Citizen Development
Quixy Editorial Team
August 9, 2023
Reading Time: 8 minutes

A lot is being talked about how organizations must encourage citizen development. Data goes to show that each year there is an increase in the percentage of citizen developers. These are people who don’t have a tech background and are building new applications and programs faster than ever. While this may seem like it’s a lot concerning the developers’ jobs, there is nothing to worry about.

If you are new to the term Citizen Developers, it broadly refers to people who are essentially not developers but can develop applications, usually with the help of simple visual interfaces that allow them to create what they want to see without having to learn a programming language. These are often solutions that need some solving within a department or with customers and would take more time to be processed by the IT department.

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Source: Project Management Institute

Today, it is important to differentiate between what hard-core developers can achieve from their programs and what citizen developers can do to find more fast-tracked solutions. From creating custom solutions for specific customers to creating collaborations between IT and different teams, citizen development has come a long way since its inception. Further, while we don’t have the exact numbers in terms of how much more efficient citizen development does a business, it has proven to keep checklists moving, and we will be talking about these sorts of benefits here.

Why Citizen Development is Key to Future-Proofing Your Business: A Citizen Developer’s Perspective

The average citizen developer is looking to bridge the gap between the services they receive from IT experts and the need of the consumers. These people are looking to find fast solutions to their and their consumers’ problems. These business users are looking for solutions to take the burden off the existing system. While citizen development is relatively unregulated, it can be harvested to accelerate business success.

Also read: The Rise of the Citizen Developer and why should every business care?

Here are some reasons why organizations must encourage citizen development to create future-proof business practices.

1. The Demand for Applications is Higher than the Supply

We live in a world geared towards convenience. The right way to do things is the most convenient, and what is more convenient custom made to cater to specific needs. That is the only way to combat the ‘I want it now’ attitude.

Development capacity

Each and every business is working towards transforming their business, making most services more digital rather than analog and upgrading to build on the efficiency of their operations. This directly translated into a need for software to help them streamline their existing processes. It is a lot of software the existing IT team is not equipped to provide.

This leaves businesses with a few choices. Either overburden the IT department and find a longer timeline for the digitization processes or make the switch to low-code and no-code platforms. Given the right aptitude, this is where citizen developers step in. Here IT teams can serve as an instructional and advisory body for faster growth.

2. The Needs of a Team are Best Understood by the Team Itself

Having a different group of people create software for a particular team will always lead to some back and forth. No group of people will be able to understand the needs of a team better than the team itself.

Often a lot of time is wasted in the back and forth between what a group wants and what is being delivered to them. This is a waste of time as the only way to clearly create a business automation understanding is to be a part of the process itself. Citizen development, in that sense, is empowering the experts. It means leaving the menu open with food for the clients to choose from, the cooking to the line chefs but the supervision to the head chef.

Citizen Development illustration

Effective programs are created to understand the usage that will be derived from them, the kinds of clients they serve, and the data that drives them. This is also the reason people tend to lean towards experts over shared services personnel. This enables both IT and the departments themselves to work on critical projects at the required speeds.

3. The IT Department is Generally Understaffed

It is clear and should remain clear that citizen developers are not IT professionals, but to drive citizen development, too many information technology experts are not the key to success.

For the IT department to tackle the entire organization’s needs, a much larger amount of funds and resources would need to be dedicated to them. Imagine if word processing and data processing was not automated and outsourced in the early 2000’s how far behind would organizations have been? Similarly, that is what encouraging citizen development can do for your business today. It is easy to bridge the gap between departments and create a better working ethos.

Additionally, it is always the case that clients want applications that can solve all their problems, and they want them now. In most cases, this is on the increase as they see application growth around them. Traditional IT development does not have the capability to keep up with such demands, especially at the quality required.

5 Reasons to Encourage Citizen Development at Work-Infographic

4. Streamlining the Growth of New Applications to Match Market Pace

Tech disruption needs to be seen as a constant for any business. Tech growth is faster than ever, and the same can be said about adoption.

While it may be impossible for businesses to keep up with traditional software and legacy systems it is important to find new ways to do so. Citizen development has not only streamlined the growth of these tech disruptions but also found adequate solutions for them.

Enabling personnel outside the tech departments to be in charge of their tech functionality has made them more agile and primed for growth. Citizen developer trends in businesses have been proven to readiness for growth and expansion.

Also Read: Meet the Top Citizen Development Influencers

5. Low-Code No-Code Solutions are Cheaper to Maintain

The reality of the situation is that while traditional development of applications leads to optimal outcomes, it is both time-consuming and not monetarily efficient.

Custom-built programs are unique and can not be compared to those from the citizen developer community, but they must be perceived in the context of their usage. This means to say that you cannot compare a DIY cheese kit with cheesemakers from Italy, but it depends on what you are trying to achieve. Citizen developers are working to create applications on a basic level with limited resources for a very specific purpose.

Solutions are cheaper to maintain

The platforms that support such development are usually straightforward in their purpose and easier to maintain than a plethora of separate applications with different base codes. This means by upgrading the no-code or low-code platforms that citizen developers are using to create their applications, they can update and maintain them as well. Further, mission-critical applications can be separated from the rest to give them more support than others that do not require it. With the citizen development value tree by your side, budgeting transforms into a value-driven art, making every investment count. You can also check out Citizen Developer’s Toolbox: Insights and Strategies from Our eBook-Innovate and Empower: A Journey through Citizen Development!


Also Read: The Secrets of App Development: Building Excellence

Is There No Catch?

Many concerns are being raised concerning the drive-in digital transformation that is being caused by citizen development and the potential IT nightmare it would become. However, many easy fixes exist to alleviate such concerns, such as platform-based training and having people govern and oversee citizen development activities. Further, there also must be education geared towards increasing the longevity of these applications, not wasting time and energy developing more in the future. The aim is to facilitate the creation of a substantial software network.

Also read: Everything you should know about no-code development

Excited to Try it Out?

These are just some of the benefits of cultivating a citizen development environment in your organization. We see it as the first step your business can take towards empowering those from your business who identify as problem-solvers who do not have the means or coding knowledge. We see citizen development becoming the backbone of organizations soon. We at Quixy have created a no-code BPM platform that will allow you and your business to achieve your business goals. This is an opportunity for you to change how your business is perceived and that the smaller requirements are never overlooked.

Begin your journey towards streamlined operations and building tailored apps – all with the simplicity of our platform. Get started today to harness the potential of automation.

Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn and other social media handles.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q. How can organizations measure or evaluate the success of their Citizen Development initiatives?

Organizations can measure the success of their Citizen Development initiatives by tracking their key performance indicators (KPIs), such as the number of projects completed, the time to market, and the impact on business outcomes. It is also important to solicit Citizen Developers’ feedback to identify improvement areas and ensure continued success.

Q. How does Citizen Development impact the role of IT professionals?

Citizen Development changes the role of IT professionals from gatekeepers of technology to enablers and facilitators of innovation. IT professionals can provide guidance, support, and technical expertise to Citizen Developers, ensuring their projects are secure and compliant with company standards.

Q. How can Citizen Development improve employee engagement?

Citizen Development can enhance employee engagement by empowering the firm’s employees to take ownership of their work processes and fostering a culture of innovation. When employees feel that they have something meaningful to contribute to the organization’s success, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated to perform their best.

Q. How can organizations encourage Citizen Development in the workplace?

Organizations can encourage Citizen Development in the workplace by providing access to low-code or no-code platforms, offering training and resources, and creating a culture of experimentation and innovation. Establishing governance policies and guidelines to ensure security and compliance is also important.

Q. What are some examples of Citizen Development projects?

Citizen Development projects can range from automating manual workflows to building custom applications for specific business needs. Examples include:
1. Creating a customer relationship management (CRM) system.
2. Developing a project management tool.
3. Automating a finance process.
For deeper insights into what you can create using no-code tools for your organization’s success, read our blog.

Q. What is Citizen Development?

Citizen Development is the sustainable process of non-technical employees creating custom solutions using low-code or no-code platforms. It empowers employees to create innovative solutions to business challenges and enables organizations to stay ahead.

Q. What are the benefits of Citizen Development for organizations?

Citizen Development benefits organizations, including increased productivity, collaboration, and faster time-to-market. It also fosters a culture of innovation & empowers employees to take ownership of their work processes.

Here are some related terms related to citizen development and their definitions:

No-code/low-code development: It refers to the process of building software applications without the need for extensive programming knowledge. Low-code development involves some degree of coding but is still accessible to those with limited programming skills. These approaches often use visual interfaces and pre-built modules to simplify development.

Citizen development: It is a practice where individuals outside the traditional IT department create software applications using no-code/low-code development tools. The concept of citizen development has gained popularity in recent years, as it allows businesses to create software solutions faster and more efficiently.

Citizen developer: A citizen developer is an individual who creates software applications using no-code/low-code development tools, often without formal programming training. These individuals are often business users with a specific problem to solve and can rely on citizen development to build custom solutions that meet their needs.

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