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Digital transformation is not just about moving to the cloud and continuing on with business as usual. This technology revolution requires a radical re-think. Part of this mindset shift involves letting citizen developers—those with no formal development experience—find and create digital solutions to current business processes that are causing problems. These processes were traditionally the responsibility of IT departments, but they are moving to the line of business, where those who best understand the problem are. And why do they know the problem best? Because they are the ones dealing with it.

Automation Is Not Just an Option

For most organizations, digital transformation represents an enormous disruption. Organizations that successfully digitize will be driven by software based on

highly customized yet flexible business processes. Decentralized workflow creation makes it all possible.

The role of an organization’s processes must not be underestimated. Its unique way of working is what enables both internal and external relationships. These processes are, to a large extent, what defines organizational goals and how they’re executed. Competition has always factored into a company’s strategy, but it’s been accelerated by digital disruption.

That is to say, companies today are weakened by a lack of process automation. The impulse to specialize, centralize and standardize continues to influence decision-making, even as the digital tsunami crests. Business processes have traditionally been highly manual and heavily siloed. Instead of putting brainpower and resources toward innovation and execution, companies that don’t automate remain bogged down in an increasingly arcane world of paper, spreadsheets and legacy technology.

The Rise of the Citizen Developer

A shift is occurring within companies, moving from centralized development that focuses on distributed teams’ needs to a decentralized app creation model. This empowers the workforce with the tools to create, modify and manage processes as near as possible to where business issues occur. This agility is providing organizations an easier, faster way to advance their goals.

A recent report by 451 Research and FileMaker, Inc., Custom Apps: The Engine for Digital Transformation, found that companies are increasingly turning to custom app development to create greater business agility, work throughput and innovation. And citizen developers are leading the way. Nearly 60 percent of all custom apps are being created outside the IT department.

What’s more, employees who have either limited or no technical development skills

account for 30 percent of the apps being built outside IT. In small companies, 47 percent of business owners are leading app development strategy. 82 percent of all businesses report that citizen developers are going to become more important over the next two years.

Employee engagement increases where decentralized development flourishes because

those who have the most to gain are empowered to problem-solve. Citizen developers are spurred on by a greater sense of autonomy and a greater likelihood of influencing business process design and impact. Recognition of such contributions then becomes part of a new company culture.

As this new culture advances, business outcomes are more easily achieved. When business stakeholders gain greater responsiveness to changing market conditions through more direct and immediate changes in process design and resource allocation, business agility increases.

It’s just not feasible to rely on manual processes any longer. Automation is not just a “nice to have” in this world of rapid technological change. Companies that can’t or won’t find new ways to approach business challenges will end up eating the dust of their competition. As companies decentralize, traditional siloes between IT and business units are dissolving. Part of this dissolution involves empowering citizen developers to solve the business problems they are so familiar with. The low-code and no-code custom app platforms available today enable true, hands-on digital transformation that makes a difference to the bottom line.