Citizen development: the latest trend to streamline processes in companies
Companies are increasingly encouraging their various departments – and not only the IT area – to create apps and improve them, using minimal or even no code. This new philosophy allows organizations to streamline processes and obtain better results.
Companies are increasing their profits thanks to customized entrepreneurial apps built without code. We could call it "citizen development". With it, employees have better access to data, workflows are more automatic, and as a result decision-making is faster throughout the whole organization.
So what is exactly citizen development? Well, imagine you can give the workers in your company the possibility of creating the apps they need. That way you wouldn't have to bother the company's developers who are working on much more important projects, and you could ensure that a certain problem can be resolved by the person closest to it.
Who's the developer
Of course this dynamic raises many questions, such as: What’s the strategic advantage? Or who's a developer now? In fact, one of the first barriers to adopting low- or codeless solutions was the IT departments' fear that non-technical people would be given control. Professional developers were also worried that these tools would take away their jobs.
However it's also true that developers don't like having to add a field or go back and run a report again with a different filter. These are simple tasks, and they often have to waste time doing them, whereas nobody else is really capable of developing more complex programming projects. The implementation of these codeless apps frees them to use their skills more effectively. Of course, this requires collaboration and creativity on both sides.
In search of the best results
Behind citizen development lies the generational shift. More and more millennials are now reaching executive positions, and at the same time many businesses have this generation in their sights. Millennials want something that works fast and easily. If a business doesn't give them what they want, they'll look for something that meets their needs. This is precisely the idea underlying citizen development: if millennials can't find something, they find out how to build it.
The search for greater speed and agility in app development is part of the strategy of some organizations who want to grow and reinvent themselves at the same time.
The benefits of citizen development are undeniable, and that's why it’s interesting to analyze the progress of this trend, as outlined in the report ‘State of Citizen Development Report 2016’, by Quickbase.
According to this report, citizen development platforms are capable of developing 26 different customized applications for a greater variety of use cases than traditional ones, including asset management, projects, inventory, contacts, personnel, services, contracts and others.
Citizen development is booming. Many organizations begin with one or two individuals who build apps with codeless development. However, as these citizen developers start to use and share their customized apps, the question being increasingly asked is how the app development process can be improved without the need for additional professional developers.
Advantages of using citizen development
But what exactly does this contribute to companies? What's it for?
● It's faster: the worker responsible can respond faster to the users' comments, and the business community can then exploit the iterations more efficiently.
● It saves costs: citizen developers often exploit additional use cases that mean savings in software licenses for tools or one-off solutions, as they are replaced by a single platform.
● Agility and speed: the organizations see the overriding benefit of codeless citizen development as the ability to maintain and update apps more rapidly.
● Better results: in many companies, app building is not approached as a formal part of everyday work. However, over time, building and maintaining apps has become more central, as it generates incremental improvements in both innovation and results. In fact 76% of app builders consider that developing apps is already part of their everyday work, compared to 68% in 2015.
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