By Divyesh Kharade – Co-Founder and CEO – DronaHQ
Citizen development has taken the enterprise app development by storm, and it’s evident from a Gartner survey on citizen development which states that 41% of respondents have active citizen development initiatives, and 20% of those that don’t are either evaluating or planning to start citizen development initiatives.
For enterprises, creating apps has increasingly become a critical element of digitization strategies. While the development of apps offers a range of benefits including expediting business processes, launching new services, or providing a fulfilling user experience, this activity is often fraught with high costs, hassles, long timeline and tremendous efforts.
App development has for long been a prerogative of software development firms. It is now, however, more accessible to business users from various walks of the industry, owing to emerging technologies such as low-code.
Today, cloud computing has enabled businesses to share ideas, interact and even collaborate to develop new software and services to solve business problems. At the core of this fully digitized business model is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the model on which the majority of low-code platforms run.
How does low-code help?
Low-code is a visual integrated development environment that allows professional coders, citizen developers to build business apps using a model-driven development approach. It abstracts and expedites each phase of the “Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)” to enable professional coders and citizen developers to create business solutions 10 times faster.
There is a huge and rising disparity between the necessities for businesses to innovate to serve their clients better and the availability of the technological expertise and innovation competencies they actually possess. Many a times, IT departments are already overburdened with huge IT backlogs and various requests. Creating altogether new solutions by IT teams can result in a longer waiting time. This gap in the supply and demand exemplifies the need for citizen development in the organization – where anybody can create apps without coding, hence, reducing the dependency on the IT teams.
The time calls for enterprises to embrace citizen development, making it mainstream and an
How low-code nurtures Citizen Development
Low-code combined with citizen development has been found to foster –
● Power Packed access to innovation- Low-code platforms give the power of innovation in the hands of the “local experts” who are the frontline workers with some sound knowledge of business process they are associated with and have some technical skills to create their own business solutions.
● Improved business agility- Gartner, in its Hype Cycle for Application Development and Delivery, observed that Agile development and ops are sliding into the trough, meaning building and managing agile teams will become more apparent in the near future. Low-code fits right in the agility aspect with the graphical interfaces and ready infrastructure to prototype, test and iterate fast, not being susceptible to traditional coding errors and thereby, supporting the key principles of design thinking to solve the problem right and at speed.
● Reduced dependency on IT teams- Low-code is just the technology that gets you future-ready. IT teams can readily vet the platform for the organizations, both business users and developers can then use to ramp up solution development. By giving some power to the business users who need tools that are right for their LOB operations, as a CIO you open the floor for more creative execution.
● Embrace Shadow IT – IT teams can select the low-code platform and can lay down the guidelines under which citizen developers can exercise and create business apps, putting a full-stop to the unauthorised technical solutions to meet business demands. Gartner suggests that IT can reduce the risk of shadow IT by “working with business unit leaders to identify and engage citizen developers to establish trust.”
● Alignment between business and IT- Low-code and citizen development initiatives can also result in a greater collaboration between IT and business units. By mediating these citizen developers, each department can collaborate, culminating in a stronger partnership and better alignment.
Speed is the Key
“Low-code development platforms have the potential to make software development 10 times faster than traditional methods,” claimed Forrester. C-suite members can take the initiative of citizen development as an organisation-wide strategy to empower not only citizen developers but also IT teams to rapidly innovate, iterate ideas in real-time, check feasibility and create prototypes to organisation-wide implementation at speed.
Not all employees are tech-savvy. But they do have basic knowledge of the business processes they are associated with. They may lack the skills to develop using conventional programming, but they can use low-code visual development tools to build rich applications. At DronaHQ, we have conducted various workshops for our corporate clients where the business developers are introduced to low-code development. Case in point, a workshop conducted by DronaHQ for global Consumer packaged goods (CPG) giant included attendees from the company’s Sales Innovation and IT departments. As a result of this digitization workshop, the company has created operational business apps to mobilize its sales force across the globe to increase employee engagement and productivity.
The time spent on app testing and development is significantly reduced and, consequently, the productivity levels take a sharp upturn. Enterprises can take steps to educate their employees and citizen developers the capabilities and potential benefits of using low-code app development platforms. So that, the citizen developers can grow as an essential part of modern workplaces and can reap the rewards.
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