From 7-10 November 2022, Betty Blocks attended the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo™ in Barcelona, Spain. Throughout the event we spent four days addressing, discussing, and exploring the solutions to the most significant and pressing challenges facing CIOs and IT executives. One of the key challenges and trends we identified and discussed is the rise of the business technologist, and how IT Executives can build an innovation layer for business technologist empowerment.
Here is how we see the rise of the business technologist, and how we think organizations can create an empowerment foundation and culture.
The Betty Blocks and Fizor team at Gartner Barcelona
'Meet the moment. Make the difference'
The Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo™ is centered around guiding CIOs and IT Executives towards accelerating digital business, and developing the capabilities to ‘meet the moment and make the difference’.
The conference kicked off with the Garter Opening Keynote on ‘Make the Difference’. During the session, leading Gartner analysts Mary Mesaglio, Daniel Sanchez-Reina and Ed Gabrys shared how CIOs and IT Executives can take current challenges and risks, and turn them into opportunities.
For us this is crystalized in Mary Mesaglio - Managing VP at Garner - statement that “What employees need now are the tools and technologies that empower them to make an impact.” Later on the day, Daryl Plummer - Distinguished VP Analyst at Garner - highlighted that “Winning enterprises have learned that the real risk they face is doing too little too late”
Thus, one of the key things CIOs and IT Executives can do to ‘meet the moment and make the difference’ is empower their own organization with the right tools and technologies to innovate and make impacts - and to do this right now.
The rise of the Business Technologist
Events like the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo™ make it undeniable: IT leaders are under increasing pressure to support changing needs, meet client expectations, and stay ahead of competition. For this, organizations require tooling which optimize internal processes and elevate client services. These applications have to be fit for complex and rapidly changing business landscapes, and need to be delivered quickly.
What happens when business needs keep growing but these requests end up on ever-growing backlogs due to over-burdened IT departments? Employees start to build and implement tools under the radar of IT: Shadow IT.
CIOs and IT executives thus face the challenge of:
- Needing to adapt to continuous change
- Being increasingly responsible for business goals
- Keeping shadow IT under control
- Doing and achieving more with fewer resource
So how can CIOs and IT Executives turn these challenges into an opportunity - aka meet the moment and make the difference? By empowering their business technologists to independently and safely build the digital solutions to their and their clients’ problems.
This is done by democratizing software development: by leveraging a low-code / no-code (LCNC) platform, organizations empower business users to build solutions while using no- or low-code - this is what we call citizen development. LCNC platforms are IT sanctioned and governed tools which enable the IT department to maintain full control, and the business to become innovative and independent.
Andreas Steuer and Rubert Rietkerk presenting at Gartner Barcelona
By empowering the business technologists in their organization, IT leaders:
- Provide their IT department with full oversight and governance → pre-establishing user capabilities and limits, managing roles and responsibilities, assigning protocols for monitoring and support
- Relieve IT backlog and tasks → the business starts to solve their own problems, and there is no running after rogue It projects
- Elevate their existing tech stack → build an innovation layer around your organization’s existing infrastructure and integrate applications
- Establish alignment between IT and the business → allow business users and developer to co-create and collaborate on one platform
- Optimize internal processes and elevate client services → allowing the business to independently build the solution to their and their clients’ problems.
- Build limitless applications → no limits to adding functionality and more complex elements through the collaboration between pro-coders and business developers
- Constantly accelerate application development → launch as minimum viable products (MVPs) in days and applications in week
The Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo™ was about more than indicating future directions - but also defining strategies for success and demonstrating critical execution. What does empowering business technologists look like in practice?
How Mazars in Germany empowered their Business Technologists
On Thursday November 10th, Rubert Rietkerk - Vice President of Marketing at Betty Blocks - and Andreas Steuer - Digital Solutions and Transformation at Mazars in Germany - presented ‘How Mazars created a culture that empowers business technologists’.
In the presentation, Andreas and Rubert walked attendees through Mazars in Germany’s journey through implementing low-code / no-code (LCNC) citizen development to tackle their need for:
- Business autonomy - empower employees with the capabilities to independently solve their problems
- Accelerating digital delivery - bring solutions to market much faster
- Control and security - eliminate Shadow IT and govern the process of business users building solutions.
By empowering their business technologists to build solutions, Mazars in Germany ensures that the application development process is IT-sanctioned and led by the relevant subject matter experts. Thus those experiencing the problems are quickly building and implementing the right solutions.
Mazars recognized that empowering business technologists involves introducing a new technology (a LCNC platform) and implementing an innovation mindset into the organization. Thus, they took a strategic approach to create a foundation and culture for empowerment. This involved six key steps that Rubert and Andreas walked Gartner attendees through during the presentation. Business technologists were fully supported by a personalized program and learning path, a Center of Excellence, and a bespoke no-code environment. Meanwhile, they were inspired by internal workshops, an ideation campaign, and a no-code Hackathon.
Thus, within eight months, Mazars in Germany built up:
- A bespoke no-code environment and implementation program
- A group of 20+ citizen developers and nine business applications
- A scalable, self-sustaining foundation for rapid application development that occurs in three lanes:
- No-code path (given go ahead to continue independently)
- Collaborative path (no-coders and low-coders)
- Low-code path (more experienced developers)
The return on investment (ROI) of LCNC development is thus evident, not to mention the autonomy, speed, and control Mazars achieved.
Throughout their citizen development implementation journey, Mazars in Germany built up a knowledge of the best practices for implementing, launching, and scaling. These are Mazar’s top six tips for strategically implementing a successful and scalable citizen development program. Curious to know how to achieve each tip? Check them out in detail here:
Evidently the age of the business technologists is here, and CIOs and IT Executives play a crucial role in guiding, empowering, and leveraging the talent in their own business. Mazars in Germany demonstrates how IT Executives can build a foundation and culture for empowerment, harnessing the power of their business developers.
A huge thank you to Gartner for creating and organizing this event, to the team at Mazars in Germany for joining us, and a shout out to our Betty Blocks representatives.
Are you curious to know more about Mazars' citizen development implementation and success journey? Check it out here: