Introduction: Transforming Business Dynamics through Citizen Empowerment
In the dynamic realm of modern business, a new frontier is emerging – the era of Citizen Developer Programs. At first glance, it might seem daunting, even uncharted. You might wonder, “Why should our organization invest time and resources in enabling non-technical individuals to build applications?” The initial steps may indeed be challenging, but as we’ll explore, the journey of citizen development is one that promises substantial rewards, innovation, and a transformation of how you do business.
Imagine an HR manager who doesn’t know much about coding. They use a simple tool to make a custom app that helps employees request time off easily. It’s faster and less confusing than the old way of doing things, making everyone’s life better.
The Evolution of Citizen Developer Programs
The traditional approach involved waiting on IT departments to address software needs, often leading to bottlenecks, delays, and missed opportunities. But with the advent of low-code and no-code platforms, this narrative has shifted dramatically. We’re witnessing the democratization of technology, where employees from diverse departments become active participants in driving digital transformation. This is the essence of the Citizen Developer Program.
Why Should You Care?
Imagine a world where agility isn’t just a buzzword, but a reality. Picture a landscape where innovation flows seamlessly from every corner of your organization. Envision employees, regardless of their technical background, creating applications that directly address their unique business needs. This is the promise of citizen development.
Think about a salesperson who knows a lot about what customers want but doesn’t know how to build software. With citizen development tools, they can create a simple app to track customer preferences, helping the company make better products.
The Initial Hurdles: Worth the Investment
Yes, the initial stages might require a leap of faith and a willingness to invest time and resources in training and support. The learning curve might seem steep, but remember, even the most massive trees begin as small saplings. The benefits awaiting you are substantial, and they ripple through every facet of your organization.
The Journey’s Rewards
Agility: Instead of waiting months for software solutions, citizen developers can swiftly prototype, test, and deploy applications, ensuring rapid adaptation to changing market demands.
Innovation: Imagine your employees, with their deep understanding of your business, identifying new ways to streamline processes, automate tasks, and uncover opportunities that were previously hidden.
Empowerment: Empower your employees with the ability to create tailored solutions, leading to increased job satisfaction and a stronger sense of ownership in driving success.
Cost Efficiency: By utilizing in-house talent, you can reduce outsourcing costs and optimize your IT resources, all while gaining customized solutions.
Automation Mindset: Citizen developer programs instill an automation mindset across your organization. These individuals will identify and leverage automation opportunities, increasing overall efficiency.
Indirect Automation Resources: Citizen developers become your invaluable resource pool for automation initiatives, leveraging their deep understanding of business processes.
Leveraging Expertise: These citizen developers are domain experts, and they harness that expertise to create solutions perfectly aligned with your organization’s needs.
The CoE: A Beacon of Guidance
A well-established Center of Excellence acts as the anchor, providing a structured approach to citizen development. It’s the nucleus of knowledge, best practices, and governance. As a main developer, the CoE sets the standards, ensuring consistency, security, and scalability across the board. By maintaining the framework and boundaries, the CoE fosters a controlled environment where innovation thrives within predefined guidelines.
Roadshows and Bootcamps: Bridging the Gap
Introducing RPA tools through roadshows and bootcamps is like unlocking a treasure trove of possibilities for both your organization and your employees. These events are not just a showcase of technology; they’re a gateway to innovation, efficiency, and empowerment. When business stakeholders witness firsthand how simple it is to automate tasks that were once manual and repetitive, a light bulb moment occurs.
Mentorship: Empowering Citizen Developers
The role of a mentor within the CoE is pivotal. Mentorship is not just about teaching the tools; it’s about nurturing a mindset. Citizen developers are experts in their business domains, but they might not be familiar with the intricacies of coding, design, and security. The CoE, as the guiding hand, helps them channel their domain knowledge into effective solutions while adhering to technical best practices.
Collaboration and Division of Responsibilities
Collaboration between citizen developers and the technical team is essential. The division of responsibilities ensures a harmonious workflow. Citizen developers take charge of the basic aspects and initial code, while the tech team oversees critical stages such as design, security review, and production onboarding. This approach harnesses the strengths of both groups while maintaining a streamlined and secure development process.
Focus on Business Impact
Ultimately, the core focus of this approach is on the business impact. By empowering citizen developers and collaborating closely with the technical team, you’re not just saving time and resources; you’re driving innovation. The CoE ensures that citizen developers have the right resources, tools, and support to turn their ideas into impactful applications that enhance efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction.
In conclusion, the combined power of roadshows, a well-structured CoE, mentorship, and clear division of responsibilities creates an ecosystem where RPA adoption is seamless and results-driven. By showcasing the ease of RPA tools, setting boundaries, and leveraging the expertise of both citizen developers and the technical team, your organization is poised to achieve unprecedented heights of innovation, efficiency, and success.
Choosing the Right Process: The Foundation of Success
Selecting the right process for automation is a crucial step that cannot be overlooked. It’s the foundation upon which the entire RPA initiative is built. Identifying the ideal process involves considering factors such as complexity, volume, repetitiveness, and potential impact on the business. A successful choice leads to tangible benefits, while the wrong one can lead to frustration and wasted resources. It’s essential to collaborate closely with business stakeholders to ensure that the selected process aligns with strategic objectives and delivers measurable value.
Teamwork: Citizen Developers and Lead Developers Join Forces
Imagine a big puzzle coming together. In this puzzle, we have a table that shows who does what between citizen developers and lead developers in the Center of Excellence. It’s like watching a dance where citizen developers start things off, setting the tone, and then lead developers, who really know their stuff, step in. They make sure the final result is strong, safe, and matches what the organization wants.
This teamwork isn’t just any teamwork; it’s like a fantastic painting made by two artists. Citizen developers and lead developers work together, creating RPA projects that don’t just succeed but really shine. They bring in new ideas, make things work better, and help the organization grow.
Assists in gathering and documenting high-level requirements
Collaborates with stakeholders to define detailed requirements
Creates basic UI/UX designs and wireframes
Designs complex UI/UX with attention to scalability and usability
Limited involvement in architecture decisions
Designs and defines the overall system architecture
Utilizes low-code or no-code platforms to build application logic
Implements complex business logic using programming languages
Integrates pre-built components and APIs within the platform
Handles integrations with external systems and services
Conducts basic functional testing using built-in tools
Performs comprehensive testing, including unit and integration
Deploys the application on cloud-based platforms easily
Manages deployment process, including server setup and config
Handles minor updates and bug fixes with limited technical support
Provides ongoing maintenance, bug fixing, and technical support
Limited ability to scale the application due to platform constraints
Designs scalable architectures and optimizes performance
Relies on built-in security features of low-code platforms
Implements robust security measures, including encryption and
Limited customization options within the platform’s capabilities
Implements custom features and functionalities as required
Typically has a non-technical background with limited programming
Possesses in-depth technical knowledge and extensive programming
This table highlights the shared responsibilities between citizen developers and lead developers within the Center of Excellence. It showcases how citizen developers contribute to the early stages of development, while lead developers, with their expertise, oversight, and mentoring, ensure that the final solution is robust, secure, and aligned with the organization’s goals.
By collaborating effectively, these two roles form a dynamic partnership that leverages the strengths of both sides, resulting in successful RPA implementations that drive innovation, efficiency, and growth for the organization.
Myths Vs Facts of Citizen Development
Myth 1: Citizen Development is only for IT experts.
Fact 1: Citizen development is designed for non-technical individuals. It empowers business users to create applications and automate processes without extensive coding skills.
Myth 2: Citizen Development is a replacement for IT.
Fact 2: Citizen development complements IT. It allows business users to address their specific needs quickly, but IT remains crucial for security, governance, and complex system integration.
Myth 3: Citizen Development lacks security and governance.
Fact 3: Properly managed, citizen development can include security and governance measures. Organizations can implement guidelines and tools to ensure data privacy and compliance.
Myth 4: Citizen Development leads to siloed apps.
Fact 4: Effective citizen development strategies promote collaboration and integration. These apps can often be integrated with existing systems, reducing silos and improving efficiency.
Myth 5: Citizen Development is only for small projects.
Fact 5: While citizen development is great for quick wins, it can also support more extensive projects. With the right tools and governance, it can scale to meet larger business needs.
Myth 6: Citizen Development is a one-time effort.
Fact 6: Citizen development is an ongoing process. Applications and processes may need continuous refinement and support over time to adapt to changing business requirements.
Myth 7: Citizen Development hinders innovation.
Fact 7: Citizen development can foster innovation. Empowering employees to create solutions can lead to creative problem-solving and uncover new opportunities for improvement.
Myth 8: Citizen Development is limited to specific industries.
Fact 8: Citizen development can be applied across various industries, from healthcare to finance. It’s about streamlining processes and responding to specific business needs, which are universal concepts.
Key Lessons Learned in Adopting Citizen Development Program in Organization
Lesson 1: Align digital transformation with broader business strategy:
While leaders often have specific technologies in mind to enhance organizational performance, it is crucial to remember that digital transformation should be guided by the overall business strategy. There is no one-size-fits-all technology solution for achieving “speed” or “innovation.” The ideal combination of tools will vary based on the organization’s vision and goals.
Lesson 2: Leverage the expertise of insiders:
Instead of relying solely on external consultants who may apply generic solutions, our approach to transformation has been to tap into the knowledge and insights of our internal staff. These individuals possess intimate knowledge of what works and what doesn’t in our daily operations, making them invaluable contributors to the transformation process.
Lesson 3: Address employees’ fear of job displacement:
When employees perceive digital transformation as a threat to their job security, they may resist the changes. It is essential for leaders to acknowledge and address these fears, emphasizing that the transformation process presents an opportunity for employees to enhance their skills and adapt to the evolving job market. By emphasizing personal growth and professional development, we can alleviate concerns and foster a positive mindset towards the transformation.
A Journey Worth Taking
Think of this journey as an exciting adventure, from the start when things might seem a bit uncertain to the end when you see all the great things that happen. Along the way, there might be some challenges, but they become less important as you reach the big rewards. Imagine getting better at doing things quickly, having lots of great ideas, and feeling like you’re in control of your work. It’s like finding the perfect balance between what you have and what you need.
Here’s an example to make it clearer: Imagine someone from the marketing team who doesn’t know much about computer stuff. They use easy tools to make a special program that helps with their work. Then, someone who really knows computers checks everything to make sure it’s safe and works well with everything else. Together, they turn something that takes a long time into something easy, and it helps the company make more money.
By working together like this, your organization can make the most of the talents of your team. It’s like making beautiful music with everyone playing their part, making big changes, and always staying ahead in the business world.
Interested to know more? Reach out to Cybiant’s consultants by dropping a quick e-mail at email@example.com to us.
Solutions Architect – Center of Excellence, Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Vipul Tiwari, an accomplished professional and dynamic leader, embarked on his career in Site Engineering with a Telecom giant seven years ago. Little did he know that his journey would lead him to become a prominent Developer and a passionate advocate for the Citizen Development Program. Currently thriving at Amazon, Vipul has won numerous hackathons and earned prestigious recognitions, including being a Blue Prism MVP for four consecutive years. With a wealth of certifications and accolades to his name, Vipul’s expertise and dedication have propelled him to be a leading figure within the automation community.