The global low-code platform market revenue is valued at almost 22.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 which is a big jump from 2021’s USD 12.7 billion. It has also been added as one of the key tech trends in 2023 alongside tech like artificial intelligence and the development of superapps. Low-code and no-code tools are predicted to be responsible for over 65% of application development according to Gartner. These staggering statistics are only showing that no-code adoption has become more prevalent not only for startups and small businesses but also for major companies.
No-code’s strength comes from the fact that it made app and website development faster and relatively easier than taking years of a programming course. Alongside the growth of no-code development, a new role was born - the citizen developer. Professional developers create, maintain, and upgrade commercial-grade software with written code while citizen developers use low-code/no-code platforms with simple UI to solve problems without the need for coding.
Citizen development is a business process that trains non-IT employees to be software developers, using low-code/no-code (LCNC) platforms to create business applications designed for their expertise. At this level, they understand the pain points and the problems that can be solved by a no-code application, website or software. This is not an entirely new concept but has been gaining more popularity as no-code platforms become more sophisticated and have more features. What are the benefits of citizen development and how do develop staff into citizen developers?
As mentioned, more businesses are expected to use no-code for almost 70% of business applications by 2025. No-code consumes 70% fewer resources than using code so that’s why businesses prefer them. Citizen development can maximize this technology to make the business more efficient. Here are some other benefits of citizen development
No-code allows businesses to create and develop basic apps in a matter of weeks rather than months. Having experts on the team and the ease of use makes the building process quicker to launch and even update it faster. These reduce costs for additional resources to build it at a shorter period of time.
Aside from resources, no-code citizen development can also help make the team more productive. It can help automate redundant tasks, empower the staff, and make them more competent in their fields.
As we discussed in our past blog, No-Code as a Solution to the Skills Gap, businesses are
finding it a challenge to find the right talent or retain existing ones. According to the McKinsey Global Survey, 87% of respondents agree that they are already experiencing gaps now or are expecting them within a few years.
This is where citizen development can ease the stress of the skills gap by providing simple solutions to department-level problems. With this, current IT department staff can focus on high-level tasks and optimize general functionality.
By having the in-house experts create the app, website, or software, there is access to custom technology solutions through the use of visual elements. A no-code platform’s templates can get you started easily such as visual modeling tools, data models, and centralized data. You could design an in-house CRM that is tailor-fit to your exact needs without writing a single line of code.
Citizen developers bring unique insight, expertise, and a fresh approach to the application development process. They can respond faster to changing business needs and market requirements which contributes to company competency, business productivity, and operational efficiency.
If you are now convinced to start a citizen development program, here are the basic steps you can take. Depending on your business size and staff occupancy, this process might take longer. Make sure that participating in the program it wouldn't cause business disruption in that department.
By providing a clear job description, potential citizen developers will know what to bring to the table. This is also the foundation of what they will need to do in order to fuse no-code and their field expertise. On your end, this will also be helpful in giving clarity on what direction you want this for the short and long term.
Bringing in the experts can save you a lot of trouble in the future. They can create parameters and even review the capacity of potential citizen developers. This also makes sure that data security and other key concerns will be addressed before giving the reins to non-technical people.
Although there is a myriad of no-code platforms right now, review which ones will cater best to your needs. Compare feature sets and appraise learning curves with your business.
Having a governance plan ensures that data security best practices are considered and that there will be a professional IT expert who will guide the citizen development program. This covers the evaluation process for starting projects by the citizen developer, standard compliance with security requirements, and standard workflow protocols including testing, validation, audit, and integration.
Having a concrete plan and defined limitations can help in getting senior management approval for the project. Make sure that it highlights positive results in areas of productivity and reduced costs.
Once the project is greenlit, it’s time to get the citizen developers familiarized with the no-code platforms. This will; give them time to learn what features and components will be useful for their projects. Go back to the objectives in #1 and identify your expectations to measure the success of the project.
Citizen developers are not meant to replace coders. They still need guidance in securing and even the maintenance of the apps they are doing. No-code democratizes technology and allows more people to access it so they can make improvements in their fields. This can lead to more discoveries and increase company advancements. Citizen developers are a great way to annex expertise and knowledge with no-code to create simple solutions that can save money and time.
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