Citizen Development
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This article was first published on Thrive Global

If you and your business have been to any tech conferences, we are absolutely sure that the conversation there was that digital transformation is the way forward for all businesses. While the obvious meaning of this is that there will be a shift from manual to digital for all systems, but there is also a need to find a way to facilitate it. And that is where no-code and low-code solutions come in. Citizen developers are those individuals who are integrated into businesses as non-IT employees but are empowered by the ability to build applications to satisfy their needs. This means that they build applications for their business area or their clients using no and low code software.

Why has Citizen Development Become So Important?

Normally, building a product can take up to several years. This was a process of ideating, coding, beta testing, making corrections, and repeating the process multiple times to have exactly what the user desired. This often meant that by the time the application was fully ready for use, it had lost its primary need and ended up being a waste of time. Lately, this was happening more and more often as everything has been moving faster than it ever did, and needs are not left behind.

citizen devlopment

Citizen development helped bridge that gap in terms of time money and what the users want by giving the user all the tools to create what they require at their own speed without having to wait for results from a team who is not fully privy to their requirements. It is important as a bridge platform between other functional departments and IT for application needs.

Why Have Citizen Development Systems Emerged So Suddenly

Several trends in the world of technology have sparked a sudden spike in citizen developers. First are the newfound access and affordability of no-code and low-code platforms which are easy for almost everyone under the sun to use. This paired with the ease of connectivity created by cloud computing and the influx of digital natives has led to internal systems that allow IT to be supervisory of citizen development.

It is a combination of what people want and the democratization of automation that has been the backbone behind the quick success of citizen development systems.

Weighing out the pros and cons of citizen development by the IT department of an organization is imperative in choosing to adopt it. Here are some pros and cons that you can weigh out to make the switch to citizen development.

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

Pros of Citizen Development

1. Enabling IT to do what they do best

IT does not need to be spending time creating a tracker for finance or making sure that HR has a system that counts leaves and calculates how they affect salary. The IT team has more important and complicated situations to deal with. Having enabled citizen development systems means the IT team can focus on the broader scheme of things while citizen developers can attain their goals.

2. Making Development a lot faster

app development

Citizen development takes away both time and energy from the tedious process of application development. When the party developing the application is not the same as the one using it, it leaves room for a lot of back and forth to come to what is finally desired. Citizen development takes this need for back and forth away, saving organizations lots of time.

3. Helps organizations save money

Time is money and the first thing citizen development does is save time and thus money. Additionally, no-code and low-code software are usually updated by the creators of the software. This makes maintenance of the software significantly cheaper than if it were made from scratch.

4. Enhanced Productivity 

Once the application created aligns with the central business processes, the time taken to undertake any related activity is significantly reduced. And not only that the chances of errors are minimum as updates and modification in the data is easy. What you will be left with is an efficient business process, which is what we all want, isn’t it? 

Also read: Citizen Development: Your one-way ticket to the future

5. Making way for digital transformation 

By implementing no-code low-code companywide businesses are paving way for smoother digital transformation. For instance, Forrester claims that no-code has the potential to make software development as much as 10-times faster than traditional methods. As no-code citizen development will result in a large number of employees not only being a part of this transformation but also actively contributing to making this a reality.  

6. Innovation at every step 

The best part of citizen development with no-code is users do not need to be equipped with any knowledge of coding to create solutions. As creators have to power to build apps and solutions however they want, all ideas can be turned into a reality. Plus, the Citizen developers are not caged to use the same apps! They can further add to its functionality with ease however needed.  

Cons of Citizen Development

1. Security risks

Giving a large number of people the ability to create software also means giving many people control of different facets required for its creation. Besides, citizen developers probably won’t have the knowledge required to create security systems for the applications they create. It is important to have a no-code or low-code software that allows an admin to monitor the overall security.

2. Concerns for internal governance

Without a management system, citizen development can mimic the wild, wild west. With anyone and everyone creating an application for what they believe they need, it is easy that there is a surplus of applications created, many of which work towards the same purpose. It is important to choose an application that ensures that there is a system in place that only allows the creation of applications required. Further, it is a good idea to have these applications on a cloud as it often happens that different teams have similar requirements.

3. Need for Instruction

Low code platforms

While no-code and low-code platforms are easy to navigate and are specifically built for those who do not have technical expertise, they still take some amount of instruction to navigate. This means that people will have to be clearly guided for correct and efficient usage of these systems. However, it has been found that holding these instructional workshops is still significantly less time-consuming than in-depth, traditional application creation.

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

4. Integration Hassles 

Novice citizen developers might find it tricky to ensure the integration of the created apps with the ones that already exist. Not doing it properly might end up in losing data, security risks, and ambiguity in processes.  

Some of the advanced no-code platforms offer webhooks, out-of-the-box connectors, and integration to sync data and Zapier integration to integrate with thousands of apps seamlessly. Selecting the latest platform will ensure that no-code app development does not backfire.  

Combating the Problems

All these problems leave behind the question, should enterprises feel threatened by citizen developers? The easy answer to this is no, because while low and no-code platforms do create the risk for security and an alternate for IT that is all a problem only of implementation. Choosing the right software, like Quixy can give you and your IT team control over how the software is used. It also allows all the citizens developed software to be uploaded to a cloud so that they remain interlinked with one another and so that the organization remains on the same page of progress.

Sounds Too Good To Be True?

While it cannot be denied that citizen development like any other new software has some teething problems, there are very few cons of citizen development that cannot be overcome. From the companies that have experienced the positives of citizen development, there is no turning back. It is an engrossing process where each function of the organization gets to work together towards their own successes.

Try it Out!

With Quixy you can have a free trial of our software that enables you to have citizen developers within your organization. Work with us to also understand how to create a sustainable citizen development ecosystem within your organization that is both safe and empowered. We recommend you use this opportunity to understand how you can capitalize on the benefits and smoothen out the kinks to create a successful citizen development ecosystem at your organization.

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