Over the last several years we have witnessed an increase in the number of Citizen Developers supporting business automation outside of the IT department. Gartner describe a Citizen Developer in their IT Glossary as…
A citizen developer is a user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT. In the past, end-user application development has typically been limited to single-user or workgroup solutions built with tools like Microsoft Excel and Access. However, today, end users can build departmental, enterprise and even public applications using shared services, fourth-generation language (4GL)-style development platforms and cloud computing services.
As the generation of baby boomers retire, they are being replaced by generations of workers who grew up with computers. These newer generations are comfortable working with technology in all its forms, at its simplest …word processing, spreadsheets and web pages. At its most complex, this technology can include mobile applications, and social media and collaboration tools. As a result these individuals are more impatient and demanding in their expectation that automation should be available to support them and the business processes within their organization.
It is common that IT departments suffer from resource constraints, often limiting their ability to support projects to only those with the highest strategic alignment or return on investment. These constraints can leave a lot of automation opportunities on the table to the frustration of the business organization. Often this frustration results in Citizen Developers implementing solutions to bridge the gap between what IT can provide and what the business needs in order to function successfully. However, these “off the grid” solutions may expose the organization to risks including:
It makes sense that IT organizations help can reduce these risks by supporting and guiding the Citizen Developer community in their tool choice and development standards. By providing a managed development environment including best practice standards, IT can improve the quality of the deliverables being produced from within the business community. By providing a secure run time environment, IT can mitigate risks associated with critical data loss and security exposures. It is often the case that these “off grid” solutions become essential tools to the organization. When issues arise, ownership for support and future enhancements may need to be assumed by the IT department along with the associated resourcing burden. In order to minimize the impact of these downstream ownership changes IT needs to become be an engaged partner to the Citizen Developers. Read the complete article here.
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