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The Citizen Developer Movement

We’ve all heard the saying “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” The well-worn mantra of successful entrepreneurs holds true also in business IT, as organizations push forward with digital transformation initiatives and turn to citizen developers to harness the power of low code to deliver rapid innovation to their organizations.

“Over the past six months, I’ve spoken to dozens of organizations who have deployed low-code solutions, both for large-scale deployment and one-off projects. It’s been a fascinating journey, with a number of epiphanies along the way,” says GigaOm VP of Research Jon Collins.

Collins delves into the emerging role of citizen developers in his new report Real-World Citizen Development: How to Achieve Sustainable Rapid Delivery.

While the rise of citizen developers is new, what’s changed is the reach and scale of low-code development, which is poised to deliver on its broader potential. Citizen development cannot mean uncontrolled development for a number of reasons, Collins writes in his report.

“Low code is still code, somewhere!” says Collins. “This shouldn’t be such a surprise, but in this automation age we sometimes lull ourselves into a sense that all the problems have been taken away. With low code, the challenges are still there, they’ve just been de-risked by pulling together a simple-to-use, comprehensive enablement platform.”

In the research, Collins recommends a balance between enablement and good practice. The report is aimed at technology leaders, business and process analysts, operational managers, and indeed, those looking to innovate and become citizen developers themselves. It covers the following areas:

  • The relationship between low code and citizen development
  • Core principles of sustainable rapid delivery
  • Steps to building a citizen development practice

The report also offers organizations suggestions for how to ready themselves for low code and citizen development in a way that maximizes effectiveness without increasing business risk. Collins says overall the research drives two new insights.

“The first is that supplier relationships become more important than ever, as you are essentially outsourcing your challenges to a low-code provider,” he says. “The second is that low code can still become complex and unwieldy, which is the basis of this paper — that the sources of complexity, and the ways we deal with them, remain the same whether building software from scratch or using a low-code platform.”