term that has been defined by Gartner and Forrester as "Citizen Development".
Two types of citizen developers
On the Quadient marketing team, for example, we have both types of developers. Our web team, though it reports to marketing, is highly technical and capable developing, testing and debugging complex code. Our general marketing team, however uses over 20 marketing platforms to enable everything from customer feedback and surveys to content development and online marketing. Using these technologies, the team has the capability to leverage fairly sophisticated technology to create applications for internal and external use. Other teams throughout the organization are similarly equipped to create solutions outside of traditional IT deployments.
Our use of technology is not unique - most organizations today are seeing a wider proliferation of technology being owned by the various lines of business. And the use of low code development tools across non-IT departments.
The impact of digital transformation
As companies embrace digital transformation, they are challenged by resource constraints, business and IT misalignment and legacy infrastructure. One of the opportunities that presents itself to deal with the challenges is the ability to expand application development outside of traditional IT roles. By partnering with line of business leaders, Gartner suggests that IT professionals have an unprecedented opportunity to enable a wider audience to participate in the development of applications to support their business. Unfortunately, less than half of enterprises have a citizen development plan in place to govern how these processes will work.
For many enterprises, challenges come later in the development cycle - often times after applications have launched to market or are already relied on by an internal team. The biggest challenges include potential security risks, lack of scalability of the application or a lack of supportability.
How Quadient helps
At Quadient, we continue to help enterprise customers bridge the gap between their IT organizations and lines of businesses using Customer Communications Management (CCM) as a bridge. Providing IT with the resource required to control the core templates that connect to core systems allows the technology team to develop a solid foundation to support enterprise communications. These same systems then extend out into the lines of business to give content owners and subject matter experts the ability to control and change the content that is fed into the documents and content that the CCM platform outputs. In addition, a development tool like our Digital Advantage Suite allows the line of business to more rapidly develop digital and mobile apps based on the same core templates - reducing the need for those developers to recreate links to core systems and the time required to source reliable and compliant content.