If you're into business applications, a term you'll hear more and more often is 'Citizen Developer'.
If I argue that the concept of `digital transformation` is one of the most important trends of the past few years, I guess no one would disagree. Businesses that focus on the digital transformation process and the CIOs leading it and IT personnel at all levels have digitized many of their business processes in the past years, many jobs that were previously done manually, via emails, were moved to various applications, integration projects with various ERP systems and similar systems were carried out.
If you are far from the business applications market, you may not realize it that much, but you can observe this in the cafe you go to every day, in the restaurant where you always order, or even in the shopkeepers in the neighborhood. Compare with digitization just five years ago. How few are the restaurants that write orders on paper, every small business uses software to manage their orders, invoices, quotes.
Digitization is so prominent in the world that according to the results of a study conducted by Gartner at the end of 2019, almost 2 years ago, CIOs doubled their digital targets between 2018 and 2019. With the conditions brought by the Pandemic that started in 2020, we can assume that many more businesses and processes have gone digital. We are in a very different world compared to 2018. However, this digitalization creates new problems.
Developer, More Developers
Intense digitization has exposed a huge IT staff shortage. At the beginning of 2020, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics conducted a study that determined that the USA would need 1 million computer science graduates in 1 year. This figure is similar for all developed countries. Countries such as the UK, USA, Germany, Japan all need IT personnel because digitalization has greatly increased the gap in this field.
However, the work ahead of IT had increased even more. All stakeholders, who saw the benefits of digitalization, piled up work in front of IT for the digitalization of processes. Was it possible to integrate the recruitment processes with the internal HR software? Could a job flow (BPM) be defined for a candidate's CV and recruitment process, reducing mail traffic and errors? When could ERP's E-Invoice integration be completed? Could we organize a small survey among our staff? Could a portal for digital assets be prepared? Of course, this portal should be integrated with Active Directory if possible. Would it ask for a password every time? :)
These processes must be familiar to IT people reading the article. But don't feel alone. Because IT professionals all over the world complain that their workload (backlog) is constantly increasing and this is the new normal. But the trajectory will increase this load even more.
Here we go too long, but we've come to the end. This development need will be solved when people from other departments in the company, who have other basic responsibilities, gain development skills. Mrs. Ayse in the Finance department, Mr. Fatih from the Logistics department and others will develop the applications that their departments need by acquiring their development skills. Citizen Developer will not be a title, it will be a skill. In the past, we used to come across an Excel specialist in every company. Preparing huge excels like nightmares, coding small macros needed by colleagues... Citizen Developer will be the advanced and today's version of this.
Change, Right Now
So how will this happen? So we're not all going to learn to code. At this point, the official Low Code-No Code (LCNC) systems will be completing. These systems make it possible to develop applications or do integration projects without writing code or by writing much less code compared to traditional systems. CIOs will choose such an LCNC platform and place it inside their IT ecosystem, in a sense, like a glue, a catalyst. Once such an LCNC platform settles into your ecosystem and begins to breathe, both application development times will decrease and the backlog will change faster — attention! I'm not saying it will decrease, on the contrary, the backlog volume will increase, but the average go-live times will decrease — users in departments will become developers of their own departments. Needless to say, Citizen Developers will be more acceptable to businesses than their colleagues who don't have this skill.
This may be the right year for you to learn an LCNC platform and acquire Citizen Developer skills. If you are an IT manager, this is the right year to embed an LCNC platform into your ecosystem. As the Chinese proverb says; ‘The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, second best time is now.’