Customer Stories

Citizen developers were responsible for one-third of all Citrix app deployments.

June 26th 2019

We sat down with Trenton Cycholl, Vice President of Business Technology at Citrix, to talk about his experience launching a citizen development program:

Last year alone, one-third of our deployments were done by citizen developers.

My name is Trenton Cycholl. I am responsible for enterprise applications as the Vice President of Business Technology at Citrix.

IT's changing in a lot of different ways, but primarily in the application space. 

Integrated platforms are becoming more important for enterprise IT. It's no longer focused on individual functionality or functionality that's specific to a department or a business function.

The citizen development program at Citrix started about eight, nine years ago because the backlog was growing at an extremely rapid pace and we knew that there was no way we were going to keep up. So we found ways through citizen developers to solve some of the operational challenges, be a lot more agile to meeting the needs of Citrix business, then refocusing IT on the things that really mattered to the enterprise. At Citrix our citizen development program is a jointly defined initiative across sales operations, service operations, marketing, and IT. We're very focused from the start on driving that alignment because that's the only way we get to success.

A key to getting started with a citizen development program is getting senior-level alignment across operational and IT teams. That's a first step in building trust across departments to allow the teams to work in a very fluid way as they start to build out the program. Citizen development faced very few challenges up front because it was a natural evolution of what people typically called shadow IT or black ops IT. The natural tendency was then, just to apply some governance and framework around that. The governance model we have in place allows us to do things like code reviews, testing, data validation, validation of end to end integrations that might be impacted by said changes from citizen development. 

The citizen developer program at Citrix is based on a very simple process because complexity is something that doesn't help us be agile. And as such, we're able to leverage Salesforce as a platform without complex development tools riding on top of it or requiring us to use it to do deployments in a difficult or complicated way. Our citizen developers and IT leveraged most of the core platform of Salesforce. No need to add on tools, which is great. We leverage sandboxes and multiple environments to migrate code. This is how we do our quality checks on any citizen development activities that happen and gives us that comfort level around governance and knowing what is changing and how it's changing across the environment.

Citizen developers are typically a techno functional kind of role. It's someone who's very smart on business process, but they're able to apply that in a way that they can configure and leverage a platform like Salesforce to help drive those process improvements. It's a combination of both technology interest but also then, an understanding of how business works.  Trailhead is an important part of our training on the Salesforce platform. It allows us to do it in a very flexible way. It's on our time, which is important because training or learning is no longer a singular focus of one area of going to a training or a conference. 

What's amazing about the citizen development program at Citrix is last year alone, one-third of our deployments were done by citizen developers. It's awesome to have that capacity back in core enterprise IT to do the core things that Citrix needs for enterprise IT.



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