One of the fundamental benefits of no-code development with a tool like AppSheet is the ability for developers with no coding ability to build Apps and automations. This results in Apps being built by employees from a wide range of divisions, divisions that by themselves do not have internal processes for managing continuity and App lifecycles. It is therefore important that central mechanisms be put in place so that as Apps become important or even mission critical that the ability to maintain continuity exists if App Owners were to leave the organisation. These mechanisms need to work to manage App ownership before continuity becomes a problem, given that the changing of ownership is particularly difficult after an employee has left the company.
The worst case scenario is that an App is built by a single individual without the inclusion of any co-creators, those that also have edit definition permissions. This means that the data sources and the App are owned by that one individual. Then if that App were to come to serve some important function for more employees than the owner themselves, their leaving would present fairly major issues. So instead of waiting for such a scenario a mechanism can be established that will avoid this situation entirely.
The mechanism explained: citizen development on net is hugely valuable so this widespread creation of Apps is to be encouraged, with App ownership in most situations originating with non-IT individuals. What needs to happen is that once Apps cross some threshold of monthly active users the App owner is notified that they must pass ownership to a group email address or at the very least to an individual in the IT department and some other employees within their division. This process can be automated via a tool like Teamapps, or governance teams can manually monitor Apps for increased usage and reach out to App owners directly.
This automation is available as an add-on to the standard Teamapps plan with a default threshold of 25 monthly active users which will be editable in the coming months with additional threshold settings available that correspond to mission criticality settings and data sensitivity settings as per the App risk profile feature.
How it works: once enabled any App owner with monthly active users of greater than 25 that is not a group user will be notified that they must pass ownership to a group user account in AppSheet as well as add one other user account as an editor. When completed the governance team will be notified that this has occurred, likewise if the App owner fails to pass ownership of the App to a group account within 30 days the governance team will also be notified.
Given the volume of Apps that can be created using a no-code tool like AppSheet it can add up to a lot of technical debt and inherent concern if continuity issues like this are not addressed. Indeed, we have spoken with IT leaders that have been hesitant to use no-code tools because of the problems described in this post. However, given the traceability of Apps using tools like Teamapps, this kind of issue does not need to be a problem for organisations. Governance teams can be required to spend considerable time and effort managing citizen development initiatives and this is one of those critical aspects of App lifecycle management that can be automated to alleviate the overall effort required whilst effectively dealing with this inherent risk.
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