From rapid application development (RAD) to visual modeling, low-code platforms are making life easier for software developers. However, while the toolsets themselves may be improving, what about the output? Are citizen developers getting the right output they need from low-code platforms to succeed? This article aims to highlight the benefits of citizen development, as well as show how new tools are changing the way that software is created.
60 applications in 20 months.
That’s how many apps Schneider Electric was able to build using low-code platforms.
Add this to the fact that even business users find it easy to build apps using low-code platforms, it is going to be the biggest enabler for citizen development.
Citizen developers are business users who build applications with almost zero coding experience. These are your app users and low-code platforms empower them to create their own solutions with the help of tools. A Gartner report says that more than 61% of organizations are either planning to or already have active citizen development initiatives in plan- and for the right reasons.
More than 500 million apps will be developed by 2023, according to IDC. To cater to this demand, the number of developers that we already have might not be able to keep up with it. Thanks to low-code and no-code solutions, this is where citizen developers become important.
A citizen developer doesn’t necessarily replace your IT team. Instead, they act as partners to complete certain tasks in the pipeline so that the IT team can focus on more complex tasks. Gartner says, by 2025, half of all new low-code clients will be business users outside the IT organization.
What are the benefits of citizen development?
With the help of citizen development, IT teams can build solutions faster for their organization. Since the business users know more about their domain, they are more likely to offer relevant solutions that will put the right processes in place.
- Citizen development will address the issue of shortage of software developers
- It will empower non-technical business users to solve their issues by themselves
- Help businesses save on operating costs and reduce IT backlog and encourages the IT team to concentrate on complex projects such as digital transformation, extension of core systems, and creation of enterprise-wide applications. In fact, accelerating digital transformation is one of the biggest reasons why IT leaders choose low-code platforms
- Creates an opportunity for business users and professional software developers to work together
- Citizen development can build a culture of an innovation by democratizing app development
Features that make low-code platforms a boon for citizen developers:
Low-code platforms don't ask for a lot from a newbie. In fact, research says that 70% of low-code users who had zero experience using these platforms learned low-code in less than a month. Let us look at some of the aspects of low-code platforms that allow citizen developers to get the most from it.
1. Visual tools:
Building apps using visual tools is easier than developing them by writing codes. Low-code platforms have visual modeling capabilities which use its in-built components to put forth information in an easy-to-consume format. Even a non-technical business user will be able to do this with the help of the visual tools.
2. Drag-and-drop interface:
What makes low-code platforms extremely easy to build apps? Its drag-and-drop functionality. The drag-and-drop feature is a common functionality with many tools these days, and that makes it all the more easier for business users to build applications because of the familiarity with its usage.
3. Reusable code:
Thanks to the pre-configured models and functionality for apps, low-code development is even more of an attractive proposition for citizen developers. These modules possess several core functions that are required for a number of apps. They can be reused to develop applications quickly. A low-code platform allows its users to reuse prebuilt codes, plug-ins and even entire applications.
If you are a citizen developer, and are wondering if it is possible for you to build applications that can be used by hundreds of thousands of users, then don’t worry. With low-code platforms, the apps you build are highly scalable.
5. OOTB functionality:
The Out-of-the-Box (OOTB) functionality that you will find in low-code platforms eliminates the need to build core modules for applications from scratch. For example, a few low-code platforms will have modules for financial apps. So if you are building a financial app, some of the features might already be available in these low-code platforms, thus eliminating the need for you to build it from the top.
6. Compatible on multiple devices:
Cross-platform accessibility is an attractive component you will find when you work with low-code platforms. The ability to use low-code platforms on any device, even the ones running major operational systems, allows business users to build apps which can run on all devices and platforms.
7. Simplifies software development lifecycle:
Each and every process in the software development lifecycle such as design, development, testing, etc., is streamlined and easy to navigate with low-code platforms. Low-code allows users access to information on the apps, their development, and provides the chance to go back if they need to chart a different process in the application lifecycle management.
8. Monitor processes and workflows:
Apps which are developed with low-code platforms make you keep track of the effectiveness with which you work, thanks to its reporting and monitoring capabilities. When you are building complex apps, there are times when you take a lot of iterations, and this might lead you astray, but a reporting tool ensures that you stay on track.
What are the top low-code tools which enable citizen development?
There are a number of low-code tools which provide APIs or Graphical User Interface (GUI), and they offer a visual drag-and-drop development approach. For a platform to be categorized as low-code, they should either have a code or graphics based interface for programming applications and must be integratable with popular databases or enterprise applications.
Below are some of the most popular low-code tools that facilitate citizen development:
- Appy Pie
- Nintex Process Platform
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Businesses need to perform their job efficiently by building applications that facilitate commerce. If the demand for applications is not being met, it can have serious consequences, especially since there is already a huge backlog of unmet requests for solutions. This is where citizen development becomes so important in the business ecosystem. It can not only bridge the gap between demand for applications and available supply, but it also brings in a new perspective by making business users build apps. Citizen development gets a huge fillip because of the presence of low-code platforms that make this flourish.
Zuci is there to take over your requests for building applications. Get on a call with us to understand how we can help you.