The Case for Citizen Developers
More than ever, Citizen Developers, business users that are not software coders, are developing applications that are helping to make their jobs more productive. This isn’t a new concept, but organizations are realizing how valuable it is to let the end-users of these applications design the product from the start. Organizations that are invested in providing business users with the necessary tools are seeing that value in different areas, including a shorter development path, less coding resources needed, and reduced pressure for IT departments.
This trend is so powerful that a new paradigm of application development has developed, called the ‘no-code/low-code’ movement. There are communities of “nocoders” that support each other and offer consulting services to organizations and promoting various tools.
These tools are web-based interfaces that let a user visually build an application through configurable drag-and-drop modules. In contrast to traditional developers, no-code Citizen Developers are ‘assembling’ applications, rather than writing them from scratch.
For large organizations with an established IT policy, the idea of Citizen Developers is both attractive and challenging. To leverage success, picking the right no-code technology that integrates well with an established infrastructure is essential. Some no-code development platforms integrate directly into a Windows network with Azure Active Directory, which allows for Single Sign On and adherence to security policies.
The key for Citizen Developers and No-Code platforms in an enterprise environment is knowing the extent of their capabilities. No-code solutions are not designed to be complex business critical applications. Much of their usage include use cases such as forms or data collection, workflow processing, document management (apps that replace paper), and transforming spreadsheets and outdated Microsoft Access applications into secure web apps.
Citizen Development addresses the shortage of traditional developers in a cost-effective and time saving fashion. A fully functional, custom designed application can address more specific requirements, but with no-code solutions and Citizen Development, the gap between working with old technology and cutting-edge solutions is much smaller.