As a world leader in innovative automotive products, Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) is fully committed to advancing digitalization throughout the company. To promote this digitalization, company leadership understands that all employees need to become agents of change. As such, Toyota is using “citizen development” as an effective means of solving onsite problems. This involves allowing employees with knowledge about their specific workplace needs to use no-code/low-code development tools to independently transform their business operations.
Having seen the short lead times that were possible for development using Microsoft Power Platform, management wanted to maximize the benefits of no-code/low-code development and increase the number of citizen developers in the company. Subsequently, Microsoft Teams was introduced within Toyota and a technical community was launched on the platform.
"I think that what is essential for digital transformation is not to arrive at the top of the mountain and achieve a goal, but to create a state that is flexible enough to be able to respond to this wave of ever-changing conditions."
The main activities of the citizen developer community include knowledge, expertise sharing and QA support. Within six months, more than 3,000 employees were part of the community. Since they volunteer outside of their main duties, the influx of novice users and their needs for support created a challenge for some of the more experienced community participants.
To support the growing interest in citizen development being embraced across the company, Toyota’s Information Systems Division partnered with Avanade to create a centre of excellence (CoE) to strengthen skills acquisition, self-help and support options for community members. The CoE supports the promotion of internal digital transformation, focusing on four priorities:
1. Education that supports employee development
2. Support for the promotion and popularization of employee development activities
3. Governance support
4. Service expansion to optimize smaller projects company-wide
Eight months after Avanade began providing support, employees are embracing digitalization. More than 1,200 technical counselling sessions were held, with more than 60% of participants improving their skills to intermediate levels. The number of active developers also grew to 2,845.
Extending employees’ technical capabilities is a benefit of working with Avanade, especially for those who have never developed software before. This support also allows some employees to focus on user interface and user experience development. In the future, Toyota leadership would like to expand the focus on digitalization through citizen development to other Toyota Group companies.