What Citizen Development Is, Why It's Important, and How It Can Benefit Your Business

15 May 2024

What if I told you that the next big app idea could come from someone who barely knows how to code? Yes, this is true.

Introducing citizen development - the revolutionary technology that puts software creation into the hands of those who do not have technical backgrounds. It means citizen development is a business process that encourages non-IT-trained employees to become software developers, using IT-sanctioned low-code/no-code (LCNC) platforms to create business applications.

As a coding geek, I've seen a lot of industry trends come and go. But citizen development? This is a remarkable innovation that is revolutionizing the software industry.

Want to know more about it? Let's break down what citizen development is, why it's important, and how it can benefit your business.

What Is Citizen Development?

Imagine being able to create your own apps without needing to learn complicated coding languages. That's exactly what citizen development is all about!

In the past, building software was something only professional developers and tech experts could do. It was like having a secret language that only they understood. But with citizen development, that's all changing.

Citizen development refers to the practice of enabling non-professional developers, such as business users or employees with limited technical backgrounds, to create, modify, or customize applications and software solutions using low-code or no-code development platforms and tools. It’s platforms typically provide a visual, drag-and-drop interface, pre-built components, and simple logic builders. It allows users with minimal coding experience to create applications by assembling and configuring these components.

Citizen development uses simple, visual tools that anyone can pick up and use to build apps. Things like drag-and-drop interfaces, pre-made building blocks, and straightforward logic tools. It takes all the head-scratching complexity out of coding and makes it accessible to ordinary people like you and me.

So, whether you're a marketing whiz, a business operations guru, or just someone with a great idea, you can now create custom apps tailored precisely to your needs. No more trying to explain your vision to developers and hoping they understand – you're in charge of making it a reality yourself.

It lets you bring your ideas to life with just a few taps and clicks. You can whip up prototypes in no time, get feedback, make tweaks, and keep refining until your app is perfect. No more waiting months for the over-extended tech team.

The best part? You don't need to be a tech genius or memorize any mind-bending code. Citizen development platforms are designed for non-technical, everyday people. If you can use apps on your phone, you've got what it takes to be an app maker.

In the past, only a select few could create software. But now, thanks to citizen development, that power is open to everyone. So, get ready to unleash your inner app wizard!

Why Citizen Development?

As a programmer myself, I know the struggle can be real for IT departments. They're constantly bombarded with requests for new applications, each tailored to a specific department's needs. This backlog can leave businesses waiting for months, even years, for the tools they need to thrive.

Citizen development cuts through that red tape. By equipping non-technical employees with user-friendly tools, we can empower them to build simple applications that address their day-to-day challenges. Imagine the marketing team creating a targeted campaign app, or the sales team whipping up a custom lead management tool. The possibilities are endless!

Here, I am going to share some key reasons why citizen development is gaining traction:

  • Faster Innovation: Citizen developers can build and iterate on applications quickly, allowing businesses to adapt to changing needs and market trends.

  • Improved Efficiency: By automating routine tasks and streamlining workflows, citizen development frees up valuable time for both IT teams and employees.

  • Enhanced User Experience: Who knows a department's needs better than the people who work in it? Citizen developers can create applications that perfectly match their specific workflows and pain points.

  • Reduced Development Costs: Low-code/no-code platforms often require fewer resources compared to traditional development methods, leading to significant cost savings.

  • Increased Employee Engagement: Citizen development empowers employees and fosters a sense of ownership over the tools they use, leading to higher job satisfaction and motivation.

  • Improved Agility: Businesses can respond to changing market dynamics faster with the ability to quickly build and deploy custom applications.

So, Can You Become a Citizen Developer?

Yes, citizen development is accessible to almost anyone. If you're comfortable using spreadsheets or basic software, you have the potential to be a citizen developer. The user-friendly nature of low-code/no-code platforms makes it easier than ever for non-technical users to jump in and start building.

In the meantime, let me know your thoughts on citizen development. Is it a trend you're excited about? If you have any questions, let's get the conversation flowing!