What is citizen development?

Citizen development is a trend where companies encourage employees with little or no app-building expertise to build applications using low-code and no-code (LCNC) tools.

Citizen developers grew out of a two-fold problem: a shortage of skilled programmers and an increasing hunger for mobile apps. Citizen development bypasses this hurdle of transporting information across an organization by making it available to every individual.

What is citizen development?

Citizen development from a business standpoint

Citizen development allows companies to move forward with their digital transformation without having to worry about adding to, or waiting on, their IT department's backlog.

Because end users are part of the process, the business side of an organization can evaluate their needs and come up with a plan for how they want their application to look and act. And once the strategy is set, IT can serve in a supervisory role, to align the citizen development with the organization's IT policy. This IT-Business collaboration keeps finances in check and helps companies design, build, and deploy high-utility applications together.

Business standpoint

Citizen developers to the rescue

With tighter budgets and an uncertain future, companies have shifted to remote work, powered by software that makes the transition easier. This digital transformation is more relevant than ever, with the need for essential applications to manage virtual teams, access information, and stay productive.

Purchasing off-the-shelf software and depending entirely on the IT team for your application needs is unsustainable. That's why empowering your workforce to develop applications is crucial for digitization. These are some of the high-utility apps that can be built by employees on a low-code platform:

Time tracker

This check-in and check-out system imitates the function of identity cards at buildings, and keeps a check on the performance of your team.

IT asset tracker

Keep track of all the assets owned by your organization, along with pivotal technical support functions, like VPNs, software updates, and remote logins.

Dynamic approval system

From project approvals to leave trackers, a dynamic approval system makes it easier for leadership to respond to requests.

Meeting scheduler

Normal hours may not work when you're home, and this is exactly when a meeting scheduler comes handy. Block up slots and let your team know in advance what your agenda is for the day.

What can citizen developers bring to your business?

Tailor apps to business needs

No use case is a mystery to line of business (LOB) users. Applications are always more streamlined when needs are addressed by LOB personnel.

Prevent shadow IT

Citizen development has to align with the IT policy of an organization. The use of LCNC platforms, which are IT compliant, ensure that applications fall within IT's jurisdiction.

Increase employee productivity

Citizen development is a testament to the question, "how can we do more with less?" With proper training and guidance, citizen developers can reduce the burden on businesses, saving time and money in the process.

Accelerate innovation

With more in-house citizen developers, you can make your workplace more efficient with quality apps. LCNC platforms, with their many capabilities, broaden the scope for innovation.

An essential for citizen developers

Low-code and citizen development go hand-in-hand. Low-code offerings are on the rise, and so is their demand. The short learning curve, faster time to market, and uncompromising security has made them both appealing to, and suitable for, citizen developers. These platforms handle everything from storage to security, and thus represent an abstracted development environment with the ease of a drag-and-drop interface. The ability to empower non-developers, and make them citizen developers, is perhaps the most significant attribute of low-code platforms.

"By 2024, low-code application development will be responsible for more than 65% of application development activity."

"Low-code platforms make software development 10 times faster than traditional methods."

What is citizen development?

Citizen development with Zoho Creator

Zoho Creator is a multiplatform application builder with low-code capabilities, that comes with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. It's powered by Deluge—Zoho’s online scripting language—and its guided scripting and cross-platform integrations provide an easy way to start your citizen development journey.

Hear from citizen developers

  • Anand and Anand

    In this webinar, we have Rajiv Maheshwari, the CEO of Anand and Anand, one of the oldest and biggest intellectual property (IP) law firms in India. Rajiv, a citizen developer himself, takes us through Anand and Anand's journey to the cloud with Zoho Creator, and how they initiated an organization-wide citizen development drill starting from the CEO's office.

  • wave

    Watch our virtual roundtable session featuring Leminar Global and Zoho Creator. We cover how citizen development, catalyzed through low-code platforms, allows business users to develop their own solutions, thereby enabling IT teams to focus on critical project requirements.

Citizen development resources

  • Citizen development

    Citizen development handbook

    This guide covers everything from what citizen development is, to the benefits of having a citizen development framework in an organization. It talks about how a relatively new technology, low-code, aids citizen developers in bridging the technical gap.

  • Citizen development

    Citizen development blog series

    This blog series contains everything you need to learn about citizen development with low-code platforms–what, why, how, and success stories from Zoho Creator vault.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is citizen development?

Citizen development is a trend where companies encourage employees with little or no app-building expertise to create applications using low-code and no-code tools.

Who are citizen developers?

Citizen developers are business users in an organization with little to no coding skills. They build high utility applications sanctioned by the IT department using low-code and no-code tools.

What is the role of citizen developers in application development?

Citizen developers are end users who are part of the organization's strategy team. With the right tools in hand and the proper guidance of the IT department, this expertise can be made handy in designing a flawless application that serves all use cases.

How can businesses and IT teams leverage citizen developers?

The shortage of software developers in organizations often result in delays, application backlogs, and losses due to shadow IT. With IT-sanctioned technology and processes, citizen developers can help organizations build applications and thereby reduce the burden on IT.