There’s just no slowing down the consumerization of IT. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend itself has created an enterprise market that will hit $266 billion in 2016, according to a recent report by Markets and Markets. Goldman Sachs released a study earlier this year that found the global software-as-a-service market will reach $106 billion in 2016. And a good portion of those software services are being bought outside of the traditional IT department.
But the consumerization of IT isn’t stopping with BYOD and cloud services. It’s now extending to application development, more specifically, it’s extending to so-called citizen developers – who are any user (and especially not traditional developers) that are building new applications for use in their organization. They are generally using high-level, newer generation language platforms and cloud services to create their apps. And we’re not talking about creating apps for individuals or a small group of workstations in Excel or Microsoft Access. No, users have been creating for those years. We are talking about full-blown enterprise apps.
All of this is part of the broad Shadow IT trend, which we have written about extensively. Have a look at our post The Growth in Data Center Uses for Shadow IT for a good overview. The research firm Gartner expects, by the end of this year, that roughly 35 percent of IT expenditures will be managed outside traditional IT, within this shadow IT “channel.”
What does this mean for CIOs and IT leaders? The emergence of the citizen developer has both positive and negative aspects to it, but in the long run there is likely more value to be found effectively managing and encouraging these citizen developers, than there is in fighting them. For instance, the citizen developer is a front line asset when it comes to clearing enterprise application backlogs.
We’ve covered it many times how much of a challenge enterprises have today when it comes to meeting the demand for applications, especially mobile apps. As covered in Clearing through the app backlog clutter, 85% of enterprises have an app backlog, with about half of those that do find themselves lagging behind 10 to 20 apps.
When workers, business managers and executives find themselves unable to do their job as effectively as they need or would like and that IT can’t deliver the apps they request, then these citizen developers are more likely to try to build the apps they need on their own. And the numbers of these citizen developers are increasing.
Interesting, 75% of respondents in IT said that they develop more than three-fourths of the app and leave the “last mile” to the citizen developer. And, not surprisingly it is the apps they built to get work done (65%), 42% built apps to run the business, while 27% said they build apps targeting customers.
These citizen developers can go a long way to help clear the application backlog. Per the report, (29%) have seen a 2X or more increase in application development speeds. Over three-quarters or (76%) of respondents cited operational efficiencies as the primary reason for using the platform. And a whopping (62%) of Citizen Developers responded that it takes less than 2 weeks for them to complete an application, on average,” Intuit QuickBase’s John Carlone wrote in this blog.
However, all isn’t rosy. IT needs to always ensure that all apps are created and used to policy, that regulated data isn’t being used out of an allowable scope for example, and that appropriate security controls – such as access to that data – be enforced.
So it’s important that IT is always on the lookout for these apps, catalogue and manage them, and when they are not up to policy, enterprise developers and other teams can then work to get them there.