By Ken Jaroenchisakon
As companies push forward with digital transformation projects, IT departments are increasingly getting help from citizen integrators. Who are these new types of integrators? They’re tech-savvy business users who build or configure software solutions — such as integrations connecting data sources and applications — themselves, often with guidance from IT staff.
Unlike professional developers, citizen integrators don’t have advanced levels of training or expertise for using traditional programming tools and techniques. And that’s okay, because they can use low-code and no-code development tools that eliminate the need for complex, manual programming and advanced technical knowledge.
Low-Code and No-Code Development Tools Explained
Low-code development tools minimize the amount of hand-coding and configuration work required to create a new piece of software, such as software integrating two business applications.
No-code programming tools go even further, eliminating the requirement to ever interact with programming languages or scripts altogether. Unlike low-code development tools, however, no-code tools may not be able to handle complex use cases, limiting developers’ ability to design and customize components that precisely meet an organization’s requirements.
And these tools are helpful not only to citizen integrators. They’re time-savers for overworked IT staff, as well.
Together, low-code and no-code development tools and the rising population of citizen integrators are helping organizations address critical shortages in budgets and staffing.
Why Citizen Integrators and Low-Code Development Are Needed More Than Ever
The rising popularity of citizen integrators and low-code development is especially good news for companies today primarily for three reasons.
First, most IT organizations remain buried in work.
About 40% of IT organizations’ time and budget are still spent on technical debt; that is, maintaining and fixing older software that was created or deployed to meet short-term needs. Because so much of IT’s time is going to maintenance projects, there’s not enough time available for all the new digital transformation projects companies would like to take on.
Second, there’s a software developer shortage in the U.S., and it’s expected to only get worse.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 163,000 openings in the U.S. right now for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and software testers. Demand for programming jobs is expected to grow 25% from 2021 to 2031. Companies might want to hire more software developers in the coming years, but at every level of expertise, they’re likely to find a shortage of candidates.
Third, as business users, citizen integrators have a first-hand understanding of the situations and requirements being addressed by the software they’re creating.
People in finance departments know which processes need fixing and how they should be fixed. People in HR departments know how they would like employees onboarded. People in marketing departments know how they would like to pass leads from one system to another.
The list goes on. Every department has its expertise. With low-code and no-code development tools, employees can apply that expertise directly and build products, services, and workflows that do the jobs that need to be done.
No wonder, then, that Gartner predicts that by 2024, 80% of products and services will be built by non-IT employees. They also predict that 65% of all development will be done using low-code development tools.
Low-Code, No-Code, and AI
How does the growing popularity of low-code and no-code integration overlap with AI?
Most companies consider AI to be strategically important. Yet 40% of companies worry about the cost of AI technologies and AI expertise. With almost half of IT budgets going to technical debt, finding the budget for new, sophisticated technologies like AI can be difficult.
Is there a way to put AI into the hands of citizen integrators, even while there’s a shortage of AI expertise in most companies? In other words, is there a way to democratize the use of AI and the development of AI-powered integration?
At Boomi, we believe there is. We built our suite of AI capabilities to use natural language interfaces, so that citizen integrators can harness the power of generative AI with simple, everyday language.
We’re creating a new generative AI-powered integration interface and building AI into our low-code development tools — tools that have already been shown to reduce development times by 65%. Now, with generative AI accessible by everyone — both citizen integrators and seasons integrators — teams can accomplish more than ever before, all under the guidance of IT leaders and without having to invest in added headcount.
The bottom line: Boomi’s low-code platform, now powered by generative AI, further enables citizen integrators to build integrations and automations they need — while still having access to IT guidance — to achieve meaningful, real-world results.
Learn more about Boomi AI and take our AI-readiness assessment to prepare your organization for the future at boomi.ai!