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This article is more than 1 month old.

Has the time come for citizen development in banking sector?

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In a low-code platform, apps can be developed with minimal coding. In a no-code platform, however, no coding is required to develop apps. Developing apps using such approaches is called citizen development, where even non-IT professionals can easily create business apps. It becomes easier since the requisite building blocks are in place.

Has the time come for citizen development in banking sector?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a force to reckon with for the whole world, and every sector has had to accelerate its digital transformation journey to stay relevant in the new normal.
However, this trend has presented an unforeseen hurdle—limited availability of skilled IT talent to develop, run and navigate through new technologies. The banking and finance sector has faced this shortage more than others. Especially since it extensively leverages technology across its various business operations. This potential IT talent shortage has ushered in a need for the use of low-code and no-code platforms in the BFSI sector.
In a low-code platform, apps can be developed with minimal coding. In a no-code platform, however, no coding is required to develop apps. Developing apps using such approaches is called citizen development, where even non-IT professionals can easily create business apps. It becomes easier since the requisite building blocks are in place.
As a result, these citizen developers can play a key role in expediting a BFSI organisation’s digital transformation strategy.
Citizen development helps organisations minimise training and deployment time, and also reduces the need for additional technical staff. It can also help the organisation reduce costs and further improve business outcomes.
For BFSI organisations, by using the low-code and no-code approach, apps can be developed for different functions such as customer onboarding, lending solutions, enhancing customer experience, and so on.
While there are apparent benefits for organisations that take the low-code and no-code approach, the rush to implement it can lead to the introduction of unsafe and unscalable ways which can potentially lead to risky “shadow IT” projects. As a result, defining policies, adoption frameworks, best practices, and governance standards for using low-code and no-code platforms is critical before fostering a culture of citizen development in the organisation.
Equally importantly, this approach has the potential to save valuable time and cost, which would normally be spent waiting in the IT department “queue”, while creating innovation “close to the customer”.
There are a few steps BFSI organisations can take to ensure seamless adoption of citizen development.
Firstly, they can look at getting more and more of their employees trained in citizen development. This can not only enable them to deliver innovative solutions quickly but empower them to drive initiatives.
Secondly, it is imperative to enable employees to develop cutting-edge solutions within an IT governance framework.
Lastly, BFSI enterprises can encourage citizen developers in the organisation to leverage their knowledge to add value to existing projects. While organisations can take these steps to encourage the adoption of citizen development in the workplace, employees can enrol for skill development courses that can equip them with an understanding of the best industry standards, practices, and methodologies in citizen development.
The IT Teams at BSFI organisations can also play a key role in fostering an appropriate citizen development environment, considering it still requires some level of IT functional guidance to ensure the growth, management, integration, and control of the apps designed by the citizen developers.
Citizen Development has the potential to democratise technology in BFSI. Low-code and no-code platforms have progressed from just making technology more accessible to allowing a huge number of people to practically develop apps that can solve any business challenge, no matter how niche.
—Dr Srini Srinivasan is the Regional Managing Director of Project Management Institute (South Asia). Views expressed are personal.
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