Automation Your Way: No Code | Low Code | Your Code

Author: Guy Nadivi

“Citizen Developers” will, according to some projections, help create as many enterprise digital solutions over the next 5 years, as were cumulatively built during the previous 40. Much of this thanks to no code, low code, your code tools.

This paradigm shift holds the promise of easing excessive development workloads for IT so focus can shift instead to more strategic and challenging projects of greater value to the enterprise. As a bonus, costs can be reduced while IT innovation is accelerated.

The question to ask then is – Are No Code | Low Code | Your Code tools for real, and can they be both cost effective, as well as provide adopting enterprises with a competitive advantage?

Let’s start by defining “citizen development”, courtesy of Tech Target:

“Citizen development is a business process that encourages non-IT-trained employees to become software developers, using IT-sanctioned low-code/no-code platforms to create business applications.”

You’re now starting to see no code – low code manifest itself in a number of areas, but it’s actually been prevalent in automation tools like Ayehu for longer than that.

Another element driving citizen development, according to Gartner, is digital transformation because “…40% of global CIOs have reached scale for their digital endeavors”.

You may or may not find that surprising, but digital transformation is more than a buzzword. It’s really happening out there.

And we can’t discount the impact that the pandemic has had on things. This appeared on Pascal Bornet’s recent Intelligent Automation newsletter and I thought it was a good depiction of how COVID-19 has refocused many decision-makers on the perils of delaying digital transformation.

So enterprises have been doing a lot of infrastructure upgrading. As a result, there is now more demand for digital applications and automation to replace manual processes.

Afterall, if you create an infrastructure to accommodate greater traffic, then sooner or later that traffic is going to show up on your infrastructure. There’s a saying that nature abhors a vacuum, and apparently so do digital enterprises.

In fact, digital enterprises are finding that their expanded and improved infrastructures are generating a positive feedback loop that in and of itself increases the demand for digital apps and automation.

A company called Mendix, which is a division of industrial conglomerate Siemens published a report not long ago entitled “Business in Crisis Due to IT Resource Shortages; Self-Medicating with ‘Shadow IT’”.

In that report Mendix found that “77% of IT leaders and 71% of business leaders agree that IT teams have a huge pipeline of new IT solution requests, which aren’t being built.”

This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone working in IT.

That same report went on to say “Companies of all sizes have trouble competing and disrupting in a software-driven world due to persistent shortage of developers, as well as IT funding that falls short of supporting strategic goals”.

So the lack of IT resources is actually having a profound impact on corporate operations.

One more finding from that Mendix report was that there is “Near-unanimous agreement on low-code’s ability to solve IT’s backlog of critically needed software applications”

Since when do business and IT reach near-unanimous agreement on anything? Well, apparently they do when it comes to no code-low code platforms.

The idea of no code tools empowering citizen development is talked about as an enterprise-wide practice for both Business as well as IT.

That’s how it’s being envisioned. That’s how it’s being implemented

We’re going to focus in primarily on citizen development within IT or perhaps with an automation champion within a department like HR that interfaces a lot with IT. The reason for that is simply because Ayehu’s focus is IT, and we want to showcase how citizen development can reduce the development backlog for IT-specific projects.

So what would be the impact of no code – low code tools just in the IT department, and specifically for orchestrating automation?

Let’s take a look at some of the typical roles in an IT department.

You’ve got your programmers, of course.

Your project managers and your Sys Admins too.

In most IT departments, all of these people can write code to varying extents. So anything that reduced the amount of code they had to write to get their job done would be a boon to their productivity.

But you’ve also got analysts, mid-level IT management, and senior IT management. These people are typically not coders. However, in the case of the mid-level or senior IT management, they may have been coders at some point earlier in their careers. So for someone in one of these roles to be able to use a no code-low code tool is not so far-fetched.

In fact, for IT departments looking to get creative in reducing their application and automation backlog, tapping into non-programming staff members might be a creative and cost-effective approach. BTW – at Ayehu we speak from experience about this because we actually have customers who are CIOs that use our tool to build their own automation workflows!

So if a no code-low code platform is easy enough for a CIO to use, there’s certainly no reason why you couldn’t also recruit someone like an HR intern to pitch in on reducing the application and automation backlog, particularly for function-specific use cases like HR on-boarding.

Here’s another tidbit you might find interesting.

The US Department of Labor has an agency called the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS.

BLS collects information on labor economics for the U.S. government and the American public, processes it, analyzes it, and publishes its findings in numerous reports. These reports not only include snapshots of current data, but also projections of what that data might look like in some future time period.

Here’s an example. Below is a National Employment Matrix for 2018, which has been edited down so it only shows broad categories of computer and mathematical occupations. This matrix includes actual employment for 2018 and projected employment for 2028.

In the next column over you can see the change in employment between those two years expressed as both a number AND a percentage.

As you might expect, the computer field is expected to continue having healthy employment growth for that 10 year period in every occupation category. Every occupation category that is, except one.

If you look closely you’ll see that BLS is projecting a decline in employment of computer programmers. Over the course of a decade it’s not a huge number, about 18,000 fewer jobs or just over 7% reduction in employment. However, it’s a striking reflection of something BLS has been factoring into their employment projection calculations since at least 2018. Namely that no code-low code tools are going to REDUCE demand for programmers, as citizen developers take on a greater share of the development backlog!

If you’re interested in test driving Ayehu NG and seeing how it might enable citizen development for your IT department, please visit our website and download your very own free 30-day trial version today by clicking here.

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