According to Gartner, Citizen Developers are estimated to be creating as much as 25% of new applications this year. Supporting and encouraging Citizen Developers within your company can lead to the creation of business applications that are uniquely designed for your field or industry. These applications can augment your customer experience, improve your service and can even add streams of revenue to your company. Supporting and encouraging Citizen Developers will provide you with an exceptional return on investment.
What are Citizen Developers?
According to Gartner: “A Citizen Developer is a user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT.” This is advantageous because Citizen Developers can build applications in-house, utilizing a variety of development platforms and cloud computing services.
Citizen Developers can create business applications even if they have no previous programming knowledge. Since they already work in your industry and in your company, they have unique insights into the way you function and the needs of your customers. This enables them to create applications which work in the most effective way and help your company to perfect its processes and work more efficiently.
Creating Citizen Developers
Start by encouraging your budding Citizen Developers to find company solutions for company problems. Most employees rely on management to solve their issues, to streamline processes or determine structures. Encourage your employees to pay attention to issues or inefficiencies and think of solutions to these problems.
It can be difficult for management to empower employees to find solutions for their problems, especially if there hasn’t been a culture of inclusion in the past. However, your employees have unique insights into the issues your company faces and they often have inspired ideas. When you empower them to bring these solutions to fruition you are not only arming yourself with creative and innovative ways to be more efficient, you are also encouraging your employees to have a vested interest in the future of your company.
A recent Trackvia survey found that employees who were Citizen Developers were much more ambitious. Finding solutions to inefficiencies meant that they were promoted faster and earned more money than their colleagues. They also tended to be fast-tracked to leadership positions; all points that can encourage employees to get involved with problem solving application development.
Many businesses think that developer talent must start within the IT department. Not so. The reality is that most Citizen Developers don’t come from the IT department ranks. When employees in other departments want to create their own solutions, the IT department should enable and support them in their role as Citizen Developers.
Building a strong relationship of inclusion between your IT department and other departments will encourage potential Citizen Developers in the IT department to feel empowered to create solutions.
Access to the right tools
Of course, becoming a Citizen Developer doesn’t require any special knowledge of programming. Instead, a Citizen Developer needs access to the right tools for the job.
Create a company culture that supports innovation and ideas, and provide access to software and other technologies, like cloud-based application builders. Remember that investing in your budding Citizen Developers will give you an excellent return on investment by making your business far more efficient.
You also need to provide training for users so that they make full use of any applications that are developed and understand the importance of these applications in streamlining your process.
Does your business have Citizen Developers in its ranks? How are you supporting them and encouraging innovation? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.