IT Democratization

What is IT Democratization?

Imagine everyone could play a part in developing an app or building software.

Or what if every technology was made simple enough that beginners could feel like experts in no time?

This concept is still fairly new, having been listed as a tech trend by Gartner in 2019. “Democratization of technology means providing people with easy access to technical or business expertise without extensive (and costly) training.”

Democratization of technology is about getting people involved in the creation of new technology and opening access to people who don’t have all the advanced skills and/or training. It’s often called “citizen access,” as it gives everyone the means to achieve technical or business expertise. 

There are 4 main areas of focus:

  1. Application Development
  2. Data and Analytics
  3. Design
  4. Knowledge 

Democratizing IT has led to citizen data scientists, citizen programmers, and more. It means developers can generate data models without having the skills of a data scientist. This is possible because of AI-driven development that generates code and automates testing.

The Importance of IT Democratization

Democratizing technology allows for a variety of positive impacts. It has the power to open a whole range of new possibilities and opportunities for employees and customers alike.

The democratization of IT means:

  • Faster development cycles
  • Multiplied opportunities for innovation
  • Access to an endless pool of programmers
  • More citizen participation
  • Business and entrepreneurship growth 
  • A culture of sharing

With more accessibility, individuals and businesses can take advantage of tools to improve efficiency and boost revenue.

As it turns out, hierarchy is not necessarily conducive to progress. This idea that there should be a group of “experts” who hold all the information and keep the knowledge to themselves fades with the democratization of technology. The latter leads to greater progress and a culture of sharing, which brings with it more creativity, ideas, and even greater innovation. 

Sharing the knowledge and enabling higher levels of collaboration between colleagues is effective in enhancing performance, resilience, and agility. When all departments can weigh in on tech decisions and developments, new perspectives are shared, transparency flourishes,  and products can be more unique than if just one team were involved. 

A survey by McKinsey of executives and managers from around the globe revealed that 87% of respondents currently have, or expect to have, skills gaps in the next few years. The top two areas of greatest need include Data Analytics, and IT mobile, and/or Web Design and Management. IT democratization provides a possible solution to this, as citizen developers can help to fill these gaps.

IT Democratization: ROI

Investing in democratizing IT in your business can be very fruitful. Low-code and no-code software development platforms let users develop without programming knowledge, using drag-and-drop modules and graphical user interfaces. This means that app development is no longer only the domain of highly-trained experts.

This can accelerate the production of apps and services, as well as their delivery. You don’t need a big IT department with skilled coders and their large salaries. And in fact, these platforms could result in software development that is 10 times faster than traditional methods.

There’s also the benefit of reduced software and/or employee fatigue and frustration. Making certain components easier means it’s more accessible. When skilled employees aren’t bogged down in the same repetitive tasks, they’re not as likely to become exhausted or demotivated. 

Since the workload can be shared more, highly-trained staff can be left to undertake the more challenging tasks while other departments can freely collaborate on projects, bringing a mix of skills and perspectives to the product or service.

What Does IT Democratization Look Like?

IT democratization involves more affordable, user-friendly solutions, as well as more diverse teams collaborating on tech projects and products. The likely result is better innovation—in particular, products that are more inclusive, creative, and accessible.

With the tech democracy growing, nearly anyone will be able to take a more hands-on approach to their engagement with software. 

Businesses will be better able to develop and optimize their digital presence without the added cost of hiring a specially-trained programmer or developer. As IT becomes democratized, companies that previously lacked the ability and finances to digitalize will have the opportunity. 

Not only can employees have a say in their products and services and how they’re delivered, but so can consumers.

Low-Code Platforms

Managers can use no-code platforms to extract value from systems in their respective departments without the need for knowledge in programming. They can create, implement, and see dashboards that provide insights, all without having specific coding skills.

Low or No-Code platforms, like WalkMe’s Digital Adoption Platform, allow managers and other employees to undertake or be involved in tasks for which they didn’t previously have the skills or knowledge. These platforms can automate business processes, expedite time-to-competency, and much more. 

Such a platform makes it possible for managers to quickly implement new, improved processes across the digital workspace immediately. Employees at any level could deploy new workflows, design software walkthroughs, and automate processes—regardless of their coding abilities.

Political Impact

Democratizing tech plays a major role in encouraging increased government transparency and citizen advocacy as well. As various technologies become more widely available and usable, global connectivity reaches deeper into the corners of the world. This could allow for the spread of democracy—to developing countries—as well as enhance democracy within developed countries.

Greater access to technology can lead to more communication and transparency, and higher levels of participation in government, from elections to input on policies, by all citizens.

Updated: December 26, 2022

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