- More technology development is taking place outside the bounds of the IT department, Gartner research shows. Half of business technologists, which Gartner defines as non-IT employees building tech, craft products that get adopted by employees outside their department or company.
- Business technologists typically work on analytics capabilities for their departments or companies, as well as finance applications, external websites or data storage, according to the poll of 2,820 business technologists. Nearly eight in 10 business technologists report routinely using a mix of automation, integration, application development, or data science and AI.
- Compared to working in a silo to build technology products, four out of five respondents say there's value in collaborating with IT, and cited increased innovation, security and speed through partnership.
Tech savviness has steadily grown among rank-and-file employees.
Ease of use across tech platforms such as low code/no code or data analytics tools has produced a new profile of worker who can reshape how their own department operates, and even impact projects companywide.
But the variety of applications these professionals can now get up and running without direct IT involvement is changing. Business technologists can create chatbots, data storage systems, IoT applications and digital commerce platforms, among other types of technologies, according to the Gartner survey.
"What we see now is … a tipping point in which technology management is slowly becoming a business competency, and it's no longer just primarily within the purview of IT departments," said Raf Gelders, research vice president at Gartner.
The shift creates a delicate balance for CIOs, who are tasked with producing a technology outfit that supports broader business strategies. With tech creation tools in the hands of non-IT workers, application sprawl can be a risk. The average department already relies on up to 60 applications, with the companywide number at over 200, according to an analysis by Productiv.
The companies striking the correct balance are "trying to both harness democratized delivery and mitigate the risk" of applications built by business technologists, according to Gelders. There are security and compliance risks involved, but also potential redundancies, inefficiencies or misalignments.
One strategic question companies should address is which technology talent they need where in the enterprise, in order to deploy effective tech solutions, according to Gelders. It's a question best answered with insight from the CIO.
Despite the risks involved, there's motivation for companies to support business technologists. Gartner found companies that enabled business technologists were 2.6 times more likely to accelerate digital business outcomes.