This new IT Trend might cause you a major headache
By Mike Garofalo, President of Aura IT
The biggest challenge for a modern IT department might surprise you. If you guessed security, you're not alone. While security used to be at the top of the list for IT headaches, we're trending toward a different type of problem: There simply isn't enough human capital to handle the continually growing workload of IT tasks. According to the 2017 State of the Cloud Survey side-by-side with security fears was the lack of employable expertise available.
In order to combat the lack of subject matter experts, many companies have offered software-as-a-service (SaaS,) or platform-as-a-service (PaaS) that taps into a modern market called citizen developers. A citizen developer is a user who creates or enhances business applications, akin to a corporate IT professional.
According to Gartner, "In the past, end-user application development has typically been limited to single-user or workgroup solutions built with tools like Microsoft Excel and Access. However, today, end users can build departmental, enterprise and even public applications using shared services, fourth-generation language (4GL)-style development platforms and cloud computing services."
More simply, companies are creating dashboards where "regular," or professional untrained employees, can directly interact and affect business components like IT development. The appeal for a business executive is they no longer need to outsource their IT department or hire a new employee, as roles and tasks can be rolled into their current workforce.
Unfortunately, the trend might not have a positive outcome. Employees and executives can quickly find themselves in trouble. Three primary issues highlight why development should be left to a professional IT team.
Don't compromise security for efficiency
Unfortunately, hackers may be more knowledgeable of system vulnerabilities than your current team. This is especially true when dealing with citizen developers, who may assume that their software is handling every attack appropriately. IT leaders have been surveyed and believe strongly that citizen developers pose risks for data integrity (73% of respondents) and security (69% of respondents.)
Being attentive to security may be time consuming and expensive, but the average cost of a DDoS attack is estimated to be $40,000 an hour. Placing the trust of your infrastructure into the hands of an inexperienced team is simply asking for catastrophe.
Important tasks call for expert staff
Business and IT leaders should ensure citizen developer roles aren't focused on critical tasks. After all, citizen doctors and citizen policemen aren't commonplace. Those matters are better suited for professionals, and similarly, the heavy lifting on app development, security infrastructure, and actionable business intelligence are best maintained by a qualified and certified candidate.
Having someone on your team who understands the intricacies of an IT department is a valuable asset, and keeping them in the loop on status and activity is important. This "citizen developer" is an exciting development, but limiting their role is a wise choice.
Delegating important or critical IT tasks to employees without proper expertise may lead to a poorly crafted architecture. That architecture is then handed off to other employees who begin to utilize the structure of whatever applicable business task, compounding the problems and affecting overall efficiency, potential future supportability and possible reporting needs.
You may not be saving more money after all
New SaaS companies are turning up everywhere. The worldwide cloud computing market grew 21% to $110 billion in 2015 according to Synergy Research Group. That total includes cloud infrastructure services, software services and hardware. This growth means that options are available - but where do you start? All of these options may overwhelm your executive team. What service do you choose? What if you chose incorrectly, and need to add-on or switch completely?
Implementing SaaS can be costly in both time and money. It's much better to have a software steward - an outsourced expert to guide your business decisions with precision and care
Now, more than ever, is it necessary to have expert staff
We're at an incredible time where anyone can have access to a wealth of data and opportunity.
The rise of citizen developers isn't a sign of tech's downfall, but a vital part of innovation and development. With that being said, there should be a strict adherence to role outlines and the expert involvement of a professional IT department is more valuable than ever.