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25/08/2019

The benefits of low-code: Citizen development

Introduction: What is Citizen development?

Klik hier voor de Nederlandstalige versie van deze blogpost

Citizen development is a low-code approach to software development. In fact, allowing users to create or edit software without the need to know how to write code.  To be clear, we are not talking about ‘Shadow IT’ here, where users build or buy their own applications without involving the IT department. Back in 2012, Gartner analysts stated “We’re all developers now.”

citizen developer is a user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT. Nowadays, end users can build departmental, enterprise and even public applications using shared services, fourth-generation language (4GL)-style development platforms and cloud computing services. – Source: Gartner IT Glossary

You may not have heard of the term, but I’m pretty sure you have experienced instances of ‘citizen development’. Every time you build a report in your CRM or Business Intelligence software you are doing some form of citizen development. Same goes for when you create a website using a drag & drop solution, with no or little knowledge of HTML or CSS required.

Source: The state of Citizen development report.

Through user friendly interfaces and (web)applications public and private organizations also enable their users to create functioning pieces of software. The front-end interface for building this software hides code and ‘inner workings’ that ensure the software application works as intended. Hence, they call this approach no-code or low-code development.

 

The benefits of Citizen development

The whole area of what’s known as ‘Citizen development’ was born out of necessity. First of all IT teams are often focused on maintaining the existing IT infrastructure and guarding the overall IT Architecture roadmap. Due to digital transformation the amount of work for IT teams has exploded. The ecosystem grows more complex with cloud-based, legacy, on-premise, and hybrid solutions that need to be increasingly interconnected.

On top of that there is a growing backlog for IT teams of ‘application requests’ from other departments and users. By offloading a part of these requests onto citizen developers the organization as a whole can realize a lot of benefits:

  1. Speed up development of solutions that address critical challenges within the organization
  2. Empower users who really understand the opportunities of a certain piece of software
  3. Avoid shadow-IT & users going ‘rogue’ – by offering IT sanctioned citizen development platforms you can ensure compliance and security
  4. Free up valuable IT resources by tapping into the legion of problem-solvers in your organization without a coding/development background
  5. Ensure Business-IT alignment and stay involved with core parts of the organization. This will also ensure that IT stays a trusted partner

Source: The state of Citizen development report.

Citizen development in the Ground lion platform

At Ground lion we are strong believers in the low-code approach. We provide our customers with a wide range of DIY modelling and configuration options: configurable UI widgets, a Forms designer, Case modelling and workflow, Data modelling, Document and e-mail templates, Planning priorities, Taxonomies, Master Data lists, etc…

Below, you can see an example of our Forms designer, allowing a citizen developer to create the look & feel, and field dependency logic, for a Request form on a digital client portal:

 

 

Knowledge workers within the department can quickly create such forms in the Ground lion platform, without the need to involve the IT department. This makes the business department more agile and improves efficiency.

The end result is improved service levels for all stakeholders (citizens, construction companies, other governmental organizations, etc.).

 

Source: The state of Citizen development report

Are you curious to see how the Ground lion platform can help you and your team? Then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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