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The Citizen Developer and Automation Movement

Blog: ProcessMaker Blog

Application development used to be a game of “inside baseball,” with programming languages like Java and C# serving as a stalwart gatekeeper between idea and deployment. Building a new app or workflow required help by a select few that were highly trained in the esoteric keys to the city. Modern workflow platforms have upended this paradigm, rolling out the red carpet of development to non-IT employees known as citizen developers.

What is a citizen developer? 

In 2012, Gartner analyst John K. Walters famously proclaimed, “we’re all developers now,” debuting a new focus on the citizen developer trend. Underpinning the movement is the democratization of development tools: businesses have picked the locks on code-heavy development to open up application design to non-technical users. Propelled by the proliferation of simple visual tools, almost anyone can create custom applications that used to require thousands of lines of code to produce. Imagine how simple it is to create a PowerPoint presentation or build a basic website using new visual-based editors like Wix or Squarespace. “Low code tools” like these continue to pull back the curtain on IT and grant the ability to create lightweight workflows to a wider spectrum of employees.

Powering these low-code platforms are easy functionalities like: 

Instead of requiring a computer science degree, citizen developers can now build simple automations with user-friendly, low-code tools.

How does the citizen developer movement benefit your organization? 

Citizen developers enable an “all hands on deck” mentality that can meet the challenges of scaling your business. The demand for top-notch customer experiences is developing at a breakneck speed, and a strategy of citizen development is one of the most popular ways to rise to the challenge. Here’s how you can benefit from the citizen developer movement:  

‘Citizen developer’ is more than a buzzword, but offers a tangible boost in both organizational efficiency and productivity. The power of the movement is so far reaching, that Gartner estimates that citizen developers handle nearly 60% of simple apps, creating unprecedented opportunity for your organization. 

Why are some organizations hesitant to deputize citizen developers? 

Despite the overwhelming benefits, many organizations are still reluctant to unleash the full power of the citizen developer. What are their chief concerns? 

By fostering the right hand-in-hand partnership between citizen developers and IT, your organization can quickly buck these hesitations and soak in the benefits of the low-code movement. 

What does the future hold for the citizen developer movement? 

The democratization of development opens new doors of productivity, but technology is a constantly moving carrot. The power of low-code tools will continually improve, grazing the asymptotic barrier of code itself. “No-code” tools will become simpler yet more powerful, bestowing even more capabilities upon your squadron of citizen developers. With your most talented team members itching to lead your organization into the future, now’s the perfect time to prepare them with the tools they need to expand the horizons of your business.

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