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HCLSoftware: Fueling the Digital+ Economy

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Anyone who works with Excel knows the frustration of hitting a dead end while trying to solve a business problem. Originally developed for financial calculations, spreadsheets today are commonly used to manage all sorts of data — and their limitations can quickly land you in “Excel Hell.”

But if you’re a citizen developer, you can find your way out of Excel Hell quickly by building applications that automate and digitize business tasks, like generating quotes and syncing calendars between team members.

A citizen developer who can do this — without creating chaos for everyone else in the organization — will justifiably be lauded as a Citizen Development Superhero. They come up with the best solution, not only for their own purposes but for their entire team.

Citizen Development Superheroes make their peers’ lives easier and help the entire organization thrive in a hyper-competitive world, so an organization that cultivates them and supports their good intentions stands to gain the most. But it’s worth remembering that citizen developers can turn from “superheroes” to “villains” if their power is left unchecked.

Want to learn more about the best — and safest — ways to support your Citizen Development Superheroes? Read on!

Does Your Company Need a Citizen Development Superhero?

The astute citizen developer knows there’s a better way to solve a business problem than getting bogged down in endless spreadsheets and email threads. A Citizen Development Superhero looks a challenge in the eye and says: “Give me the tools to solve this problem or I’ll go find them myself.”

Management should encourage citizen developers, and demonstrating the upside of citizen development superpowers to the C-suite is easy. After all, empowering employees to innovate pays off. It certainly beats letting employees toil in frustration when, given the right tools, they could be both happier and more productive.

With the right tools and platforms, citizen developers can upscale their skills — free to leverage their resourcefulness, know-how, and creativity to tackle business problems in ways that IT or a central team would never dream of. The employees on the front lines understand the issues they need to address far more clearly than those teams ever could — and that positions them to produce a far more effective solution.

Some companies have started using fusion (a k a multidisciplinary) teams to digitize business capabilities. Those teams are effective for digital transformation projects, but citizen developers can still accomplish a lot on their own. For one thing, having a CD strategy eases the burden on backlogged IT and development teams. Instead of waiting around for those teams to work through lists of apps waiting to be written, citizen developers can build the applications themselves — addressing problems in hours or days instead of weeks or months.

Citizen Development Superheroes also help fight the ultimate villain, a conundrum that has plagued organizations since the advent of cloud-based apps: shadow IT. The rogue phenomenon of shadow IT, along with its associated compliance and security risks, can be curbed by taking a more controlled approach to employee-initiated IT projects — provided, of course, that this happens in a safe and well-managed environment.

The Unsung Heroes Behind Every Citizen Development Superhero

Leveraging low-code and no-code tools and platforms, citizen developers can automate tasks easily — creating custom applications via intuitive, self-serve interfaces with drag-and-drop functionality. Once acclimated to an interface, employees can use predefined modules and built-in capabilities to create forms and gather data efficiently.

With the right citizen development environment in place, employees have the tools and data they need to build custom applications without help from IT or professional development teams. Still, their efforts don’t take place in a vacuum. A successful citizen development strategy does require cooperation between non-technical employees and the folks in IT.

For starters, to align capabilities and resources and ensure compliance, IT needs to validate and integrate citizen developer applications — and, where appropriate, make them available to other teams that might also benefit. In the ideal scenario, citizen developers and IT have a collaborative relationship, each side working within defined parameters to foster interdepartmental communication and understanding.

Cultivating and empowering Citizen Development Superheroes doesn’t mean your professional software developers have to be left behind. In fact, a successful citizen development strategy requires both professional and citizen devs to collaborate.

While citizen developers can build apps for themselves or their teams, they do require assistance from professionals if and when their app can be beneficial to other business units. It’s up to professional developers to reuse an app or its components — without rebuilding it from scratch — in other parts of your organization. Not only does this foster company-wide collaboration and innovation, but it also boosts efficiency and productivity.

Plenty of organizations have implemented citizen development programs successfully — Lufthansa, one of the world’s largest airlines, among them. Leveraging citizen development, the company launched a complex cargo acceptance and invoicing application that bridged various departments. Another citizen development application creates flight attendant badges that show the languages they speak. These are just two examples of the 11,500 applications created over the past 10 years. Today, 2,500 apps are active — and 120,000 of Lufthansa’s employees are empowered by citizen devs to build more.

Battling the Citizen Development Skeptics: How to Win Them Over

With the right platform and governance, a frustrated employee can become a productive citizen developer: a Citizen Development Superhero. Instead of getting bogged down by the limitations of spreadsheets, email or complex collaboration software, these superheroes leverage the citizen development environment to banish inefficiencies, breaking free from IT bottlenecks and solving problems quickly as they arise.

An organization that empowers its citizen developers, giving workers the autonomy to get creative and become superheroes, is more likely to thrive in the Digital+ Economy. Like Lufthansa, your organization has the opportunity to build a comprehensive collection of software applications designed to solve problems quickly and cater to specific business needs.

If your organization’s IT team includes citizen development skeptics, you can win them over by working together and fostering a culture of collaboration. In this regard, Volt MX can help. Volt MX provides a secure, controlled environment for citizen development, ensuring compliance and data integrity. With its low-code tools, Volt MX enables citizen developers to build applications that IT can then validate and extend to other users — sometimes in a matter of minutes.

Volt MX can be the launchpad for your standout role as the Citizen Development Superhero who spearheads your organization’s transformation — empowering you to liberate your colleagues from the limitations and frustrations of spreadsheets and other antiquated tools.

Why wait? Become your organization’s Citizen Development Superhero and start creating the solutions for your problems today. Test drive your superhero powers using Volt MX — for free!

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