citizen dev

Accelerating Digital Transformation Through Citizen Development

Written By: Steven Duque
April 26, 2021
3 min read

The benefits of digital transformation are clear to businesses in all fields today. With cloud-native companies becoming increasingly more prevalent, organizations are continuing to push their business processes to digital platforms and become more cloud-native. Usually, this means major work by IT to bring about this effort to an organization.

However, digital transformation can no longer be solely driven by IT. To build in the amount of operational agility needed to react to disruption, IT doesn’t move fast enough to own this full burden. Harvard Business Review Analytic Services (HBRAS) found that 92% of executives say digital transformation requires an approach combining innovation at the enterprise level and the business process level. And citizen development – driven by low-code capabilities throughout your business – can drive the business process innovation.

Let’s take a deeper look at digital transformation, and how citizen development can drive an impact through your entire organization and prepare you for rapid change.

What is “Digital Transformation”?

Organizations are reimagining and redesigning business processes – from the industrial age to the early Internet era – as a result of new technologies and their adoption among a growing number of businesses. From paper and snail mail to spreadsheets and email, organizations are finding new approaches to create structure around workflows and optimize processes with technology.

As a result, every business, from pizza chains to healthcare systems, is leveraging digital tools. In this era of constant change, organizations are continuing to find the ways to continue to improve digital practices to and increase efficiency, business agility, and employee productivity.

Activating citizen development

This transformation cannot be managed from IT alone. While IT can handle the large-scale transformation efforts, effective digital transformations cannot happen without those closest to the business optimizing their own processes. This can happen most effectively by activating citizen development – a function of collaboration between business users and IT, where business users are empowered through technology like low-code to make the changes they see fit for their business processes.

With citizen development working alongside IT’s grand-scale transformation work, digital transformation efforts will be able to occur on multiple levels. We call this “dual track transformation” – an approach addressing enterprise-wide issues while also modernizing business processes that flow across business groups and workflows. And executives know this is critical – that same HBRAS survey found 77% of respondents strongly agreed that successful digital transformation requires innovation at the enterprise level and across departments.

Benefits of Digital Transformation

Citizen development, and the rapid-cycle innovation it enables, can have a profound impact on your organization’s operational efficiency and agility. By empowering people closest to the work to solve problems, you can scale this transformation effectively and impact your entire organization without straining IT. And further, your can respond to change when it strikes – which, these days, is liable to be any time.

Looking at a successful digital transformation, you can see how the large-scale transformation and rapid-cycle innovation efforts play together. When Enel Green Power were looking to support their central enterprise system once they found that their global initiatives didn’t extend to all of their processes, they embraced a dual-track approach. By utilizing Quickbase as a low-code solution, everything from outage management to technical support can be customized by business users on the edge to make a rapidly solve for specific issues. Enel also built a COVID-19 tracking application to truly react to disruption with flexibility and agility.

Written By: Steven Duque

Steven Duque is a product marketing manager at Quickbase, where he is responsible for all aspects of the Quickbase core platform go-to-market. Outside of Quickbase, you’ll likely find Steven spending time with his young family on the North Shore of Massachusetts, reading voraciously or writing music.