Does your business need citizen developers? Here’s how you can find out!
By: Siddharth Wadehra, Head of Research
The advent of no-platforms has kickstarted an interesting trend -- the rise of citizen developers in the enterprise. Increasingly, the world is turning to technology to solve business problems and there is an acute shortage of skilled tech talent to develop these applications. Citizen developers have the potential to bridge this vast talent gap without the steep learning curve which software programming entails. In fact, a study indicated that a majority (97%) of citizen developers responsible for launching apps had only word processing/spreadsheet skills while only about 8% had experience with some kind of coding.
Who are citizen developers and does your organization need them? What is the benefit that citizen developers might provide to your organization? Citizen development is business users with little to no coding experience but are building simple business applications with IT-approved technology, like no-code, to improve their day-to-day productivity or existing business processes. Eventually, they could be empowered to launch applications which would collaborate with partners and customers to provide seamless experience.
Citizen developer: A powerful new resource
A study indicates the impact on business when IT is not able to deliver solutions in a timely manner.
Citizen development can be a powerful movement in both small businesses and enterprise-level organizations. You can leverage it in a strategic way to make sure each department has somebody who can help with the creation and optimization of workflow applications. Subsequently, each department can join forces through the mediation of these citizen developers, resulting in a better alignment between business and IT departments.
Still unsure whether your organization needs citizen developers? We have compiled a list of questions that could help you evaluate whether you would need a no-code platform to empower citizen developers in your organization.
Challenges in the Organization Your Citizen Developers Can Help You Overcome
1. Does your organization have budget and time constraints on experimentation?
While we all might agree that innovation and agile experimentation are the need of the hour, the ground reality is that most employees are so tied up with their business-as-usual tasks, that they just do not have the bandwidth to reach out to their customers and launch applications which would improve their experience with the brand. To make matters worse, most companies, especially in the business environment today, are on a shoe-string budget which does not allow for any room for experimentation or innovation. Wouldn’t it be ideal if your organization has access to tools which would allow for rapid experimentation at only a fraction of the cost?
Enter no-code application development platforms. These platforms allow citizen developers to click together and test their own minimum viable products in safe runtime environments, guided by their managers and supported by their central IT department. Part of their job description is to experiment towards the right solution from a business-driven perspective, a process that eventually leads to a better end-product.
2. Does your organization still primarily rely on legacy systems to support operations?
These days, part of how organizations are boosting their software systems is to replace legacy systems with custom built applications. They choose to have business teams develop software themselves rather than rely on third-party providers and full-stack developers. They decide for themselves which features will be part of their application infrastructure, avoid paying for functionality they don’t want and can take their software far beyond the limits of closed third party systems. Furthermore, the architecture of the no-code platform allows for a high scalability and reusability of business-driven solutions across enterprise infrastructures. Citizen developers play a vital part in this process as they know which solutions are required in order to be most productive. They can work closely with the IT department in setting up a custom architecture that facilitates and oversees the work processes within each department.
3. Would your organization like to innovate more?
In a time when each company has to virtually deal with global competition, it’s vital that a business maintains a competitive edge over its competitors and any of the startups staking claim in the pie. It’s no surprise that some of the most successful companies in the world do this by spending a great deal of resources on their innovation departments. They might have a viable business model now, but it’s important for them to also remain on top going into the future. Understandably, those who fail to innovate will likely fall behind. Those who can remain relevant over time have a tendency to grow and thrive.
As an organization, you need to internally analyze whether you would like to innovate more to be ready for any challenges that appear in the horizon. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in your organization is empowered with the tools to innovate without perhaps having all the technical skillsets required to do so?
4. Does your organization still grapple with issues around productivity? If certain departments have heavy dependencies on IT to turn their ideas into viable solutions, the overall productivity within the organization drops. But if each team is empowered to optimize its own work processes, team members do not only become more self-sufficient and satisfied in their daily work, but they can also potentially streamline important business processes that benefit the entire organization.
What’s also important here is the fact that business users exactly know the expectations from the end customers, which often gets lost in the translation to the IT team. Usually, the IT team comes up with products which are either not intuitive to use or need re-work in terms of additional features which need to be added to the application; significantly affecting productivity in the organization.
5. Does your organization have issues with business processes?
With automation and digital transformation in the minds of business executives, you would still be surprised with the number of organizations still opting to use manual processes or MS Excel to support their daily operations. Although MS Excel is a great tool for specific purposes, anyone would agree that it is not the best when it comes to streamlining processes. Working in old-fashioned ways can also cause limitations in terms of extensions and data transfers.
By opting for a citizen development strategy with a no-code development platform at its core, you can incorporate all these processes into a decentralized database with central oversight. In this way, you can guarantee that all your data is in one place, apply proper security measures, and greatly prevent the risk of data loss. Not to mention, it would be a great start to your digital transformation journey by automating processes.
If you have answered ‘YES’ to most of the questions listed above, then its time for you to have a look at the no-code application development platforms out there. By providing a development strategy that is active within every corner of your business and fosters collaboration between different types of developers, citizen development introduces your business to an innovation philosophy that can be appropriated by the entire organization.
Steer: The Platform to Empower Citizen Developers Innovate
A platform like Steer has been designed for citizen developers like yourself to roll out applications in a matter of minutes to hours. Pre-built templates and seamless third-party integrations ensure that Steer is the preferred choice of the anyone who is looking to innovate in the enterprise. The platform is competitively priced to ensure that with every additional application you launch, the return-on-investment becomes substantially higher.
References:  Digital disconnect: A study of business and IT alignment in 2019 (https://www.mendix.com/resources/digital-disconnect-a-study-of-business-and-it-alignment-in-2019/)