Business users increasingly require customized, mobile-friendly and consumer-grade solutions. As existing enterprise applications often fail to deliver, many turn to low-code platforms and citizen development for specific and fast solutions. Sometimes, this implies non-enterprise SaaS platforms. The risks – from non-compliance to data leaks and data and process duplication – are significant. The solution? A hybrid, enterprise-ready approach that gives users what they need and assuages the IT department’s main concerns.
Everyone recognizes this scenario to a certain degree: you’re out in the field and need access to client data that’s only available in the back-office applications or even not at all. Since you’re right in the middle of Very Important Project #392, there’s no time to get in touch with IT, explain your predicament, and wait for them to get back to you with a business-approved modification.
To cater to the need for increasingly customized solutions, Microsoft recently introduced its Power Platform: a low-code development platform that allows users with minimal coding backgrounds to build their own applications. In this way, they are empowered – through what’s affectionately called ‘citizen development’ – to create their own solutions to specific business challenges, or ‘apps to fill the gaps’.
From a business perspective, this approach offers many benefits: applications can be developed and deployed quickly and cheaply, provide turnkey solutions to highly specific problems that enterprise applications can’t solve, and there’s no need to involve the IT department. Everybody wins, right?
Not so fast. While citizen development provides significant benefits, it also poses quite a few risks. When everyone can create business applications, data security, scalability and compliance – which are traditionally high on the IT department’s priority list – are no longer guaranteed. Moreover, there’s the very real risk of different applications not communicating with each other, creating a siloed environment with duplicated data and processes. When this happens, the digital backbone of your organization’s operational efficiency is at risk.
In a perfect world, the IT department would have the means and resources to develop customized, scalable, fully-compliant and secure solutions for every business user. Moreover, they would do so in a way that is cost-effective and fast. Sadly, the reality is often different.
There is middle ground between choosing between free-for-all citizen development and IT department dictatorship, namely managed citizen development. This hybrid approach combines the advantages of the Microsoft Power Platform (fast delivery, limited IT involvement, etc.) with the stability, scalability and security of a robust, tried-and-tested solution.
In this scenario, a team of experienced (third-party) professionals are called the moment a business user signals the need for a customized solution. Drawing from their business knowledge, experience and expertise, the team then looks for the fastest, most cost-effective solution that is also secure, compliant and scalable.
For both business and IT, this approach is a win-win. Users will still enjoy the fast delivery of citizen development. IT can serve its internal customers (cost-)efficiently without impacting day-to-day projects, and while still enjoying full application lifecycle management. For the organization as a whole, the most important advantages of this approach are the access to low-cost, modern and mobile apps in a scalable landscape that can be fully embedded in the digital workplace.
Under the moniker ‘Smart Experiences’, delaware has assembled a team of highly skilled experts with a proven track record in more than 120 digital workplace projects involving MS Office 365 , SharePoint and the MS Power Platform. This team focuses on delivering low-cost, modern and mobile business apps, created with the MS Power Platform. Our professionals seamlessly combine speed and cost-efficiency with robust solutions that align with your organization’s digital workplace strategy. Contact us to find out more about our offering.