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Blog Article

Citizen Development – the Revolution in the Corporate Environment 

January 29, 2024 | 4 min

Citizen Development / No-Code / Low-Code

Organizations face many challenges in the project and portfolio management (PPM) landscape. Flexible solutions that can adapt and respond to different requirements are needed. The magic word is Citizen Development. In this blog post, we provide a brief overview of what characterizes a Citizen Developer, the benefits of using No- and Low-Code and how this approach helps companies to innovate.

Citizen Developer

PPM is an extremely complex and heterogeneous domain. It is characterized by a complex environment with multifaceted requirements: from project size to diverse industries, applications, and processes to a broad spectrum of technical methods (classic, agile, hybrid) as well as different employee skills – from highly specialized to a lack of expertise. 

In this constantly changing world, in which regulations are also constantly changing, the ideal software must react quickly and flexibly to all these requirements. Standardized solutions often reach their limits. This is precisely where Citizen Development comes into play. It enables people who have little to no software development experience to build customized applications internally with the help of No- and Low-Code. 

What Does a Citizen Developer?

A Citizen Developer does not necessarily have a comprehensive technical education. Nevertheless, they have a keen technical interest and the motivation to tackle the subject. The Citizen Developer is a member of a specialist department and therefore has extensive knowledge and experience. As a result, they know the daily challenges of their department inside out and can put themselves in the shoes of the problem to develop innovative solutions.

What does a Citizen Developer?

Citizen Developers usually build solutions for themselves or their immediate environment. This is a big difference to professional software development. Here, a specialist user first formulates their requirements before the developer implements them. But it is precisely within this communication loop that misunderstandings can arise. Citizen Development eliminates this process because the requester and implementer are one and the same person. 

In addition to technical skills, the Citizen Developer also has soft skills such as knowledge, creativity, technical affinity and understanding. Their curiosity and motivation to bring about change make them an important player in the agile development of solutions for themselves and their immediate environment. 

What is Citizen Development?

What Are the Benefits of Citizen Development? 

The benefits of Citizen Development extend beyond the immediate users and offer significant added value for various interest groups, which we will now discuss. 

For individual employees:  

  • Offers them the opportunity to create their own solutions using No-Code and Low-Code and to realize their own ideas  
  • Gives them the opportunity to make changes to applications in real time
  • Accelerated and simplified implementation of ideas in concrete applications 
  • Drivers for the implementation of applications  
  • Development of an “Analytical Mindset” and promotion of personal career 
  • Strengthens the sense of belonging through autonomy and ownership  
  • Democratization of development for non-professional coders 

For the employee’s specialist department:  

  • Ensures that the department retains sovereignty over requirements  
  • Offers a high degree of flexibility through speed in development  
  • Leads to faster target achievement  
  • Controls capacities within the team in a targeted manner 

For the internal IT department:  

  • Relieves IT of requests from specialist departments  
  • IT retains control over the development environment  
  • Reduces the risk of shadow IT  
  • Reduces maintenance effort  
  • Provides greater transparency over the application inventory 

For the organization as a whole:  

  • Expanded mindset through employees who can develop internal applications without external service providers  
  • Strengthening the organization’s ability to innovate  
  • Accelerating the development of new products and services  
  • Improvement of processes and automation of workflows  
  • Cost-efficient implementation  
  • Acceleration of digital transformation and project-based working 

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The Development Process of a Low-Code App for the Risk Management of a Car Manufacturer

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How Does Citizen Development Help in the Corporate Environment?

Let’s start with the question of what kind of problem is best suited to be solved with Citizen Development. Typically, this is a problem that needs to be solved during the project using an Excel spreadsheet. Imagine the following scenario: a user creates a spreadsheet to record several pieces of data in a structured way. The data is then stored in one place. But surely every Excel user is familiar with at least one of these scenarios: data is changed, formulas are deleted, or rows disappear as if by magic. The issue of change frequency exacerbates the problem, as authorization concepts or data types often change when new attributes are added, for example. 

Conclusion: in an enterprise environment, collaborative work in an Excel spreadsheet leads to problems – it is error-prone, time-consuming, and not very efficient.  

These are clear signs that Citizen Development can help to solve these problems or prevent them from arising in the first place. But how can these challenges be successfully overcome? The answer lies in the right software. 

Companies today are increasingly preaching co-creation, personal responsibility and collective learning. But concrete measures are needed to actually put this change into practice. Citizen Development is the key to putting the required cultural change into practice. In the fast-paced and dynamic world of IT, if you stand still, you’ve already lost.

Dr. Rupert Stuffer

Suitable Software for Citizen Development

cplace is an innovative development platform for Citizen Developers. With the help of No-Code and Low-Code, users can develop customized solutions themselves in record time. To achieve this, Citizen Developers do not have to start from scratch compared to other platforms. Flexible and proven solution modules, known as Solution Templates, serve as a starting point and can be individually adapted according to requirements. This turns users into co-creators. 

Citizen Developers have access to a wide selection of ready-made layout modules and apps in cplace. They can use these building blocks to design pages, create dashboards and configure them. The intuitive user interface makes it quick and easy to use these tools, while the integrated authorization management ensures that layouts are created within predefined guidelines. 

 cplace also redefines the “Single Source of Truth” approach and provides a centralized and user-specific platform that gives all users real-time access to data. 

Conclusion

Citizen Development can prove to be a game changer for companies. The use of No-Code and Low-Code revolutionizes internal processes and strengthens the organization’s ability to innovate. Central software platforms such as cplace offer a promising perspective for democratized, efficient and creative software development that drives digital transformation forward.  

Do you want to find out more about Citizen Development with cplace? Get in touch with us.

 

About the Author

Bastian Rang, Senior Product & Solution Architect, cplace 

Bastian Rang has more than 20 years of experience as a teacher, coach and trainer in the IT environment and in the development and architecture of IT solutions with various technologies. At cplace, he works as a coach for Citizen Developers and as a Solution Architect. His focus is on individual enterprise solutions with the help of No- and Low-Code.

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Bastian Rang

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