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Citizen Development – What is it?


Neutrinos - June 30, 2020 - 0 comments

The term ‘citizen development’ refers to employees within a company who are non-professional developers who have been given access by the IT to a visual integrated development environment (IDE) where they can build apps for use by others. In the IDE environment, a citizen developer can use drag and drop application components and connect them in such a way as to generate a new web or mobile application. The tools used by citizen developers are mostly low code or no-code platforms that are sanctioned by IT. The low code or no-code software can help employees build powerful applications which are flexible in terms of meeting the organisations growth requirements. 

However, developing an application from scratch and then launching it is still a complex process and needs a certain skill set from the developer. Training citizen developers on the skill sets required is a long, arduous and difficult proposition – unless the low-code app building solutions are used. 

Many enterprises are not very keen to look at this technology as they feel that an employee can create many kinds of apps that could mess up their operations in a big way. However, this is not true at all. The IT team in the company will create the underlying enterprise infrastructure and be in full control of it while the employees will be able to build low code or no-code solutions on top of that platform only.  

The benefits of citizen development

  • The cost benefits of allowing employees to become citizen developers are significant on two fronts:
    • First, there will not be a need to hire many expensive experienced and knowledgeable developers to build extensive enterprise programs. 
    • Secondly, when low code or no-code is implemented, enterprises are greatly increasing the number of employees who can contribute immensely to their digital transformation. 
  • Low-code/no-code platforms have also been found to foster cooperation and collaboration within departments in an organisation. Using these platforms with their built-in Agile development tools helps the business side of the enterprise collaborate with the IT group and develop and create new functionalities as a team. It is also an ideal way to ensure that the final outcome is exactly what meets the specific requirements of the enterprise. 
  • Considering that creating apps using low-code/no-code involves a visual process using pre-built models, citizen developers can build apps in far less time than it would normally take using the traditional methods. This means that the time spent on app testing and development is also reduced considerably, allowing the organisation to respond to changes in the market and business environment quickly and effectively. As a result of this, productivity levels will also improve. 

Working with citizen development

While it might seem that low-code is the solution to all of an enterprise’s digital transformation programs, users will need to have a thorough understanding of their company’s processes, and the customer engagement challenges that the company faces. While these employees might not have the knowledge or the expertise of traditional programmers, they can also create very effective applications using the graphical building tools. 

While there are downsides to citizen development, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. What is of prime importance is that enterprises must take steps to instruct their employees – potential citizen developers, of the immense promise that low-code/no-code applications hold. It is only then that enterprises can hope to reap the full rewards of this technology. Besides allowing employees the use of tools, it is important that employees are trained in their use so that they can utilise the tools to the maximum benefit of the enterprise. While adequate training is one of the crucial success factors, the other crucial success factor is that the enterprise needs to ensure that the non-professional developers need to be firmly under the guidance and control of the IT team to ensure that the best intentions of the enterprise are always first and foremost in all of their efforts. 

With specialised solutions for the insurance industry, Neutrinos is helping leading insurers take impactful digital transformation decisions. Leveraging on inherent technical experience and expertise along with a deep understanding of client requirements, Neutrinos is excited to help clients make this journey an ongoing success. Let us help transform your business through our low code solutions. Talk to our experts today!

References:

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/johneverhard/2019/01/22/the-pros-and-cons-of-citizen-development/#55a4b23b84fd 

 

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