By Manoj Chaudhary, CTO and SVP of Engineering
Business technologists are building an estimated 80% of IT solutions by 2024, and leading companies are empowering them with low-code application platforms (LCAPs).
- For decades, IT has been shifting from a centralized structure to a model in which individual business users are armed with greater tech capabilities.
- Spurred on by the acceleration of digital business during the pandemic, this trend—referred to as IT democratization—is at a critical peak.
- Analysts advise IT leaders to view the new dynamic as an opportunity, not a threat, and provide users with LCAPs and other low-code tools to build and customize their own IT.
Businesses are struggling with an acute shortage of tech talent, but organizational IT demands show no signs of slowing. In fact, the pace of digital innovation has greatly accelerated during the pandemic, creating a demand for technology projects and solutions that many central IT departments simply lack the resources to facilitate.
To compensate, employees external to enterprise IT groups are increasingly selecting, creating, or customizing their own technology. Known as “IT democratization,” the trend has been progressing over several decades.
Gartner notes that IT first began shifting from highly centralized infrastructure to more distributed computing with the introduction of the PC. Next, the rise of enterprise CRM and ERP applications brought business users into IT purchasing decisions. In the mobile era, trends like bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and bring-your-own apps (BYOA) have further empowered non-technical professionals. And today, cloud technology enables many business leaders to access computing resources at scale without involving IT teams.
If IT has been evolving to empower non-technical employees for decades, why is the trend currently at a critical peak? Gartner reports a confluence of several factors:
- The growth of digital business has created technological dependencies for organizations across industries. At this point of “terminal velocity,” a return to an IT approach from previous decades is simply no longer realistic.
- Up-and-coming digital natives won’t accept the barriers presented by traditional IT roles within companies. As a result, “business technologists”—that is, non-IT staff who create their own technology solutions—now make up 41% of the workforce.
- Buying centers for tech projects and initiatives are moving toward the business side of operations—36% of enterprise IT spend is now funded by business units.
- The pandemic pushed businesses and workers online, and traditional office configurations are likely a thing of the past for many companies. Groups working together digitally are becoming more autonomous, and these teams are increasingly taking responsibility for their own IT.
Viewing IT democratization as an opportunity, not a threat
Within two years, workers who are not full-time technical professionals will likely be building 80% of IT products and services. Although this indicates an organizational power shift toward business units, analysts encourage IT leaders to view the new dynamic as an opportunity, not a threat.
By embracing the trend and supporting business users in taking on technology projects, IT teams free up much-needed time and resources to tackle their own queue of requests. And with new “citizen developers” at work in departments throughout an organization, innovation thrives.
Many current IT offerings are designed to help users become more autonomous and lighten the burden for technical staff. SaaS solutions with service-based models have eliminated the need for IT departments to spend time installing and configuring software. And usability improvements to standard applications allow employees to perform more tasks independently.
However, enabling non-technical professionals to actually develop and customize their own applications is one of the most significant ways for organizations to drive IT democratization forward.
Low-code tools are key in empowering business users
In a low-code development approach, users create applications and processes with tools that require little to no coding. Typically designed with intuitive interfaces and drag-and-drop functionality, low-code application platforms (LCAPs) allow users without any formal development experience to quickly develop solutions.
Like the IT democratization trend, low-code tools aren’t new. But the pandemic and resulting digital business acceleration have boosted demand for these offerings. In a challenging moment with limited resources, companies are empowering business users and staying competitive by employing LCAPs to:
- Develop applications that track assets, manage approval processes, and integrate records
- Provide sales order and product-related data to employees on assembly lines and in warehouse environments
- Create data integrations that merge sales leads within a single application interface
- Build systems for efficiently managing and processing employee expenses
- Automate the provisioning of demo environments for sales staff
To provide the low-code capabilities today’s businesses increasingly require, Jitterbit now offers App Builder, a seamless extension of the Jitterbit Harmony integration platform. Learn more about Jitterbit’s LCAP now.