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Citizen development: Critical Success Factors for Implementing Low-Code/No-Code Enterprise Applications

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Citizen development: Critical Success Factors for Implementing Low-Code/No-Code Enterprise Applications

The idea of business users building their own solutions is not necessarily new. People have been self-building a myriad of solutions for decades. Albeit in recent years, citizen development enabled by technologies such as low-code/no-code tools have created better, more agile and sustainable ways to build more flexible solutions.

According to Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms” research, by 2024, developing apps with low-code tools will account for approximately 65% of all application development. Certainly, this reflects not only the rise in low-code platforms but also, the adoption of a citizen development approach to developing business applications.

The emerging and growing adoption of citizen development is a great opportunity for organisations to respond to some of the obstacles associated with traditional software development. Delayed solution deliveries due to the lack of resources and high costs of implementing new systems are the two main issues citizen development can address.

Citizen development helps overcome these issues counteractively by empowering users with or without programming knowledge to create enterprise applications. With that said, the degree of success when implementing LCNC technologies ultimately depends on certain factors.

What are the critical success factors of implementing low-code/no-code technologies?

Organisations that understand the power of low-code/no-code technologies are captivated by the positive outcomes generated by citizen development. However, the absence of an implementation strategy to successfully adopt LCNC tools can create significant setbacks for companies.

For instance, some organisations get stuck in an experimental mindset with the fascination of the new technologies that they are adopting. As a result, they overlook the initial reason for adoption in the first place and have no sense of direction on where their digitalisation journey is going.

There are three fundamental factors to consider when adopting LCNC technologies: Technology, People and Continuous Improvement.

Critical success factors for implementing LCNC

1- Technology

The choice of any new technology is always a complex decision to make for any organisation. It requires a lot of research by teams that are usually under tight timelines. So they might end-up looking at the wrong kind of information and choosing the wrong technology for the task.

We are at a time where the technology you adopt today needs to be able to evolve with you tomorrow.

Therefore, approaching this decision-making process without a bird’s-eye view only exposes you to potentially wrongful choices.

In my experience this choice has an immense weight on the success of any no-code/low-code digitalisation project. I see 3 main reasons why companies fail to choose the right technology:

         1- Lack of flexibility

A major point of consideration regarding flexibility is who the platform is intended for. Low-code technologies may be a bit more suitable for IT professionals, helping them to shorten software development cycles and gain faster time-to-market. No-code tools on the other hand empower non-IT professionals/citizen developers to quickly and easily create enterprise applications, essentially freeing up time in the IT department.

While low-code and no-code have their differences with regards to programming requirements, each provider has its own individual differentiations. A tool without flexibility can provide a major source of complication and stress for teams. Even worse, it might only be discovered in later stages of building a solution. This often leaves teams having to fight or “hack” the platform.

It is important to choose something that not only provides the typical building blocks that no-code platforms offer, but that also provides the flexibility to build new building blocks in case the need arises.

       2- Require a combination of tools to complete a task

Some existing low-code and no-code technologies that are available to help create enterprise applications require multiple tools to be put together just to provide the final product teams need.

As an example, you could have one tool for workflow, one tool for forms or interface development and another separate tool for process monitoring or analytics.

Although individually those tools work well, it creates the need for a higher degree of abstraction, architectural thinking and unforeseen incompatibilities or delays in building these digital solutions.

So, you might have initially adopted a low-code or no-code development platform for one or all of the following reasons:

  • Reap the substantial cost saving benefits
  • Shorten software development life-cycles
  • Save time for more complex projects

However, working across a variety of separate tools can very much reverse the benefits. The delays that can occur due to the incompatibilities between the multiple tools can in actuality incur additional operational costs, extend the software development cycles and prevent any time from being preserved.

Therefore, it is vital to endorse a low-code or no-code tool that will allow you to efficiently complete tasks within a single platform.

        3- Difficulty handling complex projects

Many no-code solutions follow a flowchart visualization methodology for building the actual solution. This works well when solutions are simple in nature. However, when it grows in complexity with many conditional branches and condition groups it becomes hard to visualize and maintenance becomes a challenge in itself.

Essentially, you should adopt a low-code or no-code development platform that is capable of navigating complexities.

2- People

Closely involving the right people in any business project or task is vital in order to generate best outcomes. No-code tools in particular reduce the gap in between the implementer and end-users of a business process. As a result, this creates an opportunity for a different composition of teams collaborating on projects.

Retrieving successful results when implementing no-code or low-code tools greatly depends on two aspects:

  • Knowing your process

Stakeholders involved in a process must understand the process inside and out. The more in-depth knowledge into the process, the better the performance will be and the easier it will be to maintain long-term.

  • Preparing in advance

Before conducting any task in a business, it is imperative to approach the task knowingly and prepared. Thorough planning will assist with delivering a successful implementation and deployment.

3- Continuous Improvement

Lastly, maintenance is key.

Continuous improvement spans across the technology, the people and the process in question. Any project that you implement will require upkeep and much course correction. Fortunately, low-code/no-code technologies are easy to maintain.

Choosing a provider that allows you to be fast and pro-active will make improving processes much easier. Ensure that the technology allows you to be agile. The ability to build new features and test in multiple environments and even deploy those changes to a single process instance can be crucial.


In today’s competitive market, organisations are constantly seeking better approaches to addressing their digitalisation needs. IT departments continuously face high volumes of requests and demands, followed by mountains of pressure to complete these tasks.

No-code and low-code technologies are the answer to relieve these pressures by enabling citizen development to drive innovation. When this is implemented in the right way, the benefits for organisations are numerous.

Have you adopted a low-code or no-code solution? If so, please feel free to share your success below.

Posted by Derya Sousa on: March 17, 2021 11:44 AM | Permalink

Comments (6)

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Rami Kaibni
Community Champion
Senior Projects Manager | Field & Marten Associates New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
Great insights Derya !

Derya Sousa COO / Co-founder| Kianda Nocode Platform Ireland
Thank you Rami.

Luis Branco CEO| Business Insight, Consultores de Gestão, Ldª Carcavelos, Lisboa, Portugal
Dear Derya
Very interesting the theme that brought to our reflection and debate
Thanks for sharing and for your opinion.
We absolutely agree with what he wrote on the topic: "There are three fundamental factors to consider when adopting LCNC technologies: Technology, People and Continuous Improvement."

Khai Ng. IT Project Manager| TTGroup Hanoi, Viet Nam
Thank you for sharing! How about Change Management? Do we need to manage change to become success?

Derya Sousa COO / Co-founder| Kianda Nocode Platform Ireland
Great to hear that you agree Luis and thank you for your feedback.

From my experience when organisations consider these 3 core factors, usually the outcome is a digital transformation that is lean and agile.

Derya Sousa COO / Co-founder| Kianda Nocode Platform Ireland
Hi Nguyen, thank you for your comment. Absolutely change management is so important.

I believe we need well planned change management for any new system we implement to achieve long term success.

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