Remote work is the new normal, and it’s changed the outlook of corporate culture in 2020. The constant need to stay connected and keep work up to date has forced businesses to find digital workplace solutions, and fast.

These solutions enable organizations to create process-specific applications to improve collaboration and boost employee productivity. They’re an essential part of business strategy, impacting competitiveness and growth.

The most efficient way to tackle this situation is to empower everyone by providing a helping hand—and this is called citizen development.

What are citizen developers?

According to Gartner, a citizen developer is a user who creates new business applications for consumption by others, using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT.

They’re agents of change and innovation. Empowering citizen developers is a much needed step at any modern organization—it’s where business strategy meets technical stability. With the guidance and mentorship of IT teams, a citizen developer can be an asset that contributes to IT infrastructure. From utility apps like team management, to path-paving supply chain management apps, it’s always better when it’s built at the behest of a stakeholder.

Here are the most important benefits they bring to an organization:

  • Relieving the burden on the IT department

With a solid training program, business users can build their own applications and align it with the IT standards of the organization.

  • Preventing shadow IT

It’s a known fact that IT backlogs pile up in large organizations, and for this reason, requests are often rejected or forgotten. This often ends up with the line-of-business user building a solution outside of IT’s jurisdiction, and all the problems that can come with it. Thus, the use of LCNC (low-code/no-code) platforms, which are IT compliant, ensure needs are met and business solutions provided. These platforms also mean that the IT department has knowledge, visibility, and control of all the apps that are being developed and used in the company.

  • Employee productivity

Citizen development boosts employee productivity to such an extent that business bottlenecks are dealt with immediately, without relying on the IT department, saving everyone time and money.

  • Accelerating innovations

The visible effect on business outcomes and operational efficiency that’s brought about by citizen developers often results in organization-wide innovations.

  • Accurate business functionalities

No technical expert can understand business processes and their underlying logic better than the user themselves. And for this reason, it’s always preferable when that same individual is empowered to build powerful applications to tackle the issue.

Low-code—the framework for citizen development

Low-code platforms are on the rise, and it’s not only because of its ease to learn, but also the all-in-one package it offers. Everything from storage to security is taken care of, which makes signing up the only prerequisite. Although low-code flaunts a handful of advantages—short learning curve, faster time to market, and uncompromising security—its ability to uplift non-developers and make them citizen developers is perhaps the one most worth mentioning.

Zoho Creator, with its intuitive drag-and-drop interface, is powered by Deluge—Zoho’s online scripting language. Its guided scripting and cross-platform integrations provide an easy step to start your citizen development journey.

The future

Citizen development is the next wave of app development, and once the decision-making process within an organization is streamlined, it becomes easier for citizen developers to thrive. They can be a part of both the business strategy team and the team that builds the applications to meet that strategy.

In the upcoming blog, we’ll be sharing the experience of Justin Kaese, General Manager at Play Force Australia. At Play Force, Justin, along with his small team, were able to build high-priority business apps using Zoho Creator. Stay tuned to find out more.

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