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August 27, 2014

Top Global Enterprises Are Recruiting a New Breed of Citizen Developers for Application Innovation

When it comes to seeking out innovation for application development, large enterprises are recruiting a new breed of talent. A global study from IBM (News - Alert) shows that 80 percent of top enterprises are partnering with citizen developers, professionals who operate outside the larger realm of enterprise IT. And the result is that this influx of new ideas and skills is driving change across the booming spectrum of cloud, analytics, mobile and social technologies.

IBM researched the trend in its “Raising the Game: The IBM Business Tech Trends Report,” through its IBM Center for Applied Insights. But the increasing power shift that is giving developers a stronger position in the IT hierarchy is part of a greater technological shift. IDC (News - Alert) recently predicted that all future IT growth will eventually come from the “third platform,” the disruptive technology encompassing social media, mobility, cloud computing and big data. And developers are going to drive this movement, gaining power and shifting the focus away from a central IT organization and toward a setup of multiple, specialized application groups and business units led by development efforts.

IBM has certainly put a lot of stock in this development trend as the company has rapidly built out its IBM Cloud ecosystem of application and channel partners. By teaming up with companies like Esri, a developer of geographic information systems (GIS) software, the company has been able to offer a huge variety of cloud services. Esri uses the Github repository for open source code to share and develop its applications, and also solicits outside development through application challenges and “hackathons.”

Social relationship platform provider Hootsuite helps companies better integrate their public and company social networks to streamline collaboration and increase productivity. The company integrates with the IBM Connections social network platform to enable users to share knowledge across an organization, facilitating development and collaboration efforts.

IBM queried more than 1,400 IT and business decision makers from 15 industries throughout the world to come up with its findings. The survey results showed that 40 percent of organizations report skills gaps when it comes to cloud, analytics, mobile and social technologies, and that those gaps range from moderate to major. As a result, enterprises are turning to citizen developers to meet their needs and are also seeking out academic institutions when it comes to product development. And 70 percent of businesses queried reported they were more likely to engage with startups for development than established companies.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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