Architecture & DesignSteps to Digitally Transform Your IT Department with Citizen Developers

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By Trish Kennedy, Co-founder and COO of Zudy

Recent industry studies show the demand for business applications, which are empowering the digital evolution of our planet, can no longer be met by corporate IT teams. Traditional coding methods once used are now creating unworkable timeframes of months and years to produce a single application. Businesses are demanding hundreds of applications to keep pace and innovate past competitors, including apps that are modern, mobile, Web, and integrated into endless legacy systems and Web services. The complexities of delivering these applications and the digitization of business processes has translated into an increased number of business failures, including the disappearance of once iconic brands. New business models emerge and the corporate world shudders as they fall further behind in answering up to the new digital economy.

So, where do you go from here? The answer is right in front of you! Your subject matter experts (SME) are in every area of your business. Using these “Citizen developers” and a new “iterative approach” to development you can dramatically increase the pace of your digital transformation while slashing IT costs.

Citizen developers are coined by Gartner as, “end users who create new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT.” Essentially, they use non-traditional coding skills and low-code/no-code app development platforms to build applications.

But wait a minute, how are finance, HR, marketing, and other business resources going to start building applications without any coding experience? The answer is the new revolutionary low-code and now no-code platforms that have entered the market. Now instead of masses of technical resources with expertise in six to nine different technical languages being required to translate business needs into applications, business experts can now build powerful integrated applications without writing a single line of code!

By 2018, Gartner forecasts that more than half of all business-to-employee (B2E) modern applications will be developed by business analysts using codeless tools. And, according to Forrester Research’s Vendor Landscape: The Fractured, Fertile Terrain Of Low-Code Application Platforms, the market for citizen developer mobile low-code or no-code platforms was under $500 million 3 years ago, but will rise to $15 billion by 2020.

Here are three simple steps you can take today to begin digitally transforming your business at the speed at thought.

  1. Locate the ideal SMEs. Not all subject matter experts will be a great fit for helping digitally transform your company. But, by taking the time to dig into each department, you’ll find the natural leaders. Your best SME is the person everyone in a particular department goes to for answers.
  2. Empower the SME with a budget and leadership role.Let the SMEs take the reins on the project. Make sure the SME team has the training and tools they need to create a low-cost or even no-cost ‘proof of concept’ application. They are experts in what your business needs, so trust in their problem solving skills. Even though this might make IT leadership nervous, this low-risk approach will provide undeniable benefits to your business.

    As you move towards your decision on the best AppDev platform for your company, make sure that at least one application can be built free of charge. Most low-code or no-code AppDev platforms will provide the opportunity to create one application free of charge before requiring a fee to be paid. Within five to ten days, you should be able to see a working application with all of the needed main features. Try a few platforms with the same application and see which one works best for your company. Let the SMEs do the evaluation process. Although IT experts should weigh in on integration and security, don’t cause unnecessary roadblocks with long lists of irrelevant IT demands. Your SMEs should run the process and be empowered to make the decision.

  3. Get company-wide support. It’s time to share the proof of concept application with the company. Keep other departments in your organization informed so they are ready to start digitally transforming your entire company once a decision is made on the best platform for your company. Training and Executive level support are key in keeping momentum moving forward for the best results in any application development project. Remember, building applications is digital transformation. You can’t have one without the other.
Head shot Trish Kennedy is the COO and Co-founder of Zudy. She and her husband, Tom, created Zudy to disrupt the world of AppDev and put digital transformation in the palm of your hand. She also co-founded BackOffice Associates.

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