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Citizen Developer Governance: How to Manage It

Successful citizen development requires careful governance from IT departments.IT departments must embrace citizen developer programs. With proper IT oversight, companies can empower these workers to build secure business apps with outstanding user experiences.

Taking Business Processes Mobile with Proper Governance

Business workers are using more and more technology and SaaS tools to get their jobs done. This is often called Shadow IT. IT departments can't ignore this trend or they'll find themselves in battle with business lines.

One example is an urgent demand from business units to do more business processes on mobile devices. Your organization must craft mobile apps that allow employees and customers to conduct critical business tasks on smartphones and tablets.  

Unfortunately, you don't have enough software developers to get them all built. You're going to need citizen developers to get the job done. Software developers and IT groups that support these users will be more strategic to the overall enterprise. IT governance is imperative in these situations because, without proper oversight, enterprise standards for application development and security could be compromised.

What are Citizen Developers?

Citizen developers are workers who don't report to IT but build applications to solve business problems. They use intuitive, low-code app development tools to create new business applications for consumption by other employees. Without proper oversight, enterprise standards for application development and security could be compromised.

Taking Business Processes Mobile with Proper Governance

Business workers are using more and more technology and SaaS tools to get their jobs done. IT departments can't ignore the trend or they'll find themselves in battle with business lines.

Software developers and IT groups that support these users will be more strategic to the overall enterprise. IT governance is imperative in these cases because, without proper oversight, enterprise standards for application development and security could be compromised.

Why is Citizen Development Important?

The citizen developer movement is vital to organizations concludes a recent Gartner report, “The Future of Apps Must Include Citizen Development." The report also discusses the IT department's role in digitally transforming the enterprise by supporting these first-time business app developers.

Gartner analysts write: “Application leaders cannot ignore or block business unit led IT and particularly citizen development. Doing so will further diminish the value of the IT organization in the eyes of the business. In fact, the modern digital workplace requires cultivating citizen IT in order to maximize digital dexterity.”

What’s driving this movement? The ever-growing need for well-written business applications and the challenge of IT to deliver them directly. According to Gartner, 41% of IT departments have citizen development initiatives and 20% are either evaluating or planned to start initiatives.

  • 41% of respondents have active citizen development initiatives and 20% are either evaluating or plan to start initiatives.

The report doesn’t just point to the importance of citizen developers for enterprises. It also offers recommendations for the ways in which IT can best guide and optimize the approach.

How to Foster Citizen Development

1) Build Trust

Shadow IT, which can harm an enterprise’s overall digital strategy, occurs when IT and business users don't have mutual trust. Departments may start building insecure applications that work outside the normal workflow or don’t integrate with enterprise data and resources. Gartner suggests IT mitigate shadow IT risk by "working with business unit leaders to enlist citizen developers to establish trust."

2) Foster a Community of Users Who Create Apps

IT must ensure that apps written by employees outside of IT are of the highest quality and follow enterprise standards. Gartner suggests encouraging self-governing citizen development practices by "fostering a community of practice (CoP) across business units and with IT.”

3) Find the Right Low-Code Platforms
When developing applications, business workers need guidance on the most effective tools, which means the apps they write can be problematic. Enterprises should focus on "joint business and IT selection of the right tools and enabling technologies" for citizen development says Gartner.

Why is Citizen Developer Governance Important?

Citizen Developer Governance turns rogue shadow IT projects into secure apps that follow corporate guidelines and policies. IT can ensure data is secure, apps are properly tested, and apps go through an approval process. A clear policy establishes quality control over citizen development. It ensures that app development across the organization is consistent and high quality.

IT makes sure security requirements are followed, corporate branding guidelines are employed, and apps deliver high quality user experiences on a range of iOS and Android devices. Without governance over citizen development, IT cannot ensure that app performance and security adhere to company standards. When developing apps,

Selecting the right no-code or low-code platform that meets your IT department's technical requirements and policies is critical. The right software will be key to ensuring successful, consistent app development by people outside of the IT department. 

How to Govern Citizen Developers

Organizations are decreasing the app backlog by enabling citizen developers to build mobile apps. The key to success is ensuring that IT sanctions the software, processes and policies used to build company apps.

Compete guide to Citizen Developer GovernanceCompanies should explore the following citizen development governance data and topics:

  • Predictions for how many business apps enterprises will need to build in the coming years
  • Practical examples of business analysts and domain experts building applications
  • What your organization must do to govern business app development in business units
  • Setting requirements for secure business apps built outside of the IT organization
  • The types of no-code and low-code development platforms to consider for citizen development.

We've assembled all these points in an essential guide on how companies should govern citizen development efforts. IT leaders and business leaders can use this guide to establish  a citizen development center of excellence for their organizations:


Get the Complete Guide to Citizen Development Governance

 

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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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