Citizen Development is Not for Everyone

The phrase “Citizen development” is everywhere. Propelled by the proliferation of simple visual tools, it is advertised that basically anyone can create customer applications that previously required development skills and a deeper understanding of technology.

Who Are Citizen Developers?

According to Gartner, “A citizen developer is an employee who creates application capabilities for consumption by themselves or others.” In other words, they are non-IT experts, with little to no coding experience, who build applications with visual tools. They use no-code and low-code application development tools to build and implement new applications. The premise, to design, build, and implement solutions faster, resonates well and is easily understood. You’ll hear that this provides a great way to foster a culture of innovation. Yet it’s not without issues.

Citizen Development Pitfalls

Citizen development addresses the gap in tech expertise that exists today. Low-code or no-code platforms make it easier for non-IT individuals to build and implement enterprise applications. Low-code platforms enable this movement but won’t be enough to drive results. Our creative and knowledgeable VP of Technical Services, Thom C. Blackwell states, “No code = easy is akin to “choke down a horse and strain on a gnat” logic. Writing code isn’t what makes automating a complex workflow hard, complex workflow is what makes it hard.” Just because you own a hammer, it doesn’t mean you can build a house. Citizen developer tools create allure by stating that you don’t have to code like a developer. The challenge is that you still have to think like one.

How Can IT Rebrand Citizen Development?

Be honest about the term citizen development. It is not a panacea, and it’s certainly not magic, nor can everyone be successful with it. In fact, without the right organizational culture, the right people and the right support, it may not work at all. The idea of citizen development has value. But in most situations, a hybrid model of citizen-assisted development is what is being used. Citizen-assisted development assigns the right responsibility to the right people at the right time, and keeps them working together for future success and sustainability. IT can clarify projects and applications that can lend themselves well to this new generation of citizen developers, but it will be imperative to set boundaries and ensure gray areas aren’t crossed.

Choose the Best Low Code Platform with the Best Support

Choose the best no-code/low-code platform based on its features and functionality, use cases, and how well your organization will adopt it. That’s why we debuted Boston WorkStation 20. BWS20 makes it faster and easier than ever for users to significantly increase the speed and scale of their automation projects. It’s compatible with your existing automations without the need to convert code. But, we do not talk about citizen developers, like some vendors, because this moniker is a bit misleading. Creating automations from content objects, recordings, and graphics is possible, yet not everyone is suited to take this on. That’s why we offer to onboard your projects with you, to create faster implementations, and greater success. We support clients every step of the way in teaching them about the automations, and helping you ensure everything is correct and sustainable. That’s why we have 5-star reviews. We don’t leave everything up to the end user. A lot of folks are using the term “citizen developer” today. In reality, a hybrid model of citizen-assisted development takes the best ideas behind citizen development and professional development and melds them into something that is far more likely to succeed in the long term.

Why Boston WorkStation?

Because we state our truths and keep our promises. 100% of our customers stated that Boston WorkStation provides a “money’s worth ROI,” “works as promoted,” and delivers “five star support.” We are excited to talk about these improvements and even more excited for you to try them. Do you want to learn more about how Boston WorkStation 20 can add value to your organization? Give us a call. We’ll schedule a 30-minute convo to explain what has set us apart for the last 30 years, and provide everything you need for a successful RPA journey.

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