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Citizen developers and low-code tooling for service-based organizations

Digital transformation has become a top priority for CIOs. As the boundaries between IT and business continue to fade, one emerging trend is the increasing expectation for everyone to take on the responsibility of app development.

As companies strive to stay ahead of the curve and keep up with constantly evolving technologies, CIOs face increasing pressure to deliver innovative solutions that drive organizational growth. 

This is where citizen developers come in. These non-technical employees have the potential to become powerful agents of change, using low-code tools to create applications and processes that streamline operations and enhance customer experiences. 

According to the IDC FutureScape: Worldwide CIO Agenda 2024 Predictions, "By 2026, 55% of CIOs will leverage business-savvy in-house developers and tools that use GenAI and low-code/no-code, as they and LOB developers build competitive differentiation through custom apps." 

This blog will explore why CIOs should embrace citizen developers and the low-code tools that enable them to increase organizational productivity.

Understanding citizen developers

Citizen developers are non-technical employees with the drive and enthusiasm to learn and utilize low-code tools to create applications and automate processes. 

In various departments, such as HR, marketing, or operations, citizen developers have a deep understanding of the specific challenges and requirements within their own area of expertise.

Unlike traditional developers who require extensive coding knowledge and experience, citizen developers leverage low-code platforms that offer a visual, drag-and-drop interface. 

This means they can build applications and automate processes with minimal coding or technical skills. This democratization of app development allows citizen developers to prototype and iterate quickly, reducing the reliance on IT departments and enabling faster time to market.

By empowering non-technical employees to become citizen developers, organizations can tap into a valuable resource of innovative ideas and solutions. These employees are often closest to the end-users and have a deep understanding of the pain points and inefficiencies within their own workflows.

The benefits of citizen developers

The benefits of embracing citizen developers are numerous for organizations across service-based industries as they bring a fresh perspective to the table.

By empowering non-technical staff to create their own applications, companies can leverage a valuable source of innovative ideas and solutions, as these employees will better understand the purpose and audience of the apps they develop.

Citizen developers play a crucial role in streamlining operations and improving productivity. Automating manual processes and creating custom applications can eliminate inefficiencies and save valuable time and resources.

This not only boosts productivity but also allows employees to focus on more strategic tasks, ultimately driving organizational growth.

Often being closest to the end-users and having a firsthand understanding of their pain points, citizen developers can enhance the user experience. By leveraging low-code tools, citizen developers can quickly prototype, creating applications that address user needs and enhance their overall experience.

The demands for business applications are increasing, often faster than IT can deliver. This strains IT resources, slows development, and forces them to prioritize requests. Citizen development frees IT up to focus on innovation and high-code projects.




The role of low-code tools

One of the key advantages of low-code tools is their ability to simplify the development process. Instead of writing lines of complex code, citizen developers can use pre-built components and templates to create applications. 

This not only accelerates development time but also reduces the likelihood of coding errors. With low-code tools, citizen developers can focus on solving business problems and creating user-friendly applications rather than getting lost in the intricacies of coding.

Low-code tools enable collaboration between citizen developers and IT departments, ensuring seamless integration of citizen-developed applications with existing systems and infrastructure.

Low-code tools allow citizen developers to iteratively develop applications, gather user feedback, make adjustments, and deploy updated versions quickly. This agile process ensures applications evolve based on user feedback and meet changing business needs.

Governance still needs to be considered when it comes to low-code

Low-code governance involves setting policies, procedures, and controls to manage the creation, deployment, and maintenance of applications built on low-code platforms.

It is a set of rules and best practices that ensure the business-strategy-aligned apps built by citizen developers with low-code tools align with organizational standards, regulatory requirements, and security guidelines.

An optimal low-code platform should be equipped with an extensive range of tooling that encompasses app testing, deployment, and management, in addition to application and platform governance. This ensures that the entire app development and deployment process has standardized procedures in accordance with industry standards.

How Unit4 can assist citizen developers in your organization 

The Unit4 Extension Kit is a set of tools for enhancing Unit4 applications. It allows users to create and implement new capabilities as microservices and build custom apps using App Studio

The Extension Kit also provides a Cloud hosting solution and a simple way to connect new and existing features, resulting in the creation of new functionalities. The main emphasis is on developing personalized self-driving experiences across multiple applications.

With these tools, you will enable accelerated development, resource efficiency, innovation at scale, cost reduction, increased performance and collaboration, and you can rest assured your technology is future-proof and can support perpetual change. 

If you would like to learn more about Unit4's solutions, built on our next-generation Cloud platform, you can find more information here.

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