The growth of citizen development is driven by business users need for solutions to problems that overworked IT departments don’t have the capacity to resolve. In a “need it now” business world, solutions have to be developed quickly and they have to work. There’s no time for approvals, long requirements gathering and user testing.
The good news is that as citizen development becomes more popular, it will grow across the company landscape. But that’s the bad news too.
Growth in low-code apps won’t be hard to manage for small companies, but what about big companies or companies that are spread out geographically?
Ensuring that different departments aren’t reinventing the wheel when an app solution has already been created can be a challenge.
That means there needs to be controls in place and good communication across the organization so the efficiencies being created are truly efficient.
Here are five things you can do to help keep it under control.
Okay, I get that IT has been the clog in the pipeline so this might not sound so appealing to you, but IT has experience with things like governance, controls, regulatory, and security issues that are important. The key will be to focus on being partners and having agreements in place about who does what along with an understanding about turnaround times and access issues. Citizen developers can take a lot of pressure off the IT department, so a collaborative partnership can help everyone and meet the needs of the business too. IT should set up the minimum requirements for oversight and then let app development begin.
A cloud-based, low-code application development platform (like QuickBase) can solve a lot of logistical issues. This type of platform will be particularly attractive to companies that are geographically dispersed as it is accessible from anywhere, anytime by anyone who is provided credentials. Plus the platform has plenty of options along with an entire catalog of ready-to-use business apps that can be customized quickly to meet business needs.
Today’s employees are used to shopping in app stores to find the things they need that will make their life easier. Set up a company version of the app store for your employees to use. Provide access to prebuilt templates and other reusable components that can make building new apps easy.
Regular communication with IT staff and between citizen developers will go a long way in helping people understand what’s happening on the app front. Changes that might be taking place at the enterprise level that could affect current apps, and general business changes should also be a regular topic of discussion. It’s also a good idea to share what’s happening in app development to educate people on what’s new or changing. Getting people together on a regular basis helps build trust and makes them feel a part of the process. It’s also a great forum for talking through current challenges and opportunities to solve new problems.
Make sure there are at least two people who are familiar with each app. Set up one person as the main developer and another as a backup who’s familiar with the reason for the app, who uses it, and why it was created. This backup person should also have a general understanding of how the app is built. Having staff redundancy for each app eliminates the risk of knowledge loss should one of the staff members move on.
Learn the value of a low-code platform for citizen development to increase business process app delivery and efficiency.