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IT can help users to be proactive in solving issues that used to require that they create a help desk ticket and wait until (or hope) IT had the time to address it. Many users likely have excellent ideas for applications that will automate business processes and improve their departments' output and productivity levels. Now IT can let them build those apps themselves – even if they don't have much coding experience – by adopting a delegated approach to application development. These "low-coders" will help IT speed up software development and delivery timetables, and position the IT organization as an invaluable business partner, not a roadblock.
Before launching a delegated development program, IT should to take into account these five key considerations for how to help users to help themselves:
1. Your organization may already have a viable low-code platform
Many organizations are likely running a SaaS application to support the business that low-coders are not aware is available to them. A number of SaaS platforms are built on an application platform-as-a-service (PaaS) that offers tools for declarative programming low-coders can use to define, customize, and create new apps without writing a line of code.
2. Embrace the MVP (minimum viable product)
Low-code development offers the benefit of speed. Getting apps in the hands of users as quickly as possible allows for quick feedback and iterative development. Users prefer apps that do one thing, maybe two, very well. IT can help users to understand that clunky apps that try to be a Swiss army knife fail to do any one thing well. Instead, find one purpose for your app and make sure it is great at it.
3. Good workflow can automate manual processes
Most employees in an enterprise are stuck in the past – getting work done is unnecessarily difficult and time-consuming. A good low-code development platform should be able to replace email and spreadsheets with collaborative workspaces and automated business processes to streamline the flow of work.
4. Think horizontally, not vertically
Many organizations are trapped in an individual line of the business world where optimization is built around individual departments. This requires IT to lead the shift from the vertical, siloed and departmental approach to thinking horizontally across all departments. A good low-code platform speeds transformation by enabling IT to architect, design and implement based on the requirements across the entire company. That is what drives digital transformation.
5. Position IT as a partner, not the enemy
Mitigating the risks of shadow IT requires a low-code development environment that IT can control but also allows users to move at the speed of business with their application requirements. IT transforms from just being a cantankerous caretaker of technology to an internal service provider that encourages and enables innovation throughout the organization.
Not long ago, users who needed new applications had their fates in the hands of the IT department. IT had a monopoly on app development, but simply did not have the manpower or resources to meet users' requests. But now IT can present itself as a service provider that provides users with the tools they need to solve their own problems instead of relying on IT to do so. A delegated development policy allows IT to encourage low-coders to build apps that automate manual processes and improve their productivity levels. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2020, 75 percent of application purchases supporting digital business will be built, not bought.
Progressive organizations that identify this trend and adapt to it quickly will be in the best position to reap significant cost and time savings, as well as raise users' job satisfaction levels.
Allan Leinwand is CTO at ServiceNow.