Anyone with kids who are old enough to use a computer will share this concern: What are the children doing when your back is turned? You want them to connect with the world, and learn computer skills, but are they engaging with a subject they shouldn’t be, or running up huge bills?
If you’re a CIO, maybe you feel the same about the Citizen Developers in your organization.
On the one hand, Citizen Developers are a wonderful asset. They are probably enthusiastic, and being the actual users of apps, have an investment in seeing things work well. On the other hand, what are they getting up to in the shadows? Whatever it is, you might not even find out until it comes back to bite you, at which point you may need to divert your stressed and overworked IT department to plug the holes. So one cheer for the idea of Citizen Development, but you may be feeling nervous about giving it a wholehearted welcome.
One problem with professional developers is that they are thin on the ground. By 2030 the developer population will have likely doubled, or at least that’s what the market requires, and it’s a steep curve to meet. Pros are expensive too, and sometimes you’re paying for skills which are much higher up the food chain than is really needed for the implementation of one small app.
But the biggest downside of the Pros is that they don’t necessarily have an intimate knowledge of what is needed in an enterprise setting. Sure, they’ll get an app up and running, but does it truly match the expectations of the day-to-day users? Moreover, does that one app join up with all the other apps sitting on the ERP, or is every new iteration a separate occurrence?
The chances are that the answer to those questions is Yes, and Yes.
Citizen Developers do understand what is required – for example in a day-to-day workflow process. Their time is cheap compared to using fully Pro workers. But there are still those nagging doubts about the creation of Shadow IT, and the potential consequences of having ‘amateurs’ tinkering with the system.
However, the fact is that the CIO has to take action, and usually the demands of the organization mean that needs to be yesterday, rather than tomorrow. The resource of Citizen Developers is therefore an important one to consider, but it has to be managed in a safe and controlled way.
That’s where low-code comes in, as exemplified by the Oriana Effector platform. Effector’s huge library of customizable business application templates means that it’s possible to start from proven apps, which are easily modifiable by users – within strict parameters. The simple graphic interface and building block approach allows rapid trialing of workflows. And if the process doesn’t work exactly as envisaged, then the blocks can be re-ordered and a new approach tried, without in any way altering the core system. ‘Playing’ with blocks is easy and intuitive, and although these are in reality blocks of code, little or no coding knowledge is required.
Bringing Citizen Development out of the shadows still means that your IT department will have the final say on implementation of an app, but much of the ‘grunt-work’ will have been accomplished downstream, and the trial and error process will be complete by the time the Pros get involved.
Keep these points in mind, and the path to enhanced and more rapid digitalization, by leveraging the enthusiasm and talents of your Citizen Developers, will be a smooth one. The key ingredient is a low-code platform at the heart of managed change. And naturally, we’d say that Effector is the must-try option. Fortunately you can easily find out more by attending one of our free webinars.
And no more guessing what the kids might be getting up to behind your back!
To better understand the world of Effector, please register for an Oriana thematic webinar here.