As businesses continue to explore various digital initiatives, the demand for tech teams keeps surging. But one of the biggest challenges faced by organizations today is the massive shortage of equipped developers. This tech-talent shortage and the remedy costs have come at a time when low-code/no-code platforms are providing impressive solutions in the form of citizen development.
Citizen development reduces the complexity of app development to an extent where business users (citizen developers) can create their own solutions with little to no coding knowledge. This approach brings business and IT users closer together by empowering citizen developers to build no-code apps with easy-to-use functionalities while allowing the IT teams to manage, integrate and extend the platform.
This article explains the citizen development movement and how to make good use of this creative drive through low-code/no-code adoption.
Why every company should invest in citizen development?
The IT professionals in your organization are highly qualified and more experienced in creating business apps. So why should your business place the responsibility of app development in the hands of business users or non-IT employees? Here’s why there’s a growing need.
The demand for business applications is experiencing explosive growth.
In most circumstances, it surpasses the IT team’s capacity to produce them. On top of their usual tasks, IT departments are buried under a boat load of app-development requests. This puts a great deal of stress on the IT department (typically understaffed and overburdened) where they are forced to prioritize tasks based on business urgency. As a result, the app development process is slowed down.
On the other side, business users are resolving their issues by using outdated methods such as spreadsheets and desktop databases which leads to silo, difficulty with data maintenance, collaboration challenges, security issues, and lack of accountability. Over time, the unchecked infrastructure solutions adopted by business users will result in a complex network of solutions that your IT team will have no visibility into.
As a business stakeholder, you need to invest in a new solution that the IT teams do not have the throughput to build. By leveraging citizen developers, organizations can reduce the strain on the IT department, and allow them to focus on other high-code projects and more technically tricky operational tasks.
Citizen developers can be drawn from any non-IT field such as project management, financing, or operations, and can be trained to implement low-code/no-code development methods into their job. These employees from non-IT backgrounds don’t need any coding proficiency to create business apps.
By gaining a better understanding of the app development life cycle and taking on some responsibility, citizen developers become part subject matter experts, business analysts, and IT resources.
Additionally, there are situations where citizen developers will need precise understanding and knowledge transfer of an app in question. After all, they are the ones who are feeling the pressure without the application. In such situations, IT can intervene and lead the development process under their governance.
How citizen development can uplift your organizational growth?
In every business, two important sources heavily demand digital interactions – customers and employees.
- Customers – With the advent of new digital technologies, customer expectations have shifted, resulting in a new state of modern buyers. Consumers are always connected and are app native. All of this has made them aware of what can be achieved with technology. As a result, customers rate organizations based on their digital customer experience. To accommodate the modern-day buyer, your business needs to think digital-first, too.
- Employees – Even employees want to use technology to make their work-life easy. They expect to complete routine tasks as quickly as placing an order for their meal. As an organization, you have to be nimble-footed when it comes to exploring new tech tools and viewing them as complete enablers.
So, modern citizen development platforms are fundamental to digital transformation. They allow business users to produce safe applications without IT collaboration. As a result, organizations get happier employees with more efficient operations.
|Potential Business Benefits of Citizen Development.
|Innovation and efficiency
|Citizen developers have a much better understanding of business units and know where potential process improvements are required. By enabling citizen development, you can encourage innovation and better creative thinking.
|Speed and agility
|Through the drag-and-drop interfaces and interactive forms of low-code/no-code, non-IT developers can easily launch new apps
|Citizen developers receive feedback from colleagues who are using their apps. They can fix errors or work on improvements independently and quickly
|Eliminates shadow IT
|Shadow IT usually occurs when employees use apps that are not approved by the IT department. Through citizen development, you can encourage business users to build feasible solutions within the IT-approved environment.
|Giving proper training for citizen developers to work on the new platform is a cost-effective solution than outsourcing and relying on third-party solutions.
|Accelerate digital transformation
|Through the citizen development model, you can amplify the speed of product development that will help to better serve your customers.
Is there a catch?
Well, it’s only natural to have concerns about this approach. However, there are many easy ways to alleviate the concerns of citizen development.
A citizen development program with proper structure will help you expand your low-code/no-code developer pool. Without empowering citizen developers, you’ll compromise your ability to oversee the development and manage technical debt. Keep these tips in mind for effective implementation of citizen development.
- Provide training – Prepare a proper training program to facilitate citizen development adoption with interesting sessions and demonstrations of relevant use cases
- Teach new concepts – Familiriaze citizen developers with testing, documentation, and reusable concepts so they can enhance the quality of the solutions they create
- Use guardrails – You must also offer governance support for citizen developers so they can add clear data-loss protection policies and create sandbox environments to experiment.
- Encourage collaboration – You can club citizen developers with professional developers on complex projects that incorporate low-code/no-code. The technical expertise of IT and the business knowledge of citizen developers will lead to solutions that better serve your organization.
Citizen development is a much-needed solution that addresses the tech gap of today’s organizations and fosters a culture of innovation. Business users understand business challenges in real time. Harnessing that knowledge and empowering them to create applications will allow your organization to bypass traditional bottlenecks, get things done efficiently, and quickly respond to changing market forces and customer preferences.
With proper company approval, a defined process, training, and the right platform with integrated tools, you’ll be on your way to supporting your company or continuing to be a topliner in your industry.