Citizen Development: what is it and Why Does It Matter?
Developers who are citizens are just non-IT workers who recognize opportunities for using technological advances to make jobs simpler to do and faster. They utilize cloud-based non-code and low-code tools to develop programs with an intuitive interface and a mouse, instead of codes.
The concept of citizen development is being promoted by many–especially platforms and consultants who use them as a quasi-magical solution to the development problems facing enterprises. If only that was the situation. For the vast majority of organizations, citizen development, at a minimum according to popular belief is not always successful.
Before we discuss the reasons and what you can accomplish, we’ll clarify what we’re talking about “a citizen developer” is an individual whose job isn’t in development but who nonetheless creates applications, usually using low-code/no-code (LCNC) software. The idea behind this practice is to solve two main issues first, the app backlog that many companies face. In simple terms, there’s more need than available, which means that teams working on development frequently struggle in keeping up. In reality, 86% of IT decision-makers claim that the largest digital transformation problem is that there is a lack of software developers. Second, the stakeholder/developer disconnect problem which, to be clear, is a two-way street: developers often lack an innate understanding of the business challenges facing users, while users often misunderstand what is technically possible.
Why Do You Need Citizen Development Now?
Nowadays, both customers, as well as employees, require more online interactions. Customers are used to getting their needs quickly and easily through mobile apps and traditional websites. In addition, the majority of American adults use the internet at least once per day.
In addition, employees are consumers. They use technology daily to make their lives more convenient, such as buying lunch on the internet! Therefore, when they arrive at work, they’re likely to finish routine tasks, such as making a simple Executive Key Performance Indicator (KPI) change as fast as they can purchase an item.
If employees aren’t able to manage their professional lives in the same way as they manage their personal lives, they are dissatisfied. Over the years, innovative non-IT employees have eased their frustration with software, forms, macros, and many other methods to make their day-to-day tasks easier, sometimes without the support or assistance of IT.
Sometimes, these efforts have been successful well, but frequently their efforts have added stress on IT by putting systems at risk or establishing “shadow IT” organizations.
Fortunately, the latest platform for citizen developers permits non-IT workers to be official citizen developers, that are fully supported by the company and working with, not against IT. Furthermore, the platforms permit citizen developers to effectively improve business processes as well as provide the metrics you need to manage your business.
With a well-designed citizen development program implemented, you will enjoy happier employees and more efficient operations as you allow IT to concentrate on the most important demands.
What’s driving Citizen Development?
Software platforms that are low-code or no-code are the mainstays of the movement for citizen development. They enable non-IT users to create applications with ease using tools for development designed specifically for business professionals rather than application development and delivery experts. These tools for users are user-friendly and include drag-and-drop designs with Excel-like interfaces as well as application templates that define the forms and logic, data, and integration.
Of course that using pre-built code components comes with advantages and disadvantages, however overcoming the obstacles helps you to maximize the benefits.
Benefits of No-Code and Low-Code Citizen Platforms for Development
No-code and low-code platforms allow team members to address their problems, giving more autonomy, and increasing the satisfaction of employees. The levels of satisfaction will continue to rise for all employees as the tools become more simple to utilize, the development cycles are reduced, and productivity rises.
In addition, no-code and low-code solutions can reduce the day-to-day load on IT. When business users create applications that they require to do their job IT personnel can address the more complex issues they were hired to solve.
Additionally, many vendors offer simple, affordable use of their services to test or ongoing tasks, as well as, provide support and help to avoid the requirement for training customers. This means that citizens can develop and run all applications on managed platforms. This gives the possibility for IT to direct, assist and manage their work without being overloaded.
The top platforms also provide several tools to help establish identities and roles as well as access rights, usually supplying security measures to speed up application development, oversee platforms, and fix issues with reliability and performance.
The result is speedy innovative solutions created by those who need them the most -those who work closely with the company and depend on these solutions for tackling daily business challenges.
Problems with Low-Code and No-Code Citizen Platforms for Development
Each challenge that low-code and no-code platforms provide solutions, but each solution enhances the benefits that these platforms provide.
In particular, a better understanding of the lines between IT and business will help you in your development efforts that are connected in any way to the development of citizens or not. When you make it easier for citizens to become developers and promote the adoption of this technology, development lifecycles will be streamlined as well as productivity continues to grow. As citizen developers confront and fix inefficiencies or poor design They will grow more self-sufficient and happy in their job.
- Citizenship development issues are solvable through:
- The right case for the right application
- Identifying the most promising citizen developers
- Selecting the right platform
- Implementing the Center of Excellence (CoE) strategy to create an environment to achieve achievement.
What are the best Citizen Development Use Examples?
The most effective citizen-driven development projects are those that use automation. They are based on our three of automation: a routine that is repeatable and based on rules. You’re looking for easy objectives which are cost-effective, yet provide efficient solutions in a short time.
To increase the complexity, it is possible to classify the projects into:
Notifications, Approvals smart forms. These initiatives for citizen development could assist key groups, such as the HR IT help desk, and HR facilities management.
End-to-end processes that link multiple databases or systems, and could also involve human interaction. For instance, citizens can help make improvements to the efficiency of business operations or workflows inside apps, or offer more user-friendly interfaces to existing apps. Reasoning Automation Intelligent Processing machines learning chatbots and Data analytics. Examples of this include tracking orders inventory, reporting analytics, management of contacts, or data integration can benefit from these tools.
Whatever the application an intelligently planned and effectively implemented citizen development project can speed up processes and help free IT resources. In the same way, it will improve efficiency and precision while reducing dependency on files and e-mail.
However, using citizen development in projects that are not appropriate for the type of project could result in issues. It is not recommended to make use of citizen development in the most important, strategic applications for business, like ERP or supply chain or the foundational client software. In the end, you don’t want to take five courses of French food in an application, do you?
However, choosing the right project is just one aspect of the challenge. Also, you must ensure that you pick the appropriate kind of staff to join your team of citizen development.
How do I identify Citizen Developers within My Organization?
According to the definition the term “citizen developer” refers to employees that are not associated with IT. Although they might know to program, it is not their primary job. Instead, they’re experts in their particular areas of the company. Their knowledge of business adds value to their apps, so they can develop the apps by the guidelines of IT’s development.
Qualities Good Citizen Developers Share
The majority of good citizen developers are driven to solve business issues and have a thorough grasp of what the company demands. They are the people other people turn to for help with business apps. They can optimize applications to meet specific requirements and love exploring the possibilities of technological advancements to improve their work more efficiently.
They should also be aware of the ways to improve processes through automated processes, RPA, or even hyper-automation, which is a mix of RPA as well as machine learning. The job titles within your company that could result in citizen developers are:
- The administrator of the application
- User support
- Business analyst
- User experience designer
- Front-end web designer
- Business Intelligence Specialist.
- Don’t Forget IT!
Citizens developers aren’t the only individuals you should think about. IT personnel are an essential component of any citizen development plan. Examine your current IT team to determine potential leaders. They should be pragmatically minded and have a good understanding of the potential risks that could arise as your program for citizen development expands. Also, you should take into account their capabilities in light of their daily responsibilities.
How do I Choose the Right Platform?
Many websites provide information about the different low-code and no-code citizen development platforms. However, knowing their functions won’t be helpful in the absence of having first identified the needs you have. Begin by working with your team to make a rubric to assist to select the best option.
Some of the most basic issues the rubric should address are:
- Do the tools have to function on mobile devices?
- How user-friendly does the experience have to be?
- How flexible are app features?
- What are my requirements for data design, data interaction, and requirements for data sources? Do I require software that has an integrated database?
- Are you interested in investigating the possibilities of using Artificial Intelligence (AI) either now or shortly?
- What amount and what kind of support do I most likely require from the vendor of my platform?
- What are the key components of architecture I require to enable citizen development projects to function securely with my enterprise applications?
- What do I need to know about my requirements for availability and scalability? Do I require support for multiple regions?
- How do I manage my workflows and does the platform be able to support these workflows?
Beyond these fundamental concerns are the more significant issues of cost of licensing, security and governance. We will examine these subjects in greater detail in the next three sections.
How Do I Operationalize Citizen Development?
With your group of developers from the community identified, the use cases selected, and the tools in place the team are excited to begin. As with any change that impacts the process and people involved it is best to begin slowly.
Find smaller, pilot projects that your teams need and can develop quickly. The quick wins you can deliver will increase participation and accelerate acceptance. It is possible to build more complicated projects as your program for citizen development grows.
Once you’ve started with your initiative, we recommend an eight-step plan to implement your citizen development project. The steps can be grouped into three stages: Define the concept, define and deliver.
Idea your journey to develop your citizen starts with a plan. Begin by discussing with your employees about their issues points, and then talk to your leaders about the various types of platforms for the development of citizens. Discuss risk in discussions for both technologies and processes. Are you able to draw the lessons you have learned on smaller-scale projects?
You should not just identify employees who can be great citizen developers, but also the tools systems, tools, and information sources that are accessible to them. There are probably certain tools for developing citizens within your business however, you’ve never considered them as the kind of tools you would use. Make sure you document your technology and human needs, as well as the requirements for your IT backlog.
Take into consideration your business as well as the IT aspects of your citizen-development program. Don’t just think about personnel, but also the different solutions your business has used previously. What was either successful or not?
Make clear your goals and vision. What goals do you intend to accomplish and what is the reason behind them? Explain the types of applications that you or your group plan to develop, how you’ll implement their apps, the role of citizen developers, and the departments that will be affected.
When choosing the platform think about who will control its structure. Will you incorporate existing tools onto the platform or eliminate them? Also, ensure that the training program is not just for the citizen developers, but also for administrators and IT support, too.
A CoE approach to citizen development lets you provide automated enterprise solutions and enables more than just rapid delivery of software. It also offers a governance structure for your employee’s technologies, and processes, and also for metrics. We will explore the CoE more in the coming days.
After choosing an easily manageable pilot project determine and share the requirements to ensure its success. The pilot’s purpose is more than just testing technologies. It must also convey training, rollout plans, and expectations.
Once you’ve confirmed that your infrastructure and governance are in place, start rolling out the features demonstrated through the test. Prepare for a high amount of training and support at the beginning, and also make sure employees are committed to the rollout by the branding process, marketing internally, or even incentives.
As your implementation continues, establish an environment that encourages continuous learning through identifying resources online that offer additional training, encouraging citizen developers to seek certifications, and identifying the champions for citizen development within your company for education and support. Inform your customers about the success frequently via newsletters, periodic updates as well as activity monitors.
The CoE will gather information to assess the return on investment from their citizen program, as well as areas with greater potential. The CoE offers a central location to report on how the platform’s operation is going and also departmental and business unit-level information.
Citizen development is our future. Based on Gartner, “By 2026, the number of active citizen developers within large corporations will be at minimum four times the number of professionals.”
This is the perfect time to embark on your journey. It’s not going to be an easy process but the rewards are worth the effort. Begin small, set up a CoE in place, and provide citizen developers and IT staff the tools to work in Brisk Logic. Once your citizen development program is set up correctly it will work in your company just as simple as making lunch reservations for your employees!
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