Eighty percent of leading enterprises are forming new partnerships with "citizen developers," an emerging group of industry professionals who operate outside the scope of enterprise IT—according to a recent study conducted by the IBM Center for Applied Insights.
According to the survey, "Raising the Game: The IBM Business Tech Trends Report," 40% of organizations still report moderate-to-major skills gaps across cloud, analytics, mobile and social technologies. Citizen developers help to close these gaps to drive greater collaboration and innovation.
The report examined common traits of "pacesetters," leading organizations that are achieving tangible business results from cloud, analytics, mobile and social technologies. Pacesetters are finding creative new ways to narrow the skills gaps in their organization—including gaps in general IT skills, application development or data analytics.
One way pacesetters are filling these gaps is via partnerships with citizen developers. In addition, these organizations are twice as likely to turn to academia for product development and 70% are more likely to engage with start-ups for execution.
"Companies are no longer just dipping their toes into the water with these key technologies. Pacesetter organizations are diving in and adopting them broadly across their business while also identifying new ways to partner and gain the skills and capabilities necessary to outperform their competitors," said Sandy Carter, IBM general manager of ecosystem development.
Organizations that actively crowdsource ideas and technology assets with customers, partners and academia drive deeper engagement for positive results—according to the survey findings.
For example, Esri, an IBM Business Partner and developer of geographic information systems (GIS) software, regularly uses sites such as Github, to share and build apps for cloud, analytics, mobile and social technologies. In regard to its own product roadmap, Esri also conducts hackathons and application challenges that drive creativity and product feedback.
"Through our efforts in events like hackathons and application challenges that appeal to citizen developers, we ensure that we have a pulse on what leading edge developers would like to do with geospatial—and all of this informs our own roadmap," said Robin Jones, director, platform adoption, Esri. "The outcomes are fast, beneficial and interesting for everyone."
Pacesetter organizations are four to seven times more likely to use cloud technology to deliver social, mobile, and big data and analytics capabilities. Fifty-five percent are using mobile solutions via the cloud and are five times more likely to deliver social business solutions via the cloud than their competitors.
For instance, Hootsuite, which provides a social relationship platform, delivers a cloud platform so organizations can better integrate public and company social networks (such as IBM Connections) to increase efficiency and productivity while streamlining internal collaboration.
This integration enables users to improve collective intelligence by empowering them to share knowledge across an organization, increase coordination and project management and save time by unifying multiple messages across different social networks.
Real-time business demands real-time results, a concept that pacesetters have fully embraced by implementing a strong analytical foundation across business functionalities.
The study found that nearly 90% of respondents have mature big data and analytics capabilities, while 60% plan to increase investment in this area by 10% or more over the next two years. Also, nearly seven out of 10 pacesetter organizations make analytical insights a significant part of their decision-making process.
For example, Fiserv—a global financial services technology provider and IBM Business Partner—has made analytics integral to its business. With a deep integration of analytics in its banking and payments solutions, the company helps its financial institution clients gain deeper insights into customer trends and behaviors.
Fiserv also provided analytical solutions to help identify individual customer groups for targeted marketing efforts that helped the institution gain substantial increases in mobile banking and bill pay utilization across its customer base.