IT Leaders: 5 Reasons to Encourage Citizen Developers in Your Business

Written By: Alexandra Levit
May 12, 2020
3 min read

Editor’s Note: This blog post was updated on Tuesday May 12, 2020

Traditionally, internal IT and business users haven’t always been aligned. Now there is an opportunity to unite these teams and drive results: embrace citizen developers.

In our view, citizen developers are empowered problem-solvers from the various lines of business who have the drive and determination to engage in application development, even though they lack traditional coding skills with popular programming languages. Citizen developers are using low-code platforms to improve their unique processes and workflows.

There are a number of benefits that come with endorsing citizen development within your organization like increasing speed to market, reducing costs, improving collaboration and transparency. Here are some additional reasons IT leaders may want to begin embracing citizen development.

Empowering the Experts

There is a large and growing gap between the demands on organizations to innovate and serve customers better and the supply of technical talent and innovation capabilities they possess.

In fact, most enterprise IT departments do not have enough resources to handle every request that comes in and must therefore prioritize by value to the overall business. This mismatch of supply and demand only highlights the necessity of citizen developers.

Citizen development empowers those closest to the work to rapidly develop their own solutions, freeing up internal IT developers to focus on mission critical projects and other strategic initiatives, while also maintaining governance and security.

Rapidly Create Custom Solutions

The strain on resources in IT can mean a longer wait for the rest of the enterprise to get the solutions they need to solve their biggest challenges.

By embracing citizen development, not only are IT leaders bridging the gap between IT and business users, but are enabling users to quickly create these solutions that may be negatively affecting the company’s bottom line.

Using low-code platforms, citizen developers can significantly increase their speed to market, with easy to create solutions. Additionally, as the pace of change continues to grow, citizen development helps organizations respond quickly by continuously adapting to meet changing needs and requirements.

Keeping Pace with The Market

As every business becomes a digital business, there needs to be systems in place that can keep up with the tech disruption. Legacy systems and traditional methods of IT application development are struggling to do just that.

By enabling those outside of IT to develop their own solutions for their unique workflows or challenges, the business can become more agile to better respond to the changing marketplace. Instead of complex and expensive custom installations the business can augment and automate processes as their market changes.

Better Partnerships Between IT and the Business

There are numerous benefits to enabling citizen development, but there are also some concerns that IT leaders must address beforehand as it relates to issues like security and governance.

Those concerns are real and understandable. But, with proper processes, controls, and practices put in place companies can safely and securely enable and eventually scale citizen development within the enterprise.

Citizen developers are not professional IT application developers –but that isn’t a bad thing. Professional IT application developers have years formal software development training which allows them to tackle critical strategic initiatives that add enormous value to the business. By working together, citizen developers can also add value by rapidly developing solutions to those problems they are closest to and have a deeper understanding.

Alexandra Levit’s goal is to help people find meaningful jobs - quickly and simply - and to succeed beyond measure once they get there. Follow her @alevit.

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