When digitalization efforts are hampered by software fragmentation and departmental silos, it may be time for IT to cultivate citizen developers

If an organization is searching for Task Management or CRM solutions, it can find and purchase many disparate options available in the market. However, the downside to having many separate software solutions within an infrastructure is fragmentation, because these tools may not be able to integrate fully with each other. 

This software fragmentation can in turn create silos between the various departments in the organization. As a result, despite modernization with digitalized workflows, an organization with a fragmented and siloed infrastructure can see reduced benefits or maybe even experience new problems in its digital workplace. 

One way to reduce fragmentation and siloing, Suresh Sambandam, CEO, Kissflow suggests to DigiconAsia.net, is to use a low-code/no-code paradigm in software development …

DigiconAsia: How can organizations experiencing fragmentation and siloed workflows break down the barriers and become more unified?

Suresh Sambandam (SS): To unify the various functions of the organization, reduce reliance on IT teams to push forward changes: instead, empower all teams to collaborate and come up with their own digital solutions.

Not only would this mean a smaller workload for IT, but this can result in business users coming up with more tools on their own, increasing the speed of their organization’s digital transformation.

This is where a low-code/no-code paradigm is crucial: non-IT employees with minimal to moderate coding expertise can be empowered as “Citizen Developers” to create more bespoke apps, software, and systems than their IT departments alone could achieve.

DigiconAsia: Who are citizen developers? Can anyone in an enterprise become a citizen developer? What are the caveats?

SS: Citizen developers play a key role in reducing the workload of IT teams while improving overall enterprise productivity at the same time.

Suresh Sambandam, CEO, Kissflow

As non-IT employees with moderate IT skills, they can develop digital solutions on their own to address needs in their respective departments and business functions.

Decision-makers can empower citizen developers by digitalizing operations on an enterprise-scale and integrating all apps and systems into one platform. This ensures that digital solutions developed outside of the IT department are integrated with the rest of the firm’s systems so that operational processes become more efficient, not less.

Citizen developers will face multiple challenges such as maintaining cybersecurity best practices, keeping up to date with changes in technology and business processes, and understanding how the ongoing digital transformation in their enterprise affects what they do. This is where IT teams can step in to provide support in the form of additional training.

DigiconAsia: What are the costs involved to become a unified enterprise? 

SS: Instead of investing in expanding IT departments to produce a few software solutions per month, organizations can provide a guiding framework to citizen developers and approve their projects at the same manpower levels. This use of low-code tools can significantly lower costs by reducing dependence on IT teams to deliver the solutions needed for digital transformation.

The citizen developer tools require minimal IT knowledge to use, enabling more non-IT employees in an organization to develop apps, automate workflows, and more. In addition, low-code tools allow for reduce communication and collaboration hurdles between IT teams and business users. The latter can come up with solutions that align exactly with what they need, while eliminating the back-and-forth of trying to communicate their needs to IT.

DigiconAsia: What is the best incentive for organizations to become less fragmented and more inclusive?

SS: The best incentive is the prospect of getting high returns on investments (ROI) on existing digitalization initiatives and gaining optimized workflows, increased revenue, and better customer experiences.

By measuring improvements in ROI gains, decision-makers that adopt the low-code paradigm will be able to quantify the benefits and realize more of the actual goals behind undertaking digital transformation initiatives in the first place.