The Citizen Integrator Advantage White Paper explores the concept of "Citizen Integrators" - individuals who use no-code tools to create data integrations without relying on IT staff. We discuss the benefits and challenges of utilizing Citizen Integrators, as well as best practices for organizations looking to implement this role.
Here are our 5 key takeaways from The Citizen Integrator Advantage:
- Citizen Integrators use no-code tools to integrate data without IT staff.
- To use Citizen Integrators, organizations need strong data governance, IT oversight, and training.
- "Citizen Integrator Advantage" white paper covers definition, challenges, costs, business ROIs, and best practices.
- Citizen Integrators eliminate the need for expensive IT staff, reduce workflow delays, and improve data integration quality.
- Business ROIs of Citizen Integrators include faster time to market, more likely to accelerate digital transformation, cost savings, and better decision-making.
This white paper overview highlights the business ROIs of Citizen Integrators, including improvements in time to market, digital transformation, data analytics initiatives, cost savings, and decision-making. To read the full whitepaper in-depth Download here.
Here’s a brief overview of the most valuable information in the white paper:
Table of Contents
- Definition of the Citizen Integrator Role
- The Challenges & Costs of Data Integration
- The Business ROIs of the Citizen Integrator Role
- Best Practices for Implementing a Successful Citizen Integrator Strategy
The past few years have witnessed the rapid growth of a new business department role — that of the “Citizen Integrator.” Essentially, the Citizen Integrator is a non-developer, line-of-business employee who leverages easy-to-use, no-code tools to create data integrations without relying on IT staff. Even though the concept of this role is still relatively new, more and more organizations are realizing that Citizen Integrators are necessary for achieving greater data agility, improving core business processes, and streamlining IT and business department workflows.
Still, many IT teams are hesitant to leverage Citizen Integrators because they worry that non-technical users lack the skills and experience required for meeting compliance requirements, following security protocols, and managing sensitive data connections. In this respect, it’s vital for organizations to establish strong data governance processes, dedicated IT oversight, and thorough training procedures for all Citizen Integrator staff. This allows IT departments to reap the tremendous ROIs of Citizen Integrators while eliminating the risks involved with outsourcing data integration tasks to line-of-business units.
Definition of the Citizen Integrator Role
As working members of line-of-business teams, Citizen Integrators leverage no-code platforms to build the data integrations and data connections their departments need. Whether it's a technically skilled integrator or a non-tech-savvy user, no-code data integration platforms empower Citizen Integrators to fulfill their responsibilities. These platforms allow virtually anyone to architect and implement sophisticated data integrations.
The Citizen Integrator Advantage white paper expands on this definition of Citizen Integrator with additional information about:
- The history and background of Citizen Integrators
- Characteristics that apply to the Citizen Integrator position
- Which team members make the best Citizen Integrators?
The Challenges and Costs of Data Integration that Citizen Integrators Solve
Most organizations are familiar with the challenges, delays, and costs associated with the constant need to create, update and maintain data integrations and ongoing data replication across different business systems. Most organizations have come to accept the reality, costs, and delays of these data integration challenges. However, Citizen Integrators are currently offering an efficient and affordable way to overcome them.
In terms of the costs and challenges of traditional data integration that Citizen Integrators overcome, the white paper outlines the following difficulties:
- The need for highly-trained and highly skilled data integration specialists and developers to code traditional integrations. Traditional integration processes require teams of highly skilled technical staff, engineers, and developers to develop and implement them. These team members are generally difficult to source and are expensive to employ.
Citizen Integrators eliminate the need to hire expensive and specialized IT staff, thus empowering SMEs, enterprises, and other organizations to achieve more with fewer employees and fewer recruitment delays.
- Overworked tech staff and IT burnout causing serious data integration delays. Because IT workers with the skills required for data integrations are difficult to source and expensive to employ, it’s not uncommon for IT departments to be short on staff, overworked—or worse, completely burnt out. As a result, businesses could lose out on opportunities due to data integration-related delays. They may also incur large expenses from third-party contractors because IT staff are too overworked to overcome data integration bottlenecks.
Citizen Integrators eliminate these data integration workflow delays by empowering virtually any non-technical employee to develop data integrations.
- Economic pressure to downsize and cut IT costs. Most business leaders are concerned about current macroeconomic conditions and the threat of a recession in the coming years. For example, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos advised businesses in an October 2022 tweet that they should prepare for an economic downturn, “Yep, the probabilities in the economy tell you to batten down the hatches.”
Citizen Integrators offer an affordable, efficient, and highly effective solution to reduce IT staff burdens in the face of a potential recession.
- High financial costs of poor data quality and data integration delays. The business costs and consequences of poor data quality are significant and a lot of poor data quality is the direct result of data integration delays. For example, Gartner found that poor data quality can cost businesses as much as $15 million in losses per year.
Citizen Integrators can significantly improve the speed and quality of all data integration tasks.
- Misunderstood data integration requirements. IT departments rarely understand the full context of the data integrations required by business departments. This can cause data integration and data analytics initiatives to fail, leading to wasted time and resources.
Because Citizen Integrators are domain-level experts working in business departments, they have a better understanding of desired outcomes and the reasons for data integrations—allowing them to achieve higher rates of success with data integration initiatives.
Download “The Citizen Integrator Advantage” to learn more about the challenges and costs of traditional data integration strategies.
The Business ROIs of the Citizen Integrator Role
The white paper offers an informative overview and statistics regarding each of the following Citizen Integrator business ROIs:
- Eliminates integration delays and skyrockets data agility with a 75% improvement in time to market. Businesses are 2.6 times more likely to accelerate digital transformation.
- Supports more successful integrations due to the domain expertise of Citizen Integrators.
- Dramatic improvements to overall productivity.
- Promotes the democratization of data.
- Alleviates IT burdens.
- Empowers employee engagement by supporting the 58% of users who prefer to build applications themselves.
- Eliminates the problem of frustrated data scientists engaging in inefficient data lake workarounds.
- Achieves better data security and compliance and earns the trust of IT departments.
- Safeguards data while giving business departments more independence.
Download “The Citizen Integrator Advantage” to explore the ROIs of Citizen Integrators in-depth.
Best practices for Implementing a Successful Citizen Integrator Strategy
From a practical perspective, some of the most valuable sections of the Citizen Integrator Advantage white paper offer a detailed plan and best practices for implementing a successful Citizen Integrator strategy for your organization. The plan offers insights and guidance as it pertains to finding the right balance between “too much centralization” and “too much decentralization” of a Citizen Integrator-based data strategy through a hybrid/decentralized organizational model—especially as it relates to the following McKinsey & Company comments:
“Those organizations struggling to create value through analytics tend to develop analytics capabilities in isolation, either centralized and far removed from the business [over-centralized] or in sporadic pockets of poorly coordinated silos [over-decentralized]. Neither organizational model is effective. Over-centralization creates bottlenecks and leads to a lack of business buy-in. And decentralization brings with it the risk of different data models that don’t connect.
Whether the chosen hybrid/decentralized data management model is “slightly more centralized” or “slightly more decentralized,” leveraging a well-trained Citizen Integrator in each business department—with rigorous IT oversight—is key to maintaining good data management practices, adhering to IT security frameworks, satisfying compliance requirements, and eliminating the chances of an accidental data breach.
Download “The Citizen Integrator Advantage” to learn more details and insights about the implementation of a Citizen Integrator strategy that uses a hybrid/decentralized organizational model.
In this brief overview, we’ve discussed the high costs and challenges associated with traditional data integration workflows that rely on experienced data engineers and developers. We’ve also seen how the ROIs and increasing popularity of Citizen Integrators are empowering organizations to overcome these challenges for more affordable, more efficient, and more effective data integrations.
Finally, we’ve explored how implementing a Citizen Integrator strategy requires IT oversight, training, and guidance. In other words, organizations need to build a culture of communication and collaboration between IT and Citizen Integrators to ensure the success, safety, and compliance of any Citizen Integrator initiative. When implemented appropriately—while leveraging easy-to-use and powerful technology like Integrate.io—a Citizen Integrator strategy can dramatically improve IT workflow efficiency, data agility, and the success of all data integration initiatives at any size organization.
For more information on building the human and software resources necessary to implement your Citizen Integrator strategy, download “The Citizen Integrator Advantage” white paper.