How do CIOs Overcome Their 3 Biggest Challenges to Give Their Organizations a Strategic Advantage?

TrackVia recently held a citizen development webinar that talked about the top three challenges CIOs have in 2022. CIOs are facing a change in their roles and becoming the technology innovators that create business value, but they are relying on their previous skill sets, and let’s be honest, it isn’t working well. Many CIOs are touting the same challenges over and over, but failing to find the answers and thinking that the search is futile. 

Talent gaps, project backlogs, and shadow IT are making the management of IT difficult. The CIOs are feeling the pressure to solve these issues while also battling changing regulations, budget shortages, and ongoing security needs. How does a technical-minded leader leverage the technology to create business value?

As businesses move full-throttle into modernization, CIOs must also be aware of the rift developing between operations and their IT department because of the lack of response for needed innovation and workflow. In a 2019 survey of over 200 operations executives, leaders reported significant challenges in working with IT. To learn more about these challenges, read the survey: IT Losing Confidence of the Business; Operations Leaders Weigh in on Impacts of Under-Resourced IT. These challenges still exist and in many ways have gotten worse due to establishing remote working environments and challenges within markets.  

Is there a software developer shortage?

The fact is, there is high competition for talented developers and low numbers of available developers as a whole. With the constant change in code that drives companies to update their software, the demand for qualified developers is high. The rate of unfilled IT jobs increased to 918,000 vacancies at the end of 2021. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated the software engineer shortage in the USA will increase to almost 1.2 million by 2026.

Even more difficult for smaller companies is keeping the developer talent they have. According to Revelo, uncompetitive salary is one of the top reasons that engineers and developers leave their current companies, and remote work is now an expectation rather than a perk. Smaller organizations competing with large enterprise or venture-capital-backed businesses will often lose their top talent. 

Will my IT team ever get to those business improvement projects?

Chances are – no. Project backlog has long been a headache for most CIOs, especially those with small development teams or low budgets. It goes hand in hand with the developer shortage. If you can’t hire new talent it’s impossible to address all the software and application needs you have within your organization. Most of the time your IT department is probably just working to keep the key applications and software requirements working, anything additional gets put on the long list of requests that never get addressed. Although keeping the lights on is important, your business will not improve if you can’t find solutions that your business teams need to make work more efficient.

This leads to Shadow IT, an issue that most all CIOs have dealt with. 

What is Shadow IT?

The business people are finding and implementing software solutions themselves. In effect, bypassing approval processes from IT and loading their computers with unsupported software.  In doing so they are likely causing security issues and definitely causing further IT problems if the software isn’t working and they look to IT for help. 

These department-level software or application solutions may be getting the job done, but what is the potential cost? 

If the software doesn’t integrate with other platforms, business people could be entering secure information into the new application causing security breach risks. If the software isn’t known by the IT department it may affect support services and furthermore might disrupt business operations. If the application isn’t part of the sanctioned suite of business applications it can’t be monitored for needed updates and may cause further expenses as other departments need access to information or want to use the software. 

So, how do IT departments keep up with software demands with limited people and resources?

The savvy CIO is learning that low-code app development platforms are emerging as their secret weapon to accelerating software delivery, even speeding up the development process as much as 10 times faster than traditional methods.

In fact, low-code platforms may not be such a secret any longer. The tech research firm Technavio states the global custom application development service market size is expected to increase by USD 31.76 billion between 2020 and 2025. This means, if our calculations are right by estimating from the stats in 2018, we’re hitting around a 70 billion dollar industry by next year alone. That’s a lot of custom application development. 

However, professional developers aren’t creating these applications. The business people working in the departments that need solutions are creating and maintaining them. Businesses flourish when low-code is used as a key strategy for digital transformation. And IT teams and business people win by working together to create a citizen development strategy that ensures their low-code platform will be well utilized and supported. 

By creating a low-code-based business strategy with citizen development, CIOs can leverage their organization’s department leads and project managers to create the applications they need. No more need to hire new developers, your business people can help fill in the gap! 

What is low-code?

As the name implies, low-code solutions aim to minimize — or in some cases eliminate — the need for manually coding software. Low-code app development platforms serve two vital purposes. 

1) Software developers can build apps faster and easier with low-code tools. 

2) Developing and upkeep of apps can be shifted away from developers to IT teams or citizen developers (front-line employees that are non-traditional developers and likely don’t know coding).

Low-code business platforms build applications on the drag and drop experience that has become a common feature of many software platforms. For TrackVia, it means building apps that extend operational and back-office app creation and management responsibilities across the entire organization. In doing so, low-code business platforms essentially empower employees from various departments to solve their own problems, allowing them to take their ideas for improving work and turn them into an app to transform processes dramatically.

How does low-code drive digital transformation?

Low-code solutions have come a long way in a short time. Once only considered for small, departmental-level type projects, the modern generation of low-code platforms provide enterprise scalability, built-in security, sophisticated reporting features, modern integration capabilities via drag-and-drop interfaces, and intelligent and easily configurable workflows all in one solution. 

With low-code, coding is an option, but by no means a requirement. Low-code apps combine web and mobile capabilities together, which means users don’t have to build or maintain two separate solutions. Low-code app development platforms solve many of the challenges keeping CIOs up at night, like the ability to adapt to evolving regulations, affordability, and powerful security. 

The best part of low-code is that it makes creating applications fast and easy to deploy. Apps that used to take months or even years to build from scratch can be configured, tested, adjusted, connected, and launched in as little as a few days to a few weeks. 

As a result, low-code platforms are becoming the go-to resource for CIOs with digital transformation mandates to streamline and automate dozens – if not hundreds – of internal and operational processes.

 How are savvy CIOs using low-code platforms?

While CIOs maintain their role as tech leaders, they must also play the role of strategic thinkers by taking on key business challenges much like their COO and CFO counterparts. Developing and leading the charge of digital transformation starts with creative problem-solving and a clear, sustainable advantage over the competition. For many CIOs, low-code solutions will play a key part in helping them do that.

CIOs are now looking to citizen development programs where app developers can continue to focus on the largest, most complicated software needs of the entire organization. IT and businesspeople can digitize and streamline key internal workflows that cross departments or divisions.

This has already started within many organizations as they look to consolidate technology onto one app-building system. They look to create an internal system of trained developers and skilled administrators that can manage multiple departments’ needs with one platform and maintain and update as needed with minimal disruption. 

If you’re interested in taking a look at a low-code platform to see how it might help your business- check out a 30-day free trial of TrackVia. Or schedule a demo and we’ll work through a solution for a specific back office or workflow problem you’re looking to solve