New Capabilities: Expanding IT Through Citizen Developers

Written By: Julie Fancher
September 17, 2020
4 min read

It didn’t take long for businesses to find out whether their infrastructure could support the disruption that they faced in 2020. Most companies have resiliency plans, but it’s safe to say that none of them had been stress-tested like this before. Most continuity plans are built around disaster recovery and data loss, and not in response to an extended crisis.

IT departments now face unique challenges, including decreased departmental spending and increased equipment tracking due to remote work. Governance concerns have arisen as citizen developers take on new responsibilities in the interest of speed and efficiency. As a result, nimble companies have added layers of responsibility and new tools like low-code applications to ensure that their workflows continue to move forward.

The Low-Code Layer

Working within these new layers are tech-savvy employees who help to make those new tools work and offer end-user support when the IT department is overloaded. They’re also the people who can implement new solutions like low-code platforms when the company needs it.

Some companies have tasked their citizen developers to use low-code to establish a layer of data collection and asset tracking that has helped them sidestep some of the consequences of the current disruption. Low-code applications can track laptops, mobile devices, monitors, and other equipment to help ensure employee productivity from safe environments. Additionally, low-code’s device independence and speedy development infrastructure can significantly reduce overhead.

Several companies have reached meaningful organizational and financial goals using low-code. Their experiences with IT collaboration, application development, and inventory tracking provide insights into the far-reaching benefits of tools like Quickbase’s low-code development platform. The following are three companies’ challenges and the solution-driven examples of their successes.

The Financial and Organization Challenge

A global animal health corporation set goals to reduce its IT investment, increase IT resource availability, boost their application development speed, and improve their user satisfaction. These goals may seem like contradictory, but they achieved each one using Quickbase solutions. Here’s how:

Thinking Beyond the Cloud

This company adopted a hybrid model of IT systems that blends its existing cloud computing resources with web-based Quickbase applications. It then shifted some of their application development to low-code as well, using APIs to connect online databases to public-facing websites. Finally, they deployed the new Quickbase apps to several internal departments.

The Results

This company reduced its IT investment by 30 percent over a few years and spent 40 percent less on IT than their closest competitors. Application development now takes days instead of months. Finally, their IT resources are compatible with all devices and operating systems, so users have better and faster access to what they need.

The Inventory Installation and Management Challenge

A large American company with a global footprint in business and financial services wanted a comprehensive tracking solution for its self-serve and point-of-sale machine installations. The deployments involved tracking both the hardware inventory and software management.

Expanding Low-Code Capabilities

The company already used Quickbase to oversee two kinds of machine inventory. Their IT department leveraged that capability to expand the application to cover all the installation management, and Quickbase now is their solution to manage their entire installation system.

They also employ Quick Base Pipelines to connect workflows such as Slack, Gmail, and OneDrive to their original proprietary platform.

The Results

This business has achieved significant time savings along with enhanced collaboration between IT department and business development teams. They now have real-time visibility into their processes and the ability to customize their systems. Their IT personnel builds Pipeline integrations into other channels such a Jira and Salesforce, and the company is now benefitting from the increased collaboration between previously walled-off departments.

The Online Database Migration Challenge

A division of a comprehensive medical supply company was informed that its online database project management tool was phasing out operations. They needed something to replace it, along with their spreadsheet workflow.

Collaboration is Key

The company turned to Quickbase to oversee employees and projects within this division, as well as inventory management and data collection. They have grown their user base from 20 to 500 users and have developed 80 Quickbase apps under a collaborative IT governance structure.

This governance includes a partnership between the Business and IT department that works together to define needs and goals; it also oversees an internal Quickbase builder group that develops apps for company use.

The Results

One person now handles the responsibilities traditionally split amongst the three jobs: project management, risk mitigation, and production management for their product. Between this agility and use of its existing developers, the company saves at least $100,000 annually.

Digital Transformation Mitigates Disruption

This year, business leaders can and should learn from these examples. It’s time to use this disruption as an opportunity to embrace change, recognize resources within their personnel, and become flexible. Combining new tools, connecting departments, and gathering insightful data will form better workflows and strengthen the company.

Written By: Julie Fancher