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Nice report on the value of end-user developers


Syndicated from ebizQ

Mike Gualtieri of Forrester Research recently wrote a nice piece called Deputize End-User Developers To Deliver Business Agility And Reduce Costs. The report is available from Forrester (for subscribers and for those who purchase it) but the summary is on their website:

The ranks of businesspeople who are capable of developing applications are swelling due to a combination of the technology-savvy Millennial generation entering the workforce, the proliferation of easy-to-use development tools, and burgeoning demand for applications. These businesspeople don’t want developers’ jobs; they just want to get things done. Their enthusiasm, however, may lead to poorly designed, insecure, and unscalable applications that application development professionals inherit. Instead of trying to shut down end-user development, application development professionals should help users succeed so that everyone wins — most importantly, the business. The application development professional’s call to action is to embrace end-user developers to amplify — not squash — their contribution to the business by bringing some semblance of order to unfettered end-user development and by collaborating with end-user developers on strategic projects (my emphasis)

This is a really nice report, as Mike’s generally are, and addresses what I think is going to be a key trend – more end-user (business user) involvement in development. As I noted in the summary, this is not because these folks want the developers’ jobs – they don’t – nor because they want to do application development maintenance but because they see systems as part of how they do their jobs quite naturally.It naturally follows that the right technologies are not so much those that apply end-users to become developers but those that allow them to collaborate and participate in development.

My additional observation would be that it is decision-making where the value of this collaboration is greatest. Decision-making requires agility (because the right decision changes all the time) and business know-how (about regulations, policies, best practices, tribal knowledge). Engaging the business in managing decisions, and in managing the business rules behind those decisions, is therefore critical and this is where a business rules management system or BRMS is critical. While I don’t think a BRMS will suddenly allow end-users to automate decisions on their own without IT help, I do believe it can allow true business user rule maintenance and so bring end-user (rule) developers into the process for increased leverage and value.


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  • Doug Golden June 20, 2009, 8:29 pm

    This does indeed look like an intersting article. Looking forward to getting my hands on it. Thanks for pointing it out.

    This is a trend that I am seeing too. In fact, this is consistent with what Smith and Fingar pushed in their book “IT doesn’t matter, business process do.” (although it has been a while since I read it.). This is the future, but it sure will be intersting to see how IT departments and upper management react to the trend.