As defined by Gartner, a citizen developer is a persona for an employee who creates application capabilities to be used by themselves or others – for example, forms, automations, connections to other systems. The increase in citizen development is part of the trend towards the democratisation of IT – people who don’t sit in the IT department being able to access sophisticated technical capabilities without technical or development training. These people are working within individual business units and are using no-code tools to rapidly develop applications. They simply don’t need advanced technical training. They need an analytical mindset and an understanding of their subject matter, but they don’t need to be developers. And they are on the rise – with an ever-increasing younger, more tech-savvy workforce wanting to develop their own applications. Gartner further showed in 2021 that 41% of organisations already used a platform for citizen development, while another 27% expected to use one within the next 12 months.
What are the implications of this for legal? Who are the new citizen developers in law? We’ve heard from a number of them in this white paper. In a GC’s office, they are the legal ops specialists who sit in the legal innovations department and their role is, with input from the legal experts, to assess the challenges the department faces and begin to develop these applications. In law firms, it’s not the front-line lawyers developing these applications (although as we’ve shown in this paper, they will have a massive contribution to make) but rather the Legal Tech teams.
We are witnessing the rise of multi-functional teams to develop solutions. Lawyers or people with legal expertise plus IT departments who arrange and secure the correct platforms for delivery, join with citizen developers or legal technologists. The latter of these, take the expertise of their lawyers, assess the solution that needs creating and then are developing them on no-code platforms. And no-code is a massive growth area – Gartner predicted a 23 percent expansion within business Worldwide during 2021.
The implication for cost reduction by moving this functionality out of pure IT development and into legal is massive. Automation is now in the hands of the citizen developer making it possible to automate areas that previously could not as the gains in time simply did not justify the investment.