If there’s any most prominent trend in these last few months is that most companies are simply looking for savings. Cutting costs has jumped to the front of the priority line, forcing companies to rethink and even reorganize their structures and the way they work.
Since new technologies help companies enhance their productivity, increase transparency and better manage their everyday work, many enterprises decided to put their bets on new solutions to take their processes under the microscope and then optimize and automate them. But is new technology sufficient to help the organization cope with the recession? What are the other trends, ideas, and strategies that may come in handy? Here’s what to keep an eye on in 2023 – and beyond.
Accelerate digital & manage spend
According to Gartner, optimal digital investments will be key to success this year as organizations should focus, among others, on increasing the productivity of people and assets.
Amongst 9 actions to drive profits, growth, and resilience in 2023, Gartner lists:
- challenging workflows and processes to make them faster, simpler, and more agile,
- investing in AI and autonomous digital projects that make organizations faster and leaner,
- narrowing the metrics you use to measure and manage digital initiatives to focus on key business outcomes.
The level of demand for digitization and new applications is still high, as the benefits of going digital are unquestionable. It’s the approach that is the key to success, though. Gartner research shows that 89% of boards agree digital is crucial for the success of their growth strategy, but 81% report they have not made progress toward or achieved their digital business transformation goal yet.
That may be because many companies which chose modern low-code tools for their digital transformation purposes have approached each application like a bespoke tailor, whereas it’s an application factory approach that can enable them to reap the most benefits of these platforms. This approach promotes reuse, governs customization, and relies on platform facilities rather than holding them at arm’s length. That’s how organizations can meet today’s demand for business applications.
Was citizen development the answer?
The last few years taught us all that, with the right tool in hand, organizations can enhance virtually any business process. That’s where the drastically increased number of requests for new apps comes from: everyone wants to boost their productivity. Unfortunately, the resources to produce new applications are not sufficient. That’s when citizen development was touted as the answer.
But was it? As a global recession is hanging over us, having employees divert their time from their regular tasks to building their business applications comes with risk. Non-IT employees may have a more accurate understanding of the purpose of the apps that are about to be delivered, but they don’t often think like developers when creating the solutions. That’s because they don’t have specific training in things like UI principles, data modeling, process modeling, system integrations, data security, and all other elements that sum up to create a reliable, and stable IT infrastructure.
Is automation the answer?
Automation is an undisputedly hot topic. Interest in and usage of automation tools have become one of the main interests of many companies. And it’s a perfect illustration of why citizen development pales in value to citizen cooperation with technical professions. Companies that went big on letting user hobbyists bypass their IT departments found that a large share of automation efforts prioritized the tasks those users found annoying, whether or not such efforts held strategic value. In some cases, it even yielded well-automated activities that nevertheless add up to a bad process.
Well, then what is the answer?
Balance. Well, balance and thoughtfulness. More specifically, what is emerging, and indeed seems to work, is a "unite and conquer" approach. It pairs citizen designers (who understand the business problem/need) with professional developers (who know how to build effective applications), pooling their strengths and sharing responsibilities. Past citizen development efforts haven’t necessarily produced amateurs with professional technical skills, but they have taught non-technical people how to make better, more precise, more actionable requests of professional developers.
The process is further enhanced when collaboration-focused design tools can be brought to bear, as well as when professional-grade low-code tools and platforms can be placed in the hands of those technical professionals to increase their speed of delivery.
So new challenges have arisen – analysts, businesspeople, and IT professionals will have time in 2023 to apply business process management discipline to organize their activities toward the best possible results.