Recently, I wrote about my experience speaking at the Microsoft Ignite 2022 Conference on a high level topic that, although focused on the Microsoft ecosystem, had implications for the organization as a whole transcending the specific products and vendors of the tech that make up the underlying plumbing or wiring used to run the business.
The topic is certainly one for the nose-bleed, upper atmosphere executive level but, I believe, something that should be understood by folks on the ground and in the front lines because ultimately it is their feedback going back up to those same folks entrusted to run things. The thing that I had to pin down first was a few definitions that connect the two sets of folks together which, as it turns out perhaps not surprisingly is a case of finding a common link that is immediately understood – Value. That is to say Value as in what the worth for something happens to be and finding out that that is, is not just the key to commerce but also the key to that agreement that we are all striving for the same goal or the same close of a transaction.
So, for this blog, there is little room to be lofty and, to be sure, you will find the full discussion and treatise in one of our whitepapers anyway. The discussion at Ignite took a smaller view but even that might be a little too big to chew on for your workday so allow me to focus on how one of the concerns of Organizations and their CEO’s and how it underscores the role of Low Code as both tool and beneficiary and that is the case of SHADOW IT.
Of course, we need to agree that Shadow IT is a problem and not a feature to live with, yes? Since we are this far through the blog, I can assume you are at least ok with the premise to move forward so on that I bring about the concept of the “Center of Enablement” which is the place where folks would go to, to make things happen. We want to enable the worker to get something done or build something towards that endeavor, in this case, through low code tools.
If people know where to go and trust that going there will be an “enabler” versus a barrier to cross while assuring the folks in IT and management that what is enabled will not hurt anything, we have created a way through governance to manage and potentially eliminate the problem of Shadow IT! Whoa! Could it be that easy? Sounds like it but, of course, operationalizing it is the key which is, not ironically, something that the very same low code tools can help with.
To summarize the point, governance is applied through a Center of Enablement which is the central source run by a team with a mandate to share and build up knowledge and experience while formalizing the appropriate level of governance.
And Governance, in this case, covers:
- Policies – what is allowed
- Guidelines – what can be done
- Guardrails – support while things are being implemented and run
So you may ask, where do the Low Code tools come in to help or to be helped and the quick answer to that is DEVOPS or the Application Lifecycle Management activity where we move a solution from the place where it is made to the place where it will be (officially) used. Depending on the criticality and scope of the solution, it will the appropriate level of controls and validation before it is allowed to operate with the key being that the organization now decides what that should be to the smallest degree they feel they need to control even if that is beyond what is considered “best practices” or obligatory ones from local regulations and compliance requirements.
As I started out by saying, what is happening here may have been about Low Code but the implications on what happens is actually something the whole enterprise should be considering for development in general. In fact we have white papers on this at https://www.sogeti.com/services/enterprise-devops/
which you can follow through if you want to take it to the eventual conclusion. In the meantime, closer to the front lines, you can look for tools in your low code platform of choice, for example the Center of Excellence Starter Kits (there is a set for core solutions and one for Automation specifically) in the Microsoft Power Platform side as well as newly released Out of Box abilities such as Managed Environments and Landing Zones. The maturity of the platforms and underscored by the availability of these tools and your organizations maturity in dealing with enterprise productivity through governance comes to how thoroughly and actively you have implemented the tools and practices for all solutions management.
All feedback and requests to deep dive these bits and others are most welcome, as always and I look forward to learning from all of you as well!
About Ralph Rivas
I am a seasoned professional with nearly two decades of experience delivering quality software and solutions. I am currently with Sogeti in the corporate Applications and Cloud Technologies group as a National Solutions Architect focused on the Power Platform and M365 ecosystem where I am actively promoting and growing the technologies and features to help customers make the most of their digital modernization journey.
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