Technology consumption pattern has evolved drastically over the last decade. The millennials we are dealing with are the ones who would pick up a new skill (say music editing software) just for fun! This is the trait of our knowledge worker community that could be tapped to drive digital transformation at scale
Citizen Development puts the delivery vehicle on every desktop, thereby empowering our target persona ( the business user) to become the rightful flag bearers of Digital Transformation across the organization.
FACTORS INFLUENCING PUSH TOWARDS CITIZEN DEVELOPMENT
While Citizen Development as a buzzword had been making rounds for quite some time, following key themes are influencing the leadership to expedite investments in this space:
Maturing No/Low-Code Platforms:
There has been a major shift in making the business users take the wheel while automating their use-cases independently. Business users no more need not understand the technicalities of RPA, AI , ML , OCR to be able to use them . UiPath (Studio X) for instance offers drag and drop capabilities/ plug-ins to seamlessly deploy respective technologies in their daily job. We are eyeing a scenario where deploying automations at scale would be as seamless as creating a new reel on Instagram or sharing a story on Facebook!
Articulating the Multiplier Effect with Attended Automation
In simple terms, not all the tasks business users perform daily is unique to that person. Hence if we can optimize/ automate the task for one user, the business case gets elevated with the number of users performing the same task. In simple terms if a citizen developer deploys a use-case which can save him 10 mins and which impacts 10 other business users, organization can straightaway gain 100 hours of productivity. In dollar terms, we are looking at savings of >$1000 with just one use-case!
Mitigating the Great Resignation
Ironical that great resignation kind of clashed with the worst ever times we would have witnessed over the last 2-3 years. Narrative around loyalty, job security, compensation etc. has now taken a back seat, while work satisfaction is what most of the business users are yearning for. Enough research has been published around this subject and one key strategic move by the leadership has been to equip business users with modern age technologies and allow them to be upskilled, empowered and feel relevant!
Alignment with Cloud First Strategy
With organizations taking significant stride in navigating their core business applications to cloud, it becomes easier than ever to democratize efficiencies across the business processes. Business users are now able to deploy end to end automations with footprint across diverse applications. This is also augmented with the flexible cloud based deployment models offered by the platform vendors. For instance UiPath has rolled out cloud based serverless robots to ensure the businesses need not worry about any infra roadblocks in their quest to deploy/ test automations.
APPROACHES TOWARDS CITIZEN DEVELOPMENT ROLL-OUTS
Another pertinent question in this space has also been around the approaches towards Citizen Development roll-out. While this could be very specific to the kind of businesses the organizations are operating in, summarizing as below key approaches one can deploy:
Differentiated Managed Services Offering
This applies to the GSIs/ ITeS players in the market where they are keen to offer differentiated services to their end customers. This segment rolls out Citizen Development programs for respective accounts thereby automation customer specific use-cases (hosted in the account infrastructure)
Cost Optimized Outsourced Business Operations
Another variant of the above where in the GSI manages the client business processes, applications and IT independently. This way the GSIs roll out Citizen Development programs to process the use-cases/ transactions in a cost-effective manner. GSIs in this zone are able to offer discounted offerings to their end customers by leveraging the power of automation
Improved Productivity for Internal Functions
In this variant, Citizen Development programs are rolled out for internal functions to target the bottlenecks in personal productivity. For instance within IT function, business users need to spend significant time in addressing end users’ IT specific issues which are more often than not repetitive and can be easily addressed with simple automations.
Alignment with Learning & Development Initiatives
Yet another mechanism to drive org-wide enablement is to collaborate with the Leaning & Development team to roll-out upskilling program for the employees. The catch here, though, is to know that Citizen Development is not just to be treated as one of those compliance courses and has to be governed, monitored and measured in collaboration with the respective businesses/ functions
KEY SUCCESS FACTORS TO ENSURE VALUE REALIZATION
Response from Citizen Development programs can be lukewarm if the same is not driven with the right rigor and intent. Sharing below the key success factors to be kept in mind to ensure organizations don't miss the bus in their push to drive value:
Leadership attention is key and is integral for the complete tenure of the program
Governance/ Operating Model must be aligned prior to the kick-off and must not be left to be discovered during the course of the program
Ensure all the checks are ticked when it comes to acquiring the necessary approvals/ Infrastructure elements
Attended usage is key to the business case and hence for every use-case developed/ idea generated ,tentative number of impacted users must be known
Promote a culture of innovation by recognizing employees who are making an impact
Metrics of success need to be established upfront with focus on value realization (use-cases developed, hours saved) than merely tracking the number of people trained/enabled
Define an engagement model with the business users to ensure enough support is provided to them to make the best of the platform
Keep it simple !! Important to note that business users are the protagonists in any Citizen Development program and hence the program needs to be kept as simple as possible while avoiding any traps which might discourage them to participate/ collaborate openly