The Best Apps in the Company Are Made by Citizen Developers
June 13th, 2018 • low code
It’s a problem found in any organization that’s grown to a certain size. Business users need specific applications for their work, but IT is always swamped with requests from every team in the organization.
Something has to give. And usually, what gives is security.
All too often, in the frustration that comes from not getting their requests fulfilled on time, business users turn to shadow IT and third-party tools that aren’t properly vetted for their compliance to company security protocols.
This is a massive risk, since insecure tools can lead to data leaks and loss of trust from customers.
But what if there was a way to alleviate all of this? What if you could actually make sure that business users get the tools that they need, on time? What if you didn’t have to hire more IT staff? What if you could satisfy everyone?
Enter the “Citizen Developer”, Courtesy Low-Code and No-Code
Low-code and no-code platforms have captured the imagination of businesses worldwide, promising a way out of the never-ending battle between IT and business.
Low-code solutions provide business users with a platform to develop the apps they want, without needing to know how to code, ensuring that business users can become citizen developers, creating the applications they need, without the need to call IT for every single implementation.
By becoming citizen developers, business users don’t need to find escape in a third party tool when they can create their own applications that meet their specifications.
But the true beauty of citizen developers is that they have a better idea of what they want to develop. They have a clearer vision of the application, and that’s not something that can be explained to anyone through flowcharts and meetings.
When they create the apps they imagine in their head, that singular vision makes for a better app than most large-scale collaborative efforts. They tend to be more usable and less cluttered than applications that are made with huge teams.
Giving a Sense of Ownership in IT
For the most part, technology is just given to business departments from the IT gods. Whether it be hardware, software, passwords, or a custom solution, the relationship is very transactional. The business puts in a request, and IT either delivers or defers to a budget or time crunch.
Building out the capabilities of citizen developers changes the whole narrative. Now, instead of IT merely accepting the request for a new application, it can offer a platform and say, “Here, you can build it yourself with this tool.”
Giving business users a no-code platform to create their own business apps has many benefits. First, citizen developers have a sense of ownership over their new apps. They built them, so they want them to run perfectly. They will take them seriously and look for ways to improve them, instead of viewing them as rented property built by the IT team.
Second, building apps on a no-code platform will reveal just how complicated the process is. If there are limitations in the platform that require the IT team to come in and help, the business is looking for more of a mentor and less of someone to demand to fix their tool.
Third, there’s a greater chance that the application will be more effective. When business users make their own apps, they won’t add any additional frills on to it, but will demand a certain level of basic functionality. This makes the app all the more effective and powerful.
Citizen Developers Are Not Infallible
There is a danger when it comes to empowering citizen developers. Even with the proper tools, they may not know what to do, or end up making tools that aren’t secure enough.
That’s where it becomes necessary to introduce a few platform leads into every department. They don’t have to be IT, but they should know their way around the development front enough to become a subject matter expert to guide other citizen developers.
Subject matter experts enable citizen developers by having the necessary knowledge around the low-code or no-code solutions to help them with their development. By having an SME around, none of the citizen developers in your organization are left stranded whenever they need help.
Why SMEs are Necessary
Subject matter experts are great at clearing doubts and answering questions that citizen developers have, but they also serve another important purpose. They ensure that every application is developed in line with the company’s security protocols and requirements. The apps that citizen developers make with a singular vision can be secure as well.
This way, even if IT isn’t there to check on all the applications that are developed, they can still rest easy knowing that the next audit won’t be a security nightmare.
IT often bears the brunt of an organization’s growth, more than any other department. But with proper planning, a good low-code or no-code platform, and some clear restructuring in your organization, that doesn’t have to be the case. The transition can be relatively smooth as well.
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If you’re on the hunt for an easy to use no-code platform that you can teach your organization to use without extensive effort and massive restructuring, try KiSSFLOW. It’s got a plethora of tools that are easy to understand for anyone, without having to know how to code beforehand. If you’re interested, you can get a free trial and check it out yourself.