Project Management

How Citizen Development Bridges the Gap Between IT and Business

From the Citizen Development Insights Blog
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Citizen development is a disruptive approach to digital transformation and organizational innovation, where teams are empowered to turn ideas into applications using no-code/low-code technology. This blog provides insights, advice and practical knowledge from thought leaders and practitioners in Citizen Development.

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In the past, programming and software development skills were restricted to IT professionals only. Lengthy software development cycles coupled with long waiting times created many issues for organisations. However, times are changing.

The demand to simplify and shorten software development cycles has led to the exponential and continuous growth of Citizen Development with the use of low-code and no-code (LCNC) development platforms.

Who is a Citizen Developer?

A Citizen Developer is essentially a business user who can build applications without requiring programming knowledge. From HR departments to Finance, citizen development creates a space for any business user to optimize an existing business process or improve their day-to-day productivity with low code or no code technology that is sanctioned by IT.

Moreover, it empowers users to drive innovation in a cost-effective and timely manner by reducing application development life-cycles. 

The idea of end-users self-building digital solutions is not new.

However, organisations’ understanding of the power of citizen development is increasingly becoming familiar. Organisations who have adopted this approach have improved resilience, user experience and their responsiveness to the ever-changing market demands.

In fact, Gartner states, by 2023 the quantity of citizen developers within larger enterprises will be, at a minimum, 4 times the number of professional developers.

Low-code and no-code tools accelerate Citizen Development

Before LCNC development platforms, non-IT departments solely depended on IT for new solutions. For example, people in an organisation who needed solutions to do work more efficiently would need to wait for months or sometimes years for IT to deliver solutions.

Back-logs of requests, shortages of software developers and long waiting times are only some of the issues that can arise and cause serious disruptions in any business.

Citizen development powered by no code and low code technologies enables rapid development and deployment from business users in an agile manner, something previously difficult to achieve with traditional software development approach.

No-code and low code platforms allow users to focus on creating applications by using a toolset of prebuilt components, rules and actions, rather than developing everything from scratch.

Not only does citizen development accelerate innovation, but also it increases overall efficiencies.

In effect, citizen development offers a real opportunity for IT and the rest of the business to work collaboratively.

Citizen development

Citizen Development closes the gap between IT and Non-IT departments

An effective and IT-approved low-code or no-code technology can seal the skill gap between professional developers and citizen developers.

Typically, there has always been a gap between the implementer of a technical solution and the business user who has the business knowledge.

Knowing the requirements, it makes sense for said business user to create the application to address these particular requirements.

With a user-friendly development environment, citizen developers can easily build applications themselves and if and when, a project becomes too complex, they can simply invite a professional developer to help. 

Citizen development reduces workload on IT teams, essentially freeing them to focus on more complex projects that indefinitely require technical skills. Not to mention, the ability for citizen developers to take projects off from IT hands reduces back-logs of required solutions and speeds up the application development process.

In addition, the utilisation of low-code and no-code platforms can provide stakeholders equal insight into the application development process. Many LCNC platforms can give IT visibility into the development process of an application by a business user. This governs shadow IT as it provides an opportunity for IT teams to monitor and control quality and security.

What Does Citizen Development Mean for Organisations?

The demand for business applications is certainly increasing as more companies seek new ways to boost productivity while reducing costs. With that said, IT cannot do it alone.

While professional developers and IT departments are the typical experts, traditional software development is simply too time-consuming.

In past years, to address a company’s digitalisation needs, it was routine to hire a team of software developers and spend large budgets on multi-year implementation projects. Only to come to a conclusion that still, despite investing a considerable quantity of time and money, efforts did not address the core needs of the business.

The flexibility of LCNC tools enable organisations to address their individual digitalisation needs by enabling business users to create new applications and adjust these applications as the requirements evolve.

Acquiring this level of internal power allows quick and easy digitalisation of typical business processes in quality, HR, finance and other departments.

In addition, leveraging talent in-house brings better control over operational costs. Organisations do not need to outsource software development or hire additional IT staff. Instead, IT and business can effectively work together to produce better outcomes.

By 2022, Forrester expects the low-code/no-code market to reach $21.2 billion. Certainly, this reflects the speed that LCNC development platforms are growing at.

I believe organisations will adopt citizen development because it is compelling. It opens up a whole new world of opportunities for digital innovation.

Do you think it is important for organisations to adopt a citizen development approach today? Does your organisation already have a citizen development approach?

Posted by Derya Sousa on: February 11, 2021 08:21 AM | Permalink

Comments (4)

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Tiago Romao Program Manager MSc. PgMP | PMP | ACP | PBA | CBAP | CSM| Altice Portugal | Meo Sobreda, Setubal/Almada, Portugal
Thanks for sharing.

Some of the people working on business are well acquainted with tools like Microsoft word, excel, power point, even access. Since ever MS Office tools provide mechanisms for customizing and developing people own programs, scripts, in visual basic programming language.

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Derya Sousa COO / Co-founder| Kianda Nocode Platform Ireland
Thanks Tiago for your comment. Modern tools go way beyond that and make it a lot easier for people to use.
Microsoft has provided many great early iterations of low code tools like the ones you mentioned.
With modern tools such as Kianda nocode or others together with the advance of technology, finally these are making the vision of citizen development a reality.

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Jelili Odunayo Kazeem Co-Founder| Convosync Solutions Limited Enugu, En, Nigeria
Thank you for these insights. You laid out the points right on how Citizen Development Bridges the Gap Between IT and Business. I can't agree more. The demand for business applications is increasing. Citizens Developers have come through to lessen the burden for the IT department, deliver applications cheaper, and in less time with LCNC. It is a revolution. Thanks again, Derya.

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Derya Sousa COO / Co-founder| Kianda Nocode Platform Ireland
Many thanks for your comment Jelili.

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