The majority of organizations do not have a good handle on their information management. Low-code and no-code software could help, but only with properly trained citizen developers and attention to intelligent information management.
According to those in charge of it, information management is in a bad state in today's organizations. The majority of business and IT professionals in a recent survey give their organizations poor scores at managing information and supporting business strategy.
The Association of Intelligent Information Management (AIIM) State of the Intelligent Information Management Industry 2021 report found big problems with information management, and signs that things are about to get worse. In the report, AIIM surveys its members around the world on the current status of their information management in their organizations.
Information Chaos: A Losing Battle?
This eye-opening report discusses the rising tide of information chaos, which has become a yearly expectation. However, this year's report highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which revealed that companies were not prepared for a sudden move to remote work.
Over 60% of respondents felt unprepared to varying levels when the pandemic struck and felt the situation exposed weaknesses in their information management.
Technology and Business Strategies are Misaligned
The information deluge continues to overwhelm organizations. Over 75% of respondents felt their organizations were doing average to below-average work when it comes to successfully dealing with the information chaos.
The report also offers a serious wake-up call for companies to better align business projects and goals with information management. When asked how their organizations were at aligning business and technology strategies, the majority of AIIM survey respondents gave their organizations an average grade of C-minus.
The report found that a tsunami of incoming unstructured information will make things even more challenging.
The Challenges Companies Must Overcome
Jed Cawthorne, in the article, Can Citizen Developers Fix Information Management? sums up the AIIM report findings this way:
- “The C-Suite is unable to fully align business and technology strategies.
- “Organizations are drowning in the volume of information being generated.
- “Organizations need to increase investment in critical information management competencies.
- “Technology is not the problem. Strategic focus, finding the budget, and dealing with culture change are major issues.”
Solving the Problem with Citizen Developers
But there’s good news. Cawthorne and other experts believe that citizen developers and non-developers, armed with low code or no-code software, will be able to solve these problems and allow businesses to take full advantage of data collection and analysis.
Cawthorne says that no-code app builders and low-code development software will empower the people who need the information most. They’re the closest to the business process and the operational needs of the business. These domain experts know best how their organization or department works. They stand to reap the most benefits from digital transformation.
Digital Transformation, Low-Code and Intelligent Information Management
An estimated $1.3 trillion was spent last year on digital transformation projects, says the Harvard Business Review. But most of that money is being wasted — a Forbes article notes that 70% of that money, a full $900 billion, goes towards projects that don’t reach their goals. And CNBC reported that companies including GE, Ford and Procter & Gamble have launched digital transformation projects that ultimately failed.
Why did these projects fail? According to CNBC, it was not because of complex technical issues or poor leadership, Instead, the issue was poor communications with employees: “...It's the organization's failure to communicate effectively with its people that sets them up for digital transformation trouble from the start. As many companies have discovered, creating processes, implementing tools, and identifying workflows is straightforward. Changing people is hard. And, organizations that are unable to get the right message to the right people at the right time will find it downright impossible.”
Ensuring that citizen development doesn't derail information management efforts is critical. Best practices for intelligent information management should be part of the plan.
A Thoughtful Approach to Low-Code and Citizen Development
Cawthorne explains that having citizen developers solve the problem means more than just giving them the right no-code tools. He asks “Do business people who can write logic to encapsulate their process flows have a really good understanding of the information flows?”
He warns that they don’t necessarily have that deep understanding. And without that knowledge, even the best no-code/low-code software won’t be much help. He describes a troubling scenario: “If the enterprise provides the business unit no-code teams the correct repositories and backend systems for the tools they create, plus an Information Management Center of Excellence to answer their questions and help them, we could be in a good place. However if everything is left to the business unit and their small IM or information governance team (if they exist), and if budgets are not organized appropriately, a push toward business unit no-code app development could actually exacerbate information management issues.”
The takeaway from all this? Yes, citizen developers can solve many information management problems. But only if the movement to enlist them “includes education on overall information literacy, as well as the specialist training to make the most from the preferred no-code tools and environments,” says Cawthorne.
A Resource for Companies Beginning Citizen Development
Without proper oversight, enterprise standards for app development, data governance, and security could be at risk as citizen developers begin purchasing software and building apps. Read how savvy IT Departments are decreasing app backlogs by helping business users identify no-code and low-code app development solutions, including the training and data governance they need to be successful. Click here to read the citizen development guide.
Free Low-Code Software for Citizen Developers and Intelligent Information Management
Alpha Software offers a free low-code solution that's ideal for Information Management solutions and more. The Alpha Anywhere low code app development and deployment platform includes full-stack development, enterprise-level security, integrations with data sources and web services, and also has robust offline capabilities. Click here to start building apps for free.
You can download a copy of the full AIIM report at www.aiim.org/research