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How the rise of the 'citizen developer' is driving an internal app revolution

Stephen McNulty, Managing Director, Asia Pacific and Japan, Progress | June 24, 2015
An opportunity now exists for the CIO to marry the right type of 'citizen developer' within their organisation with a centralised technology platform, effectively empowering the business to support the IT team in building quality internal apps, fast and without risk. Stephen McNulty shares with us how to do so.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Citizen developers have been changing the application development game for several years now with an ever growing community. This tune is being sung all across the globe and is not a new revelation. What is interesting here is the emphasis on the importance of application development within organisations and how these end-user developers are empowered for quick development to meet this demand for applications.

A recent survey of senior IT leaders, conducted by Samsung, confirmed 90% of companies are hanging their hats on internal applications to improve access to business critical data that will help inform key decisions or simply speed up business practices. From simple, bespoke corporate productivity applications that compile data from siloed spreadsheets so that it's easier to analyse, to more complex apps for data analysis, internal apps of all sorts will become prevalent in the next five years.

The emphasis on bespoke internal applications will create a step-change in the way apps are developed. As businesses move away from packaged applications to tailored apps for unique departmental requirements, CIOs will need to rethink how to strategically plan, deliver, manage and control this new element of the application portfolio and its architecture.

An opportunity exists for the CIO to marry the right type of 'citizen developer' within their organisation with a centralised technology platform, effectively empowering the business to support the IT team in building quality internal apps, fast and without risk. 

Tackling the need for speed and the developer skills shortage
The need to develop internal apps quickly to meet demand and stay ahead of the curve is paramount in today's competitive market place. Additionally, developers may be called on to satisfy the need to modernise existing applications by turning them into mobile apps that integrate with core mission critical apps.

Yet, traditional methods of development can be both timely and costly, plus the appetite for apps can be rapidly influenced by a range of market forces, including competitor apps and new platform and device releases. This can often mean that by the time an app is ready for publication, the business need or industry landscape may have changed. The answer is a blended approach to application development that includes a mix of rapid and more traditional methods. This will ensure that development teams keep up with ever changing demand and requirements.

The greater challenge lies in managing the speedy delivery of internal apps, while development teams juggle a tonne of other app priorities in relation to their organisations' core IT systems. These include regular modernisation updates plus the urgent demand for mobile and cloud integration. Pressure on developer time and resource is only likely to worsen.

 

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