Harness the Power of Digital Transformation With the Help of Citizen Development
With no-code platforms, citizen developers create business solutions with IT oversight. Read more in this post.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
The demand for automation has skyrocketed across industries and global markets in the past few years, and the need for workflows along with it. Why? Because they make communication easier, reduce time and effort, enhance functionality, and improve control, leading to increased organizational efficiency. They allow businesses to identify and respond to new opportunities.
More and more organizations are embracing digital transformation and changing the way they operate. But for digital technology to be integrated into all areas of a business, solutions must be built. Systems, processes, workflows must change. This transformation puts a lot of pressure on IT, a department that’s already overwhelmed. Digital transformation can no longer be solely driven by IT, and that’s where citizen development comes in. With citizen development, companies can pursue their digital transformation initiatives without worrying about IT's backlog.
Research by Forester shows that by 2024, the U.S. will have a deficit of 500,000 software developers. An uncertain future and tighter budgets have also forced companies to adopt remote work, and these companies need good software for a smooth transition. With no-code platforms, citizen developers create business solutions with IT oversight.
Where To Start With Citizen Development
Many organizations adopt citizen development to leverage automation and streamline business processes. They empower employees in various departments to design, replicate, and release new workflows with minimal oversight from IT. To get off on the right foot, here’s what you should do.
Educate everyone involved in the citizen development program so you’re on the same page. Clarify the responsibilities, benefits, and expectations and get buy-in from senior management.
Bridge the knowledge gap by enrolling employees in citizen development courses online or a reskilling/upskilling program. The training covers the basics of business or document process automation, no-code bots, and citizen development tools.
Establish policies to guide the employees and IT staff involved. Set boundaries for your citizen developers. While it's important to give citizen developers some autonomy, ensure they follow the correct processes.
Set up administration and governance tools to provide a nurturing, controlled environment for development. This balances innovation with the right standards.
Be transparent by documenting everything and putting the data in a central, widely-accessible repository. Use a system that requires permissions to limit access to delicate data.
Get your IT team to create workflow templates with compliance and regulatory requirements. This automates most of the citizen development process and ensures everyone consistently follows best practices.
How Can a Non-Technical Person Develop Software?
Success in today’s world means operating at digital speed. It’s about deploying workflows 10x faster. Forward-thinking organizations constantly refine processes and identify new ways to maintain competitive market advantage. Falling behind is not an option because your brand will stop being relevant very soon. Here’s how non-IT employees can become citizen developers and help your organization:
1. Start Small
In collaboration with the IT team, citizen developers can help your organization address the growing need for digitalization. Companies that succeed at citizen development start small, test, iterate, and improve their process before scaling it to fit the entire organization.
When starting, consider scalability, but don't overcomplicate things. Begin by automating paper-based and spreadsheet-based processes. These help you demonstrate value and provide a foundation for scaling.
Based on the success of the pilot project, determine the changes you need to make to the workflows you previously built. This improves your citizen development process. Share the results of your citizen development efforts with decision-makers and seek the support of the entire organization.
To democratize this process, create a citizen development community and encourage people to share their knowledge. Explain to employees the value they gain from adopting citizen development. Be open about the benefits and challenges to increase usage over time.
2. Understand Building Business Solutions and Coding Are Completely Different
Coding means writing a set of instructions that machines can understand and interpret. But citizen development is a business process that encourages non-IT employees to become software developers. They use IT-sanctioned no-code platforms to create business processes.
No-code platforms are easy to use and allow organizations to harness the power of citizen developers and enhance collaboration between business users and IT. By 2024, 75% of large enterprises will use at least 4 no-code development tools for citizen development initiatives.
No-code platforms allow citizen developers to create business solutions critical to digital transformation success. An organization can solve problems efficiently and keep up with ever-changing consumer behavior and market demands. It becomes easier to align development with business goals and to optimize business processes to sustain growth.
3. Build on Familiar Processes
To keep costs low but still encourage creativity, begin with processes already familiar to citizen developers. Keep it simple. While most citizen developers are highly motivated and natural problem solvers, starting on familiar ground provides a stable foundation for them. It forces them to proactively seek opportunities to innovate and go the extra mile.
When you begin with what citizen developers are already familiar with, it becomes easier for them to use technology to improve their work and, by extension, the organization.
4. Find the Right Software or Tool
Citizen developers can build, test and deploy workflows faster. But to succeed at this, they need easy-to-use and the right platforms. They need platforms that allow them to continuously learn and become better. To choose the best platform for your citizen developers, look at these features:
Ease of use
The basic capabilities
The flexibility of the platform
The capacity to build workflows with drag and drop editors
The ease of automating business processes
How the platform integrates with 3rd party systems
One way to speed up your company’s digital transformation initiatives is by starting a citizen development program. It will increase efficiency and productivity, helping you to meet business needs quickly without disrupting other critical operations. Citizen developers love technology and enjoy learning about innovations. They are also experts in their fields. They can use their invaluable knowledge and insight to build powerful business solutions.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.