Citizen developer illustration

Who is a Citizen Developer?

A citizen developer is a non-professional developer who builds applications for use by other people. Although they do not report directly to IT, they use tools such as low-code platforms that are sanctioned by IT.

Coding is dead. Long live no-code. All hail Citizen Developers.

Businesses across the world are embracing no-code apps and platforms that allow them to digitally transform their processes in days and weeks instead of months and years. And behind this transformation is a rising band of citizen developers from non-IT backgrounds. So what has led to the growth of this legion?

With apps being so versatile, more and more companies are interested in leveraging them for their business needs. However, creating an app from the word ‘Go’ involves financial investment and the services of a qualified software specialist. No-code development platforms, on the other hand, offer a viable alternative with little or no cost and no specialized skills required either.

Surprised? Read on.

No-code app platforms provide a user-friendly interface through which  anybody; yes anybody, even those with a non-IT background can build applications without writing any code. With the help of these platforms, businesses, professionals, freelancers, HR and finance experts, and individuals can create apps by using ready-made templates for user interface and functionalities and address their specific requirements.

What this means is that more people from different age groups and various departments within a company or independent professionals can realize their ideas without relying on conventional IT and administrative gatekeepers. Simply put, this has given rise to the ‘citizen developer’.

Sounds good? There’s a whole lot more.

Apart from the development, controlling the functions of the app doesn’t require coding either. They can be fully adjusted via an easy-to-use configuration settings. Transforming manual processes into automated applications is fast gaining popularity. It helps unlock the power of digital data and makes the applications easily accessible to team members and customers. That apart, no-code apps have various other applications that bring time and cost savings, improve internal processes, and contribute to digital innovation. No-code apps can be native, web-based, process-driven or data-driven to meet the diverse needs of businesses.

With no-code apps, the approach is declarative only. End-users without coding skills simply state what they would like an app to do by employing a no-code platform’s capabilty.

Of course, the declarative approach does have certain limitations. For one, no-code apps created by ‘citizen developers’, may not be able to address very complex business problems compared to  those created by software specialists. On the other hand, no-code apps are a great substitute to the lengthy and expensive process of developing an app from scratch.

A spectrum of citizen developer roles is emerging. These new roles may not replace traditional software developers, but they can enhance your software delivery strategy by giving your business people the tools they need to innovate on their own.”

John R. Rymer, Vice President, Principal Analyst serving Application Development & Delivery professionals at Forrester

How do no-code platforms work?

Citizen developers start creating their app using a toolbox that is at their disposal. They simply have to drag and drop visual boxes to add and arrange functionalities and design workflows. Drop-down menus and a colour palette help to provide choice from a set of options, as well as customize or brand the app. What’s more, many platforms offer ready-made templates for typical business use cases. Citizen developers can employ the template to build additional functionalities on it that are specific to their company’s needs.

Snapshot of Form Builder

By creating a visual and intuitive interface, which graphically replaces the lines of code behind it, end users can set up their application, connect it with databases or web services, integrate it with other tools, and start using it for tackling work tasks. As you can see, app creation and deployment time are drastically reduced.

Workflow Snapshot

The biggest benefits – time and cost savings

With shortage of IT professionals and large backlogs in IT departments, traditional software development is unable to fulfill the growing need for solutions. No-code apps are therefore emerging as a powerful platform as they usher in direct time saving for businesses and IT teams.

Further, if a company needs to work with an external IT specialist, it has to pay for a long process of creation, deployment, updates, and maintenance. On the other hand, no-code apps are readily available, come at a lower cost, and can be just as efficient, leading to significant cost savings.

According to leading global research and advisory firm Forrester, in the U.S. alone there will be a deficit of 500,000 software developers by 2024

How To Harness Citizen Developers To Expand Your AD&D Capacity, Forrester Research, Inc.

Who can use no-code apps?

No-code apps are helpful for businesses of all sizes and in many different trades, as well as for individual professionals.

In large Businesses, processes can be speeded in diverse areas including inventory management, equipment inspection, safety audits, and many more.

For small Enterprises, no-code platforms are a real game-changer as they allow the creation of important customer-facing apps that can fuel sales and customer engagement.

In Manufacturing, teams can use no-code apps to handle supply chain visibility, procurement management, reporting, warranty management, and logistics.

In Services, teams can use no-code apps to automate workflows related to service delivery e.g. case management for a financial or an insurance institution, customer management, contract management, reporting, billing and invoicing etc.

Accounting and Finance benefit from automatic reporting, profit and expense analysis, investment tracking, accounts receivable collection, payroll and invoice reporting, among others.

HR and Administration can use no-code apps for employee onboarding, training, performance reviews, leave and payroll management, travel and expense management.

Marketing and Sales teams can streamline their campaign creation and distribution besides using no-code apps for lead management, customer relationship management, etc.

Consultants and Freelancers can benefit greatly from the no-code apps to optimize their operations in diverse ways.

Which industries are already using no-code apps?

Quick to leverage the vast benefits of no-code platforms are manufacturing businesses, logistics industries, food and retail businesses, pharma companies, retail companies, insurance, and finance companies.

Quixy – an ideal platform for citizen developers

Quixy is helping citizen developers across verticals build applications in days and weeks to automate their manual processes and drive efficiency, productivity and transparency. Click here for a free demo.

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