Published on May 28, 2024, 7:17 am

CIO Dive’s latest insights highlight the evolving landscape where every employee has the potential to be a technologist with the right tools at their disposal. Beyond traditional IT specialists, businesses are witnessing the emergence of citizen developers – non-tech staff leading technology projects with autonomy.

With the rise in low-code and no-code platforms, approximately 4 in 10 employees are now classified as business technologists by Gartner. These individuals operate outside of formal IT departments but contribute to technology solutions within organizations. While empowering employees to innovate, such initiatives also pose challenges related to shadow IT.

Successful citizen developer programs emphasize clear governance structures and oversight to ensure that projects align with organizational goals and safety standards. Companies like Estes Express Lines and Northern Trust Bank have leveraged automation platforms and tools such as Microsoft Power Platform to streamline workflows and increase efficiency.

The integration of generative AI capabilities is reshaping citizen development, making it more accessible to a wider pool of employees. Tools like those offered by ServiceNow allow citizen developers to leverage AI-driven systems for rapid application development through simple English queries, redefining the skill sets required in the workforce.

As companies embrace generative AI for citizen development, recruitment strategies may shift towards seeking individuals who excel in critical thinking rather than specific technical skills. The focus is on unlocking creativity and problem-solving abilities through innovative technologies like generative AI.

Amidst this digital transformation journey, CIOs play a crucial role in harnessing diverse tools available while navigating the complexities of generative AI adoption. Organizations such as Procter & Gamble, General Mills, L’Oréal, Kraft Heinz, and Unilever are actively evaluating data processes, implementing tools, and upskilling their workforce to adapt to this paradigm shift in technology.

The key lies in striking a balance between leveraging cutting-edge technologies like generative AI and maximizing existing resources efficiently. As highlighted at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium by Mathematica CIO Akira Bell, it’s essential for CIOs not to overlook existing technological solutions while exploring new frontiers enabled by generative AI.

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