Digital transformations are no longer a strategy for the future. Companies must make the transition today in order to keep up with the competition. That being said, digitizing an entire organization’s operations and continuing to update processes is a huge feat that cannot be undertaken by internal IT and software development departments alone. Citizen developers and low-code/no-code platforms can bolster IT teams and are integral to digitizing and automating business processes in an efficient way.

What is a citizen developer?

While IT developers know the ins and outs of coding and building software tools from scratch, citizen developers also have the tools to build digitized workflows for their own departments. Citizen developers typically don’t have formal coding or software development training. Instead, they create applications using IT-approved low-code/co-code platforms, such as TrackVia. These platforms empower people in different departments to drag and drop various digitized tasks to create custom workflows that work for them. 

What are the pros of using citizen developers over IT or software developer departments?

There are several advantages to using citizen developers as part of a more broad digitization strategy. With IT departments facing an ever-growing backlog of work due to digital transformation, many requests are delayed or left unfulfilled. One of the primary benefits of citizen developers is that they help to alleviate often overburdened IT and software development teams by handling some of these requests themselves.

Citizen developers also help overcome the software development skills shortage by using accessible, intuitive software to build apps. In other words, while your business may struggle to find enough software development talent to achieve automation goals, or struggle to find the means to pay them—or if the talent is there, it may be too cost prohibitive to scale it adequately—citizen developers can help bridge the gap and are generally more cost-effective.

Perhaps more importantly, Citizen developers have unique insights into how their departments work and what they need to be more efficient or effective at their jobs. This means they can create applications and workflows that are tailored to their department’s specific needs rather than forcing a generic software solution fit. Often times citizen developers are better positioned than company-wide IT development teams to create applications that automate certain parts of the work since they know first hand where greater efficiency is needed and what every step of a given process entails.

By taking advantage of citizen developers to create applications using low-code/no-code platforms, businesses can also unlock more benefits like superior reporting and data management/insights, increasingly streamlined processes, and overall more transparency.

How can the two work together?

IT teams are an indispensable part of any business, but relying on them to digitize every aspect of a company is challenging and time-consuming. Let’s face it, IT and software development teams only have so much bandwidth and businesses can only scale them so much before running out of resources. Having citizen developers across various departments can therefore support IT teams and accelerate the digitization process.

While IT departments continue to look at company-wide solutions, bigger digitization, and automation strategies, citizen developers can tackle the smaller, but still valuable, digitization jobs that IT teams might not have time to prioritize. In other words, citizen developers can create department-specific applications to increase their (and their colleagues’) day-to-day operations. 

Here’s an example. A citizen developer in logistics can use low-code/no-code solutions approved by IT to create a shipment tracking app that monitors all the deliveries that are in progress. Through a mobile app, delivery drivers can input when a shipment is delivered by taking a photo at its drop-off location. The app will then automatically update across all connected dashboards so that everyone across the logistics department—and the customer—are up to date. Ultimately, with citizen developers and IT teams working together, digitization can happen at a broad and more specific level simultaneously. 

What kind of businesses can benefit from a citizen developer?

Virtually any business or organization can benefit from the use of citizen developers because every industry or vertical can benefit from empowering its teams to optimize their own processes. This widespread applicability is enabled by the fact that low-code/no-code platforms such as TrackVia are universal. This means they can be implemented across different industries—such as Agri-business, Construction, Education, Energy, Finance, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Retail, and many more—as well as different departments within these industries, from Human Resources to Sales to Logistics. 

How a citizen developer’s perspective can improve your business

Because citizen developers come from all types of backgrounds and specialties, they can offer new perspectives within your business and create new solutions that IT developers may overlook. Their unique understanding of existing processes—including what currently works and where bottlenecks may occur—informs their choices as they build digital workflows to boost efficiency. 

A citizen developer can be just about anyone, whether it’s a manager needing to establish a streamlined system for monitoring their team’s productivity and days off, the person responsible for tracking requests for proposals (RFPs) or quality checks, or anyone in your business who must access and organize data. Whatever the profile, citizen developers can improve your business through their desire to make their departments function better and more smoothly.

How TrackVia’s low-code/no-code can help

Low-code/no-code platforms empower the citizen developers within your business to take greater control of their work and find streamlined solutions. TrackVia’s IT-approved low-code/no-code platform, which features a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface for app building, gives citizen developers the tools that ensure your business’ digitization efforts progress smoothly and even the most ambitious automation goals are met. In the end, TrackVia’s solution helps people across all departments get on board with digital transformation and ongoing process optimization efforts.

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