Citizen Development – The Code Zero Way | Tech Mahindra

Citizen Development – The Code Zero Way

Man’s dream to fly came true in 1903. Air travel was seen more of a luxury in the years that followed. More than a century later came the democratization of air travel. Air Asia came up with the slogan ‘Now everyone can fly’ which aptly summarized the whole idea.

The new generation of low code and no code platforms (LCNC) have done just that to software development. Now ‘Everyone can code’ thanks to easy to use, visual drag and drop tools.  In fact, the whole process has become much simpler, faster and more interactive. Therefore, one does not need to be a full-fledged developer to code or to launch applications. Business users can find faster solutions to business problems leading to the birth of the new breed of ‘Citizen Developers’. LCNC is a fast, cost-effective and customer-centric way to make ideas into reality. They can play a central role in the digital transformation of an enterprise. Another key advantage is better collaboration between Business and IT.

The flashback…

A few years back, we were exploring options to digitalize some complex workflows. The off-the-shelf solutions did not completely fit the need. Plus, they were far too expensive and complex to integrate. We were already delivering low code applications for our customers and wondered why not take that route. Thus, started an exciting journey of three months where the complete set of workflows were digitalized. A hyper-agile team of three Citizen Developers which included the Product Owner and the Architect rapidly delivered the business needs. WEM no code platform[1] was used; and the result was a tool that could be easily marketed as a COTS product.

No looking back…

With the success of the Citizen Development (CD), we wanted to encourage teams to start doing more with LCNC. This spawned our Centre of Excellence (CoE) – CodeZero – a central body that unifies all our activities in the LCNC area. We understood that a citizen development strategy at scale requires unique structures, tools, processes and practices embedded in the organization. We wanted to bring various research initiatives, pilots and customer projects done across the organization under the CodeZero umbrella. With customers, we looked for opportunities for democratization of IT and the enterprise adoption of CD. We worked with them to foster innovation through process flow simplification, automation and legacy migration using the power of CD. Facilitating coaching and hyper agile delivery was a key to leveraging Code Zero options for digital transformation.

A solid foundation…

Tech Mahindra has been a pioneer in the adoption of the PMI Citizen Development Framework. This Citizen Developer Handbook has been the inspiration for many of the CodeZero assets including governance and security. We drive empowerment of citizen developers and rationalization of Shadow IT while setting up the requisite guardrails. Code Zero’s Asset pillar serves as the single source of frameworks, assets and accelerators in the LCNC space.

Fostering partnerships…

The market is exploding with all kinds of LCNC platforms. Some are limited to simple tasks, while a handful allow the creation of highly integrated, mission critical enterprise applications. CodeZero does the homework, alliances and the actual process of onboarding those platforms. We have 25+ strategic partners and we have leveraged these partnerships in building applications to solve customer and internal problems. An in-depth knowledge of these platforms comes handy when choosing the right solution for a problem. CodeZero’s Partnership pillar is instrumental in building these alliances.

Skill is strength…

Naturally, having a pool of trained and skilled resources is critical for CodeZero. The pool can be leveraged for pilots and projects. We call this the Skill pillar and we already have a pool of 2000+ trained resources across LCNC platforms including 300 PMI certified Citizen Developers. The target is to scale our PMI certified Citizen Developer pool to 2000 soon. Our consultants drive digital transformations for our customers, and we recommend setting up similar CoEs.

Never re-invent the wheel

CodeZero has an Experience pillar which ensures cross pollination of best practices across projects and initiatives. This is the home to the case studies, pilots and solutions across the organization. We drive this through our New Age Delivery (NAD) platform. We have a customer base of 100+ customers where we have delivered hands-on applications using CodeZero expertise. The customer base is fast growing.

The future belongs to CodeZero

Everyone agrees that digital is here to stay. How about the Citizen Developer? According to Gartner, “By 2023, the number of active citizen developers at large enterprises will be at least four times the number of professional developers.”[2]. When cost, time and business acumen are on the line, it is only beneficial for organizations to empower their business teams to drive innovation. COVID-19 has further opened our eyes to the need for agility to survive. That the LCNC tools provide in large measure.  So, the good news is that the Citizen Developer clan is only going to gain strength in the coming years.  Wait; there is even better news. IT continues to govern and far from making traditional IT obsolete, this trend will only strengthen the Busines to IT alignment. And, best of all CodeZero will be the game changer because ‘Now everyone can build’

About the Author
Muktha Kartik
Principal Consultant, Tech Mahindra