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Citizen development is Fundamental to the Digital Workplace. Here's How.

Team Kissflow

Updated on 26 Feb 2024 4 min read

Citizen development is fundamental to the digital workplace. In an era where digital transformation is becoming the norm and low-code and no-code platforms are gaining traction, citizen developers are changing how organizations perceive and interact with technology.

While digital transformation isn’t exactly a new concept, it has gained widespread attention in the wake of recent global crises. Organizations were compelled to speed up their digital transformation efforts by shifting to the cloud and making room for a hybrid or remote workplace setup. Business strategies have been reevaluated in a bid to maintain an organization’s competitive edge.

Businesses are turning to digital transformation to keep them agile and able to meet the demands of a rapidly changing market. For years, IT solutions have greatly enhanced internal processes, streamlined workflows, and fostered greater efficiency. While this holds some benefits for a company, it puts immense pressure on IT teams. Their workload is increasing, and projects are facing bottlenecks that hamper their development.

Aside from this, another barrier to achieving digital transformation and improving business processes is the challenge of sourcing professional or experienced software developers.

These challenges have spurred the need for an alternative approach that makes use of a business’s existing resources, specifically manpower, and gives them the means to optimize their work. These citizen developers are powering organizations, creating customized digital solutions that meet their needs and paving the way for a better digital workplace.

Citizen development makes progress more accessible

Software development used to be confined to IT teams and experienced software developers who write line after line of code. With the advent of low-code and no-code (LCNC) platforms, citizen developers or business users with little to no programming background can develop functional solutions that address common workplace challenges.

In a nutshell, citizen developers are non-IT or non-technical individuals who build custom software solutions for their organization or personal use. Often, they utilize low-code or no-code platforms to create such applications. While this might seem like an independent or separate endeavor, business users work with the IT department that gives them the right tools and resources. Furthermore, the IT department helps make sure that the final product meets the end user’s requirements.

LCNC and citizen development often have a drag-and-drop interface that allows them to easily and quickly create custom software applications. By building software solutions, citizen development can speed up their company’s digital transformation goals while addressing their need for unique software that fulfills their needs.

From business users to citizen developers

The concept of citizen developers is gaining traction fast because they bring tangible benefits. Below are some of the advantages of empowering and equipping business users to become citizen developers:

- Address the need for more developers

According to a McKinsey report, 35 percent[1] of organizations are eyeing the need for workers who are skilled in automation. The problem here is that finding these skilled workers is a challenge. Another hurdle companies face in their pursuit of digital transformation is the expense that comes with retraining employees.

One of the greatest challenges companies face today is the lack of developers. With citizen development, businesses can leverage their existing manpower and provide them with training and tools so employees can become citizen developers.

These citizen developers would then be able to address developer shortages and quickly build the solutions they need.

Learn more: The Future of Apps must include Citizen Development. Here's Why.

- Pave the way for automation

Citizen development equips business users with the tools they need to create applications that can automate repetitive or time-consuming tasks. With this, you can improve not only employee productivity but also automation.

Aside from automating tasks, citizen developers can build applications for workflow automation to improve business processes and reasoning automation, such as machine learning and chatbots.

- Speed up the app-building process

With citizen developers, you’re able to use your existing resources to drive innovation. They can quickly build the applications you need, allowing you to meet your business goals while greatly improving your development timelines.

Additionally, by being able to quickly build applications, you’re better equipped to face new problems as they arise.

Learn more: 10 Must-Know Tips To Kickstart Your Citizen Development Journey

- Lower costs

Hiring or outsourcing software developers can be an expensive undertaking. With the benefits of citizen development, you’re able to utilize your current resources to build enterprise-grade solutions faster.

You’ll also have more in-house resources onboard who can help you meet your digital transformation goals.

Toward a more agile workplace

How can your company keep up with ever-changing demands and customer expectations? How can you stay relevant and future-proof?

Traditional application development approaches are often complex and time-consuming. While this method is effective, it may encounter issues when it comes to addressing the needs and challenges that come with a more global marketplace, which is constantly evolving at breakneck speed.

Citizen development enables companies to become more agile. It lets you build and release new solutions and meet your customers’ and employees’ needs fast. It also lets your organization react to changes and challenges quickly and adapt seamlessly when facing new situations.

Fueling development and innovation with citizen development

Citizen development fuels innovation. By using a citizen development platform, non-technical employees are encouraged to try their hand at solving problems by building new software solutions. This also helps them become more agile without always relying on your IT department to come up with a solution.

True digital transformation isn’t just about technology. It’s also about assessing your current organizational practices and addressing their flaws, as well as engaging your workforce and tapping into your employees’ capabilities. In today’s digital workplace, being able to empower your workforce by enabling them to build custom solutions can help you succeed and thrive in a highly competitive market.

LCNC platforms are democratizing application development, allowing everyday business users to become problem solvers. Kissflow's citizen development platform allows you to get out of outdated silos and reevaluate the way you do things. By being able to tap into your existing resources, instead of just relying on your IT department to build the apps you need, you’ll have a better chance at meeting not only your needs but also your business goals.