Quickbase Issues Second Annual Industry Report on the State of Citizen Development

Research finds 40 percent of businesses able to develop apps at least twice as fast as traditional methods; low-code apps moving beyond internal use to delight the customer

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., October 27, 2016 – Quickbase Inc., a leading low-code application development platform provider, today released its second annual study on citizen development, building on the results of last year’s inaugural research to show how the movement has evolved over time. The report revealed citizen developers are moving beyond singular uses to embrace low-code solutions as multi-purpose platforms, using them to create a growing diversity of apps.

The 2016 State of Citizen Development Report draws from research conducted by Quickbase both within its own user base and across the general population of app developers. The research contains insights on the growing adoption and interest in citizen development as well as the specific benefits this approach brings to organizations of every size and industry. Citizen developers are a growing movement of business employees creating and maintaining apps without writing a line of code. Gartner predicts by 2020, 60 percent of all fast-mode application development projects will be done outside of formal IT teams, driven by the rise of citizen developers¹. The full Quickbase report is available here: https://www.quickbase.com/state-of-citizen-development-report.

Compared with 2015’s industry-first research, this year’s findings demonstrate citizen development has evolved considerably in the past year, with no-code users achieving greater enhancements in speed and efficiency relative to their counterparts with traditional coding skill sets. Among the general population of app developers surveyed, a majority said they were able to deliver apps in less than a month. This contrasts sharply with traditional hand-coded apps, for which two-thirds (67 percent) of developers reported requiring over two months, and nearly one-third (31 percent) required more than six. Four in five (80 percent) respondents named speed as one of the top reasons for using citizen development, and developers seem to be getting faster: among citizen developers using Quickbase, 42 percent are now able to create apps at least twice as fast as traditional methods. This is a marked uptick from 2015’s finding of 29 percent.

“Over the last year, citizen development has gone from a grassroots movement to an integral part of an organization’s strategy,” said Karen Devine, VP of Marketing at Quickbase. “Our findings this year underscore why the trend is garnering so much attention. By eliminating the complexity involved with app development, line-of-business workers—not just business analysts or IT—can get involved. As a result, organizations are creating customer-facing and employee-facing applications even faster by tapping into a larger pool developers who can solve the problems they know best.”

“Today, the trend toward citizen development is accelerating in organizations of all types and sizes,” Gartner states in a recent report. “Most are finding that citizen development projects can reduce IT workloads when managed appropriately; for example, citizen development projects that meet a ‘sweet spot’ for deployments can streamline the IT effort and enable corporate IT resources to focus on critical success factors rather than on small, and less business-critical, projects. Citizen development also enables IT to focus on moving ‘big rocks,’ rather than juggling ‘small pebbles.’”²

Additional findings of the report include:

  • App Development Becoming An Organization-Wide Job: More citizen developers now consider app development a part of their day job, with over three-quarters (76 percent) of Quickbase app builders agreeing, up from 68 percent in 2015.
  • Citizen Development Becoming More Indispensable: The Quickbase platform replaced an average of 11 point solutions in 2016, an increase from 2015’s average of eight solutions.
  • Low-Code Apps No Longer Limited to Internal Use: More than one-third (35 percent) of Quickbase app builders reported creating customer-facing apps, up from 27 percent in 2015.
  • Different Models of Citizen Development Emerge with Focus on Collaboration: The report also detailed three typical citizen development approaches, including business-led (62 percent of respondents reported that line-of-business managers are doing most of the citizen development); balanced development (21 percent reported IT and citizen developers working together); and IT-led (17 percent reported that IT is leading efforts to complete apps for citizen developers).

To illustrate the results of the report, Quickbase also published an infographic detailing these findings, available here.


The results were compiled from two separate surveys. First, a survey of 205 Quickbase customers conducted in May 2016 at the Quickbase EMPOWER 2016 user conference, with a margin of error of five percent. The second was conducted in partnership with IDG in June/July 2016 and surveyed 153 custom app developers and users in the United States, with a margin of error of five percent.

1. Gartner: Predicts 2016: Application Development, December 9, 2015.
2. Gartner: Citizen Development Success Depends on an Equal Partnership Between Business and IT Leaders, Nov. 25, 2015.