Citizen developers’ Skills for RPA, Low and No-code
RPA, low and no code, are increasing their progressive diffusion and adoption in firms. This is good news considering the progressive benefits of automation, and RPA is considered the first step of Digital transformation. Gartner forecasts confirmed the relationship with the business, where it is expected that the awareness and demand will come from business users rather than the IT function. Gartner predicts that by 2024, almost 50% of new customers will come from business buyers. The diffusion of RPA solutions and, recently, of Low and no code for digital solutions is based on the growing shortage of developers, extended times for development and backlogs. These two root causes could have justified the citizen developers’ role combined with RPA, Low and No code solutions. To give a dimension of low code, a spreadsheet is a sort of no- or low-code platform, allowing to analyse and elaborate data without writing code
Skills for RPA, Low and no-code solutions
However, the issue related to the lack of skills required for the so-called “citizen developers” has been reported,
In fact, even if software development environments have been improved, high-level development skills are still truly relevant to allow the intervention of employees and process owners.
A lack of knowledge, IT/Digital literacy, skills for citizen developers and related experience emerge among the various challenges for implementing these solutions.
Regrouping skills in categories have been considered more relevant for citizen developers and follow the same principles valid for a business analyst, described by BCS-The Chartered Institute for IT.
Technical skills: Understanding and being aware of IT solutions available can facilitate process analysis and improvement for efficiency, productivity, employee stress reduction, and timely recovery for other significant tasks. General computer skills and domain expertise can be satisfactory for No-code solutions.
·Basic programming skills For RPA and Low code solutions, research and experts have agreed that they are must-have skills.
Research: gathering all the information required to proceed with the analysis and creating a supported proposal for managing as-is / to-be gap analysis and
Analytical skills: prepare and analyse data both at a quantitative and qualitative level.
Managing deadlines and deliverables: in reduced scale, once the findings are elaborated, minimum PM skills are required for the area where a business owner is involved.
People skills (teams management)
Critical thinking: digging into the issues or unexploited opportunities and proposing options to cover gaps. The fact that process owners have the knowledge and the experience of their processes does not mean they need to further analyse processes to find the best solutions: optimisation and efficiency in process and reduce distance with customer relationships respecting security and compliance using RPA, Low code and no code solutions.
Let’s consider that the company could adopt an approach based on Iterations and Minimum Viable Solutions (MVS) and the further scale-up process. It is safe to add flexibility and creativity skills. Creating and shaping a process while testing it safely are relevant as soft skills at the same level as the others listed above.
Change management citizen developers roles have the opportunity to receive the mandate to shape processes within their area and be accountable for the use of new technology. Therefore I would also add that those skills are to be included in CM. Citizen developers and primarily Middle management roles have the power to manage their teams under the aspects of motivation, expectations (WIIFM) and resistance. People, communication, negotiation, and motivation define a change agent role (bottom-up approach) in these development and implementation solutions.
Many vendors can offer programming and basic business analyst logic training to help employees learn. However, what emerges is that the company needs to consider other factors, such as organising reskills and upskills for employees.
The next chapter on citizen developers will analyse the does and don’ts of making employees adaptable to automation, digital transformation, and normalisation.
Never forget that upskilling or reskilling can facilitate retention while empowering companies to exploit new competitive advantages.