The Need For Citizen Developers

Considering how fast-paced everything is today, business leaders and professionals should no longer have to deal with piles of manual paperwork and outdated systems. It doesn’t uplift team members, nor does it advance organizations. The more technologically behind an enterprise is, the more inefficient business practices are. IT departments don’t profit anything from crusted software either. It puts them at a disadvantage and keeps them from maximizing not just their time, but also the value of the work they put out.

This narrative isn’t new. Innovations are pouring in faster than businesses can accommodate. As a result, several business users are now taking it on themselves to improve digital practices by optimizing no-code platforms and tools. With little to no technical background at all, more creatives, founders, and employees are rising to the digital challenge by whipping up software on their own.

This is the idea surrounding Citizen Development.

The value of citizen developers

The reality of business users turning to essential solutions such as creating desktop databases and spreadsheets without IT approval isn’t new. As a matter of fact, not only is it not new, it’s a celebrated norm! For the longest time, enterprises have encouraged team members to bridge business gaps with whatever available resources, automated or otherwise. 

What is new, on the other hand, is that more than 60% of companies today mentioned having utilized or plan to move forward with citizen development efforts in the coming years. This move only implies that enterprises are taking more seriously the significant impact of technology in their ventures. So much so, that tech research company, Gartner, predicts that citizen developers will outnumber professional developers by up to four times in the next three years!

Talk about a rapid shift.

Application development used to exist only within the space of traditional coders and computer engineers, but recent years have challenged that. Not only is the development of software more advanced today, but it’s also being democratized. To understand the irreversible transition to no-code, we need to refer to two perspectives:

The IT Standpoint

Everyone knows that IT teams spend the majority of their time keeping the engines rolling in an enterprise. But that isn’t the only expectation tech departments are called to meet. On top of having to hold together new apps designed to appease customer and business demands, IT professionals are also under tremendous pressure to contemporize a business’ IT infrastructure.

Recent studies find that close to 80% of IT leaders and more than 70% of entrepreneurs agree that IT teams are unable to complete necessary tasks on time because of the unending flow of IT solution requests. To make matters worse, the software developer unemployment rate is less than 2% globally. That means the stunning lack of IT wizards is remarkable and felt in sectors everywhere.

In an era that requires a whole lot of digitization and moving forward with technology, keeping coding exclusive to a small percentage of professionals isn’t doing businesses a favor. If indeed, IT needs to go beyond maintenance to start building software to further enterprise initiatives, IT organizations will need to empower and inspirit citizen developers to grow and thrive. In other words, to streamline tech efforts and projects, the workload will have to be shared.

Furthermore, the supervision of shadow IT needs to be accounted for, as well. When business users don’t tread in the right direction, citizen developers will most likely create unauthorized SaaS applications, which, in turn, can be harmful to companies.

The business standpoint

Today’s modern workforce is composed of tech-savvy professionals who expect that the innovations they enjoy in their personal lives should be available at work, too. Picture this: how sad would it be if employees could effortlessly apply for a credit card in as quickly as a few taps, but had to go through an ocean of paperwork in the office just to gather crucial data? It also isn’t a secret that dated technology impacts how your workforce deals with customers and other team members. The smoother processes are, the easier everyone gets everything done — that’s basic science!

That being the case, it’s completely logical how empowering business units to create digital solutions on their own is the best direction to take moving forward. As opposed to relying on IT a hundred percent of the time, the capacity to push for solutions in independence inhibits no one. Figures support this, too. A Gartner survey cites that enterprises that compel their employees to create digital solutions are more productive, and nearly 50% of IT teams that belong to these enterprises are more able to focus on business-led IT endeavours.

The more productive everyone is, the higher the job satisfaction and the lower the attrition rate.

Really, it’s a win-win for everyone.

What’s next for IT and citizen development?

Citizen development may not enjoy mainstream discussions in enterprises yet, but to deny its existence would be false, too. What’s next and what’s warranted for tech departments is to adapt to citizen development all the more, and empower business units to take on what they can. No-code providers such as are leading the way, and the only thing that’s left is for the modern professional and entrepreneur to catch up.

Do you have concerns in this space you’d like to discuss? Call us, and we’ll help you out!

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