The growing role of citizen developers: 10 benefits for your business

Apr 21, 2023
  • Microsoft

The term "citizen developer" has gained popularity in the current reality, discover what this expression means and how citizen developers can benefit your business

The rising significance of the 'citizen developer'

The post-pandemic era has introduced its own set of languages and terminology as we continue to become accustomed to new ways of working. 

However amidst the chaos of the working world some constants have remained – most notably the continuation of a growing appetite for new digital solutions, transformation and faster access to data. This has placed higher burden on software development teams who are not only struggling to keep up with demand but are also short in numbers to begin with.

 One familiar buzzword that has continued to grow in the new reality is that of the “citizen developer”, also often associated with the “business developer” or in some cases simply “Shadow IT”.  


So, what do we mean by the citizen developer

It essentially is an average business user who have a deep understanding of business needs and processes within their domain, but typically are non-technical when it comes to software development and resolving solutions with technology. 

Benefits

Employing a citizen developer led IT strategy is paying dividends for organisations. Here are 10 immediate benefits:

  • Overcome Staffing Shortages: Businesses will always have room for talented software developers. However, a Cit Dev strategy with the best of low-code tooling allows business to tackle use cases at scale, realise value faster and allow the subject matter expert to take ownership and make the necessary adjustments and improvements  

  • Encourage Collaboration: Solve relevant problems from the ground up with employee led transformation which in turn improves job satisfaction and employee retention 

  • Foster Innovation and Diversity: Not only solve the most pertinent business issues but can make changes on the ground in real time led by subject matter experts. This can also be quantified with technology and data insights including customised business KPI’s 

  • Improved Data Management: Help organisations make better decisions from the ground up with better data fed into everyday applications  

  • Faster Development Cycles: Enable employees to develop quicker, resolve problems faster and see a faster path to value realisation and return on investment  

  • Faster Value Realisation: Get to the core of issue resolution faster and see a quicker return on investment 

  • Save Money: Save on development costs, save on technical debt and mis-investment 

  • Retire Legacy Systems and find better ways to harness your company’s data 

  • Alignment of Business Goals: Lead with one strategy from the top to the bottom of the organisation solving the real problems backed by data-led decisions

  • Understand your organisations challenges betterIdentify bottlenecks with both challenges and solutions tapping into your organisation's full potential and knowledge

Maximising the benefits of a citizen developer strategy: best practices for organisations

While having a Citizen Developer led IT strategy is clearly advantageous, setting it up correctly with the blend of the right people, leaders, technology and security and governance guardrails is another question. 

Organisations also need to think about the guidelines and provide training to ensure citizen developers are using the solutions safely and effectively and have the right conditions in place for them to flourish. 

While there are a huge number of benefits with this approach, there is also a lot to consider in setting up the right environment and maximise the full potential of employees and technology.  

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