What is citizen automation and development?

Citizen automation and development is the enterprise practice of business technologists, not professionally trained in a software discipline, to create, automate, deploy and continuously improve digital solutions critical to their business in a secure, controlled and disciplined manner that is sanctioned and governed by IT.

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An overview of citizen automation & development

Citizen automation and development, broadly, is the business-led creation, integration, automation, and continual improvement of digital solutions. This enables the subject matter experts in your business to bring innovation and automation to the work and dataflows at the edges of the business, surfacing important business insights.

What is citizen automation?

Citizen Automation refers to the broad democratization of technology disciplines like application development, integration, data science, and automation. This trend will continue to grow as more tools and technology disciplines that require trained specialists become democratized, such as AI and machine learning.

What is citizen development?

Citizen development is the practice of governing and scaling business-led creation and deployment of digital solutions across organizations within IT guidelines and best practices. Citizen development encompasses more than application building - it is creating everyday digital solutions that have impact across the business and fostering a culture of continuous improvement. As the democratization of technology continues, the practice of citizen development will expand to include citizen integration, citizen data science and more.
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Who is a citizen developer?

Typically, citizen developers are business professionals who do not have formal software development training but who are technology-minded and motivated to use technology to solve business problems. Citizen developers can also be referred to as business technologists.
Successful citizen developers tend to understand processes and data, think logically, and are motivated to learn new technologies to create business solutions.

What are the benefits of citizen development?

Enable business agility

Business is changing faster than the technology and resources available to support it. Business teams need to be ready to adapt and evolve their work and data flows to rapidly respond to disruption and new opportunities.

Accelerate continuous improvement

Even when committed to continuous improvement, businesses can lack the visibility or means to adapt their processes quickly. Tapping into the expertise within the people closest to the business will lead to more rapid innovation.

Strengthen the IT and business partnership

IT organizations, often under-resourced, need a safe approach to enable business professionals to build, iterate, and integrate applications. IT can focus on high-value activities and reduce their backlog by unlocking faster innovation across the business.

Proactively manage risk through governance

Businesses can struggle to keep up with ongoing compliance against constantly evolving controls, standards, and regulations. With strong, IT-led governance and compliance guardrails, organizations will have peace of mind that processes follow compliance policies and practices.

Citizen development & operational agility

By scaling citizen development across your organization more of your people become engaged with development and innovation. Not only does this empower your people to turn ideas into solutions faster, it also empowers them to achieve operational agility by turning adaptability and flexibility into a competitive advantage.

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How can companies enable citizen development safely and sustainably?

With a governance practice that safely and securely enables it, citizen development strengthens the relationship between IT and the business. The business creates digital solutions to solve everyday workflow challenges, while IT retains full control over security and compliance to their policies and practices. A secure and flexible governance model keeps your data safeguarded and maintains development best practices across your organization.

What is a citizen automation & development platform?

A citizen automation and development platform is a set of integrated tools and services designed for business technologists to build and automate the work and data flows that drive business processes. Typically no-code or low-code in nature, citizen automation and development platforms don’t require professional development skills to use and provide the capabilities for IT to govern.

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Some considerations are:

  • Which work and data flows change frequently?
  • Which cut across different teams, locations or core systems?
  • How do IT and lines-of-business partner on emerging needs?
  • What typically happens when IT can’t address business needs in time?
  • How do business professionals get access to the data they need from existing systems?
  • What policies and practices would business technologists need to understand become citizen developers?
  • How do we ensure data security and privacy requirements are met?
  • What level of control and monitoring does IT need over applications built by citizen developers?
  • How will you build a community for citizen developers to support one another?

Many companies have done this successfully and many more now realize it is the only way to keep pace in today’s economy.