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Citizen Development Insights

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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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Cameron McGaughy
Ron Immink
Jody Temple White
Mario Trentim
Jelili Odunayo Kazeem
Jason Mayall
Chandrasekaran Audivaragan
Ryan Whitmore
Vivek Goel
Derya Sousa
Justin Sears
Raveesh Dewan
Dalibor Ninkovic
Ian Gosling
Kimberly Whitby

Past Contributors:

Elizabeth Jordan
Arjun Jamnadass
Rogerio Sandim
Martin Kalliomaki
Richard Earley
Maelisa Woulfe
Octavio Arranz

Recent Posts

Citizen Development as a Strategy for Weathering Economic Downturns

No-Code Citizen Development tools can fill a void caused by the Great Resignation

The Secret Sauce of getting Started with ‘No-Code’

Progress not Perfection: The Importance of simple steps in Digital Transformation

How the Rise of the Citizen Developer Enables the Scaling of Automation Across the Legal Sector

Citizen Development as a Strategy for Weathering Economic Downturns

Categories: best practices

Citizen development empowers non-technical employees to create and modify business applications to meet their specific needs. This approach allows companies to leverage the knowledge and expertise of their own employees to quickly and inexpensively develop solutions to specific business challenges. In times of recession and economic slowdown, citizen development can help companies in several ways.

First, citizen development can help companies to become more agile and responsive to changing market conditions. Traditional software development processes can be slow and inflexible, making it difficult for companies to adapt quickly to new market opportunities or challenges. Citizen development, on the other hand, allows non-technical employees to create and modify business applications quickly and easily, enabling companies to respond to changes in the market more quickly during the recession.

Second, citizen development can help companies to save money by reducing the need for expensive external software development resources. Traditional software development can be costly, especially with external development teams. By empowering non-technical employees to create and modify business applications, companies can reduce their reliance on external development resources and save money.

Third, citizen development can help engage and motivate employees by allowing them to contribute directly to the company's success. Non-technical employees often have valuable knowledge and expertise about the specific needs and challenges of the business. By giving them the tools and support to create and modify business applications, companies can tap into this expertise and help to engage and motivate employees.

In conclusion, citizen development can help companies to fight economic slowdown by enabling them to become more agile, save money, and engage and motivate employees. By empowering non-technical employees to create and modify business applications, companies can quickly and inexpensively develop solutions to specific business challenges and stay competitive in challenging economic times.

Posted by Vivek Goel on: December 21, 2022 06:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

No-Code Citizen Development tools can fill a void caused by the Great Resignation

Since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic and the arrival of the Great Resignation, in which hordes of people deserted their employment in search of better opportunities, low-code development platforms have experienced significant growth.

Software engineers are particularly hard to find, which has left businesses rushing to acquire skilled software specialists who can aid in business process transformation.

48.6% of respondents in a January poll of 380 businesses by research firm IDC said they were buying low-code or no-code platforms to bring innovation in-house. "Needs connected to the epidemic" was the second most common justification for purchasing software solutions (39.3%).

To respond quickly to needs prompted by the epidemic, organizations recognized the value in low-code and no-code platforms, according to IDC's report.

Low-code software development platforms are increasing by over 20% annually. The no-code/low-code development technology industry generated $13.8 billion in sales in 2021. And by 2023, more than 50% of medium-sized to large businesses are anticipated to have implemented low-code development.

The COVID-19 pandemic's economic effects, according to a report by Gartner's research vice president Fabrizio Biscotti, "have proven the no-code/low-code value proposition." No-code/Low-code features that enable remote work, such as digital forms and workflow automation, will be provided at more flexible prices because they are necessary to maintain operations.

As almost any business user can build applications without relying on the IT, no-code/low-code technology is intended to bridge that gap. According to Gartner, from less than 25% in 2020, 70% of new apps created by businesses would use low-code or no-code technologies by 2025.

The number of No-code Low-code platforms is on the rise

According to Gartner research, business technologists or employees outside of IT typically modify or develop their data or technological solutions. By the end of 2025, 50% of all new low-code customers, according to Gartner, will come from non-IT business purchasers.

A global poll by Salesforce's MuleSoft revealed that 93% of CIOs believe the Great Resignation has made it more difficult to find qualified developers. And 91% of firms claim they require solutions that automate crucial development processes to accomplish more with fewer resources.

IDC data shows that 39% of 380 enterprise respondents want to adopt low-code and no-code development platforms within the following two years, and 9% already use them.

In addition, the IDC poll found that the top three investment areas for platform-as-a-service providers were application platforms for business app development, including low and no code. 45.5%  of poll participants said they anticipated increasing their expenditure on app development during the following two years.

According to Gartner, all leading SaaS companies today offer capabilities that combine low-code development methods. The leading providers of low-code software are Appian, Retool, Salesforce Platform, Creatio, Oracle Application Express, and ServiceNow App Engine.

The adoption of these vendors' platforms and the popularity of SaaS will drive growth in low-code application platforms and process automation tools, according to a report from Gartner.

No-code Low-code now is a feasible option

An organization usually obtains business software through one of the following routes:

  • Purchasing it from a vendor
  • Leasing it from a SaaS provider
  • Developing it internally

Internally developed business applications are designed to meet organizational requirements like a custom suit. Additionally, it often costs more and takes longer to produce than purchasing software off the market.

No-code low-code development tools use the frequently used codebase and the graphical user interface when building an application.

No-code Low-code platforms eliminate the need for typical app developers by allowing business people with little formal coding experience, like business analysts or project managers, to create apps.

Additionally, some individuals want to learn a new skill, work from home, and change careers. Many more people are interested in working in technology but face obstacles like lack of funding or access to suitable training and ignorance of available options.

Let's talk specifically about No-Code

Low-code development's composable nature makes it possible to create anything- data model, business logic, workflows, or user interface (UI). No-code is a further evolution of development tools. 

Fundamentally something like "no-code" doesn't exist, and it's more of a layman. It suggests that amateur developers or business users should only use such tools. To speed up software creation, developers frequently employ no-code or low-code techniques.

Vendors of low-code or no-code tools constantly ping leaders in application and software engineering, promising speed and simplicity. Additionally, according to Gartner, business unit leaders are asking for more tools so that business technologists—also known as "technology producers"—who do not report to IT can create apps and automation to satisfy business needs.

No-code also does not imply that no technical knowledge is required. No-code tools aim to give users all the necessary building blocks, typically on an ongoing basis. These vendors try to offer small assembly blocks so business users or developers can put together a more prominent custom application component, if necessary, without writing a single line of code. 

Functions No-Code Development Platforms Support 

Business models are being altered or replaced to strike that balance between present capabilities and anticipated future demands. Organizations must significantly change how their business and technical teams function and develop. Organizations may transform their workforce into a network of highly effective, linked groups using no-code platforms, allowing them to innovate with technology and create custom apps for their most important goals. These essential components make no-code a must.

  1. User Interface builder

Users can assemble pre-configured components to build websites or software with no-code platforms. They have to drag and drop modules into a logical chain. For example - users can build a comprehensive web page comprising a header, footer, dynamic forms, tables, and images - just by a simple drag and drop - within minutes.

  1. Integration

No-code platforms have pre-built connectors that enable users to integrate their no-code applications with external systems seamlessly. From Twitter to Slack and everything in between, users can integrate various applications with their no-code apps.  

  1. Workflow automation

Using the drag-and-drop functionality, non-programmers can create streamlined workflows (automation sequences) by choosing from a list of pre-configured steps and putting them in a logical flow. Ready-to-use workflow templates can also be used for specific triggers or actions.  

  1. Reports and Dashboards builder

Business users can create customized reports and dashboards to convert real-time data into actionable data grids, visualizations, and metrics using the visual and intuitive drag-and-drop interface. 

Takeaway

While many manufacturers tout amateur and citizen developers, what matters most is that users can put together meaningful software to accomplish their goals. The quality of applications built using no-code tools depends on the business user. The bottom line is that low-code/no-code tools allow companies to quickly deploy solutions that are at par with fully programmed and optimized solutions. They are a must-have in an environment where quick deployment is essential.

Posted by Vivek Goel on: November 15, 2022 01:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

The Secret Sauce of getting Started with ‘No-Code’

A growing number of businesses are turning to low- and no-code platforms in order to enable IT and business staff the opportunity to build apps. As a result, many businesses find these platforms to be a vital element of their operation. 

Nearly nine out of ten no-code platform users globally claimed their roles are crucial to business success, saying that they directly enhanced business performance in a survey of 318 customer firms worldwide. 

The study concluded that no-code apps enable a more comprehensive range of people to work on development. Women make up nearly half of the users; four out of ten are Millennials and seven out of ten work in non-IT areas.

Defining no-code

Software design solutions that allow non-technical users to run software without creating a single line of code are called no-code frameworks. 

These tools visualise offer user-friendly interfaces and drag-and-drop capabilities to help you visualise the implementation process and express your general business logic. 

It’s a programming platform that uses a visual development interface to allow non-technical users to construct apps by dragging and dropping software components to create a complete application. No code does not necessitate any prior coding knowledge on the user’s part.

Process of building application with no-code

1. Set up and agreement of priority

Consider no-code applications as a viable alternative to traditional IT requests in the areas of your business where there are problems or critical difficulties. Seek input from other leadership team members and the workforce as a whole.

2. Choosing the technology stack

Despite the fact that no-code platforms are meant to be used by non-programmers, they must integrate seamlessly into your existing IT architecture.

3. Start with a pilot

Beginning with a small pilot project that affects a single company procedure is always the wisest course of action. It is essential to conduct pilots so that you may learn from your mistakes as you go along.

4. IT mentors

IT executives have a wide range of experience in dealing with various groups’ security, integration, and user adoption issues. Leaders must assign IT liaisons to teams using no-code tools so that they can monitor the work of individuals developing business apps and keep in touch with IT regularly.

5. Security issues

A continual relationship between IT and line of business builders is needed to ensure that organisations can maintain a safe infrastructure while supporting the creation of no-code apps. When it comes to IT oversight, it depends on the nature of the apps being developed and how tightly they are linked to other departments’ activities.

6. Documentation

The first step in implementing no-code tools is for IT and business leaders to collaborate on a policy that identifies the various parties involved as well as the processes and technology that will be required. On the other hand, no-code developers should establish detailed programme roadmaps for their prospective consumers.

7. Trust buildup

As a result of allowing staff the power to design applications, leaders must refrain from micromanaging while encouraging regular communication and updates.

8. App testing

To begin even a simple pilot programme, leaders must implement a rigorous quality assurance methodology. To ensure that new apps are fully functional, they should be put through their paces by actual users from the organisation. Moving to a real-time production environment for the apps should only be done.

9. Prepare for challenges

Developing no-code software is trial and error, and organisations will likely expand on their initial successes over time. Leaders can focus on more strategic matters if workers have the tools to handle some of their difficulties.

Does investing in no-code make sense? 

In terms of business, what are the advantages of no-code programme creation? In addition to time savings, cost savings, and a single platform, WEM’s no-code creation methodology delivers value to the firm when developing business-critical applications.

Several benefits of no-code software development have been discussed: 

  • It’s best to concentrate on the app’s core without coding. You will spend more time with your clients and create something they will appreciate using a no-code application-building platform, focusing on the application’s core.
  • No-code architecture tools simplify front-end UI design by providing rich models that can be used and customised. You don’t have to start from zero in UI/UX, so you can spend more time with your clients and improve your app experience.
  • 80 per cent lower development cost is guaranteed in no-code. Conventional and DevOps software development methods are expensive. Recruit technical skills higher up. Front-end and back-end developers, security consultants, financial experts, and software and cloud professionals may be needed. No-code applications encapsulate front-end and back-end development. One back-end or front-end developer can build the stack. They can evolve faster without starting from scratch. Building on a network eliminates the need to consider cases, databases, and security. 

Final thoughts

There is no way the no-code wave is stopping. For businesses to stay afloat in the ever-evolving world, starting with no-code adoption can pave the way for survival.

According to Gartner, by 2025, 70 per cent of new applications developed by enterprises will use no-code or low-code technologies. Jump on this no-code joyride!

Posted by Vivek Goel on: October 20, 2022 06:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

Progress not Perfection: The Importance of simple steps in Digital Transformation

I spoke to a law firm's technology leader a few weeks ago about how she planned to further develop their digital transformation plans.

One of their practices is family law, and we talked about their work so far to help clients plan their inheritance.  Here is what they had done as a first step.  They had sent the clients an online form to fill in and had the questions and answers automatically put into a PDF document and emailed to the lawyer the client was going to meet.  This simple step is a stroke of brilliance.

This is not the most technologically challenging thing in the world to do.  Nor is it perfect.  But it is an awful lot better than what was happening before.  

Before the firm implemented the online form, the first meeting would be the client telling their lawyer many essential details.  Did they have children?  Did they own a property or many properties?  The lawyer would be scribbling notes or frantically typing fields into the matter management system.  Time would fly by, and the meat of the discussion would be limited.  Now the lawyer showed up with all the details in hand, and that vital first face-to-face engagement with the client was more advice-driven, more productive and gave a better impression of the firm.

The point here is that it is best to start simple and expand step by step. In the 'hyperagile' world of no-code, where you can make a change in minutes and release a new version in seconds, you don't need to get to perfect before release, just to better.  ('Hyperagile' - good, isn't it?  It's your new favourite awful buzzword.)

Delivering better often and not perfect at some unknown point in the future has some critical advantages.

First, you deliver value to your end users faster.  In this case, the frontline lawyer and client got a precious improvement in performance from something straightforward.  And that means they are now more open to other changes that the digital transformation programme may bring.

The second benefit is much less obvious.  

If you are going to shoot for perfection, you have to know what perfection looks like.  But the chances are you have no idea.  People with different points of view will have different visions of the ideal.  And, of course, what is perfect now may not be in a few months.   

If you are delivering progress, you don't have to have that model of perfection.  You can change and evolve as you go along.  It is better to deliver the next step and get actual usage data and feedback that guides you to the next stage than to strive for some abstract ideal.

It is something that the software industry has learned painfully over the years, and it is a lesson that anyone leading digital transformation should remember.

Posted by Ian Gosling on: September 28, 2022 09:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

How the Rise of the Citizen Developer Enables the Scaling of Automation Across the Legal Sector

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.

Posted by Ian Gosling on: September 20, 2022 05:42 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
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