Alpha Software Blog

Citizen Development: Non-Techs Will Outnumbers Techs 4:1

More business leaders are building business apps than ever before. These people are solving business problems with innovative citizen developer platforms and they're doing it in weeks or even days. Learn why citizen developers will be in every company soon.

Is Citizen Development Increasing?

Citizen developers are increasing in numberWant more evidence that low-code/no-code development platforms will become the most popular tools for software development? Gartner now says that citizen developers are on track to outnumber professional developers by a four-to-one margin at large companies.

According to the VentureBeat article “Gartner: Citizen developers will soon outnumber professional coders 4 to 1,” Gartner predicts “By 2023, the number of active citizen developers at large enterprises will be at least four times the number of professional developers.”

What is Citizen Development?

Citizen development occurs when a company tasks line-of-business professional with building mobile apps. By increasing the rate of app development, the business can be digitally transformed faster.

Citizen Development often puts guidelines in place that guide citizen developers in creating business applications. These guidelines may include:

  • Sanctioned citizen developer tools approved by IT departments for citizen developers to use.
  • Policies around who can build these apps.
  • Best practices on how to design, build, brand, test, deploy and update new task-based apps.
  • Procedures around how new apps will be approved or tested by IT.
  • Clear app security requirements.
  • Data governance, or how data will be used, accessed and developed in apps
  • a Center of Excellence.

Should IT Departments Support Citizen Development?

IT Departments must work with growing numbers of citizen developers

The VentureBeat article points to a presentation by Gartner distinguished VP and analyst on software design and application development Jason Wong at a recent Gartner IT Symposium said he believes that low-code/no-code platforms will eventually use Articial Intelligence to make citizen developers even more powerful. He says, “They will use AI to automate what’s happening behind the scenes. And if you’re a citizen developer business user, you might just trust that the tool is giving you the right models.”

That makes it even more important that IT and citizen developers work hand in hand. Wong warns, “The worst that can happen is IT and the business are not on the same page about how their low-code and no-code tools are being used.”

Why Are Businesses Investing in Citizen Development?

Businesses are investing in citizen developersWhy will that happen? Wong said that businesses need to use “hyperautomation” if they are going to thrive in today’s and tomorrow’s markets – and that low-code/no-code development platforms are vital to building that hyperautomation.

What exactly is hyperautomation? Gartner describes it this way: “a business-driven, disciplined approach that organizations use to rapidly identify, vet, and automate as many businesses and IT processes as possible.”

Wong told the symposium that, in the words of the VentureBeat article, “The possibilities (of hyperautomation) are so vast that IT can’t pursue them alone — and shouldn’t try to…. Instead of complaining about ‘shadow IT’ efforts outside the control of the CIO, IT should engage with business unit developers to make sure they have what they need to get their work done.”

What Software Enables Citizen Developers?

No code tools and low code software are aiding citizen developers

Those business units, Wong says, have plenty of citizen developers who can use low-code/no-code development tools to automate business processes and get businesses closer to hyperautomation.

Wong says it’s important that IT recognize these citizen developers do work that is absolutely vital to enterprises. He says, “In fact, they are doing serious work. They create algorithms. They create user interfaces that make it easier for their teams to do their work.”

And they’re not just tweaking existing features, he adds. They’re creating entirely new capabilities: “They see the power of workflow and business logic.”

What is the Best Low-Code Software for Citizen Development Initiatives?

Alpha Software offers the best low-code app development platform for building business applications and more. It includes enterprise security and integrations with data sources and other applications.

Low code software for citizen developersAlpha Anywhere low code app development software is an excellent option for citizen developers that want to create business apps with advanced features. This low-code software produces web and mobile apps that can easily access and integrate with any database or web service and can include role-based security and robust offline functionality. Build apps for free with Alpha Anywhere Community Edition.

What No-Code Software is Best for the Citizen Development Movement?

Alpha Software also offers highly custom, no-code app software. The Alpha TransForm no-code app builder helps enterprises craft online or offline mobile apps in minutes that utilize the latest mobile features (camera, GPS, etc.) for fast, accurate data capture. Learn more about the Alpha TransForm app maker and try it free for 30 days.

Examples of Apps Built by Citizen Developers

Citizen developers can built very powerful, secure apps when they utilize the right software. Here are some examples of low-code apps built by citizen developers with Alpha Software: 

  • The owner of a home energy inspection company needed to do more work with the inspectors he had.  He saved more than 40 man hours a week, by building an energy inspection app.  Building Engineering Company built a mobile forms app that saved time (15 hours/each per week) for home energy inspectors. The app captures photos, does calculations for the inspector and more.
  • GBS Enterprises is a furniture warranty company that removed paper forms and increased the productivity of its field team by 80%.
Further reading: Learn how to become a citizen developer.
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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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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.