The citizen developer revolution is here, and it's allowing teams to work much more quickly, access more information than ever before and make data-driven decisions in real-time.
This trend, the democratization of technology, is responsible for driving digital transformation by moving technology decisions once strictly managed by IT departments to the hands of managers, project leaders and other workers who need fast solutions to operational problems.
According to IDC research released earlier this year, more than 56 percent of technology budgets are now controlled outside of IT departments. One reason why 56.5 percent of technology spending now happens outside of IT is because the vast majority of business leaders believe they can make better and faster decisions on technology without the involvement of IT.
Perhaps not surprisingly then, Forrester Research predicts the IT department could disappear as soon as 2020. While that may be a stretch, it’s still clear IT will need to keep evolving to stay ahead of new technologies and incorporate agile solutions to keep organizations competitive, connected and collaborative.
A means to that end sweeping across organizations is known as bimodal IT or agile IT.
Traditional IT and agile IT are not mutually exclusive. Instead, both are needed for balance and to create a flexible way to work with both containing a distinct set of needs. Yet many enterprises still heavily rely on traditional approaches, such as legacy code, which take time and money to connect to a more modern infrastructure.
As more business leaders are tasked with drawing out operational inefficiencies across organizations, they are starting to generate conversations around important technology decisions. Their unique perspectives and understanding of a specific area of the business makes them equipped to come up with innovative solutions to keep their companies competitive.
However a couple issues remain obstacles:
Very Custom Requirements But Inability To Write Code
Many business leaders require custom and agile solutions to address their very unique and ever-evolving business process, and so face technical challenges of developing, deploying, and iterating on new tools. Instead they're left with outmoded, inflexible legacy solutions or disconnected spreadsheets and an overload of emails, risking version control and easily leading to mistakes, frustration and waste amid the disorganization.
But business leaders with an increasing confidence and comfort in technology are incorporating point solutions like Box, Google for Work, Skype and Slack to work more efficiently from their desktop and personal mobile devices. Much like the BYOD revolution earlier, the growing Build Your Own App (BYOA) revolution is being met with some resistance by IT departments for data security, reliability and control reasons. Departments without policies on these solutions risk placing these "citizen developers" in the "shadow IT" category, which would be harmfully counterproductive.
Recognizing both demands on and new capabilities of business users as well as IT departments’ need to maintain governance, some software-as-a-solution (SaaS) and application-platform-as-a-service (aPaas) providers can provide a middle ground of both custom solutions and governance and security. These providers can give IT the control they need to manage agile development efforts while empowering the business specialists themselves to create, deploy and change their solutions with minimal, if any, coding skills required.
Low-code and no-code cloud-based tools allow business analysts to drag and drop processes and users to configure apps rather than code without ever requiring the need for the management of infrastructure and servers.
Growing IT Backlog Creates Hurdles
In most traditional IT organizations with rigid approval processes and capital investment stakes, business users need to make a strong case for building out a new technology solution. But even once a solid case is made and approved it could takes months before a solution is deployed due to the mounting IT backlog in many organizations.
As end users grow savvier with technology and access to data becomes more vital, IT departments are turning to SaaS and aPaaS providers to help bridge the gap while relieving backlog pressure. Using these low-code or no-code platforms, IT can empower business leaders to take matters into their own hands to build the solutions they need. From there, they can take advantage of the inherent power in continuous improvement.
No-coding business application platforms are designed to solve company-wide challenges and enable large organizations to move with agility. It’s why their growing popularity and adoption by many Fortune 500 companies comes as no surprise as these platforms enable teams to thrive in a mobile and big-data-driven landscape. They are able to easily adapt and scale their projects as their business changes rather than waiting for IT to develop a new solution or rebuild on old legacy code.
With powerful features such as real-time reporting dashboards to improve decision making, expose trends and manage projects, no-coding solutions can increase customer satisfaction and inspire business transformation to ripple across organizations from all sectors.
With little or no IT expertise required, organizations are building a diverse set of business applications that range from call center and customer support, payment processing, retail development, to CRM and ERP.
Greater Agility to Respond to Changing Landscapes
No-code platforms have on-demand self-service with rapid elasticity to meet constantly changing demands. As enterprises introduce new products and services, enter new markets and update its workforce, leadership needs a tool that can adapt with the changing circumstances.
Predicting what resources your business will need without overspending is one of the most challenging aspects of running a company or department. This is especially true in IT where time for development and engineering resources are extremely limited.
Rather than having to predict your needs, business application platforms can react to organizational needs as they arise and continuously improve business processes. In the time that it takes for a business person to outline requirements and prepare a presentation to IT, he or she could instead be building and deploying that application to their team.
In addition to the ability to develop one’s own solutions quickly and easily, most no-coding services also have a rich third-party ecosystem to securely connect employees to the tools they already use.
Cost reduction is one of the main reasons why companies are switching from outdated legacy software to no-code cloud solutions. Business applications can be automatically updated to support the latest process, removing the time-consuming software maintenance procedures usually associated with traditional software development.
Additionally, most no-code solutions operate on a monthly subscription plan that can be instantly adjusted up or down depending on how many users are needed. This ensures departments and businesses only pay for what they use. Along with the ability to scale up to meet increased demand, these solutions also allow you to scale down during slower periods and remove users or use less storage space to save you money.
Business application solutions offer solid benefits that businesses need to meet the demands and take advantage of the opportunities in today's interconnected world. As the world grows smarter and more tasks become automated, no-coding platforms are the next evolution in efficiency, productivity and the transforming business through innovative approaches to application development.
About the Author
Nicole is Director of Marketing at Kintone, with 10+ years experience in content strategy, campaign management, lead acquisition and building positive work cultures of empowered, purpose-driven team members. She spent seven years as a journalist, previously serving as a CBS San Francisco digital producer, NPR contributor, Patagon Journal deputy editor and reporter for several publications, including the Chicago Tribune. She's passionate about the tech for good space, social entrepreneurship and women leadership. On the weekends, you’ll likely find her putting her Master Gardener skills to use in at community gardens in Oakland.