Every industry and area of business is in a state of flux today. To keep pace with these times, it is imperative for organizations to adopt new technologies that minimize operational costs, reduce complexities, optimize productivity, and establish new models for business success. No-code development solutions tick on all the above buckets. They enable organizations to rapidly develop applications and create customizations without any coding and reliance on specialized developers.
Indeed, a No-code platform with its point-and-click configuration provides an easy route to application development for business users rather than professional developers. Consequently, such tools have led to a growing population of what Gartner calls “citizen developers,”.
What exactly is a Citizen Developer?
A citizen developer is a business user who uses No-code solutions to build business-critical applications for consumption by others. They develop applications to facilitate various processes of business operations while following the guidelines and standards set by the IT department. Unlike professional developers, they may not have any formal coding knowledge. Citizen developers may have limited technical or development skills, but they need to have a thorough understanding of the business process. Citizen developers has been a buzzword of the times, and No-code solutions have been big contributors towards this.
The New Development Wave is Coming
The market for No-code application development tools that support technology-oriented non-technologists is tipped to grow at an exponential rate in the coming years. A Gartner study forecasts that by 2024 Low/No-code will make up more than 65% of all application development activity and three-quarters of large enterprises will use at least four such development tools. Another research by Verified Market Research forecasts that the No-code market will witness a growth of more than 44% annually through 2026.
The overwhelming popularity of No/Low code solutions has also fueled a new wave of developers – the Citizen Developers. A Gartner report suggests that 41% of organizations have active citizen development initiatives and an additional 20% are in the evaluation or planning stage. Additionally, Gartner also found that 41% of modern-day enterprise employees call themselves “business technologists”.
Catalysts for Citizen Development
While the maturing of No-code solutions has been a major force behind the rise of citizen developers, there are some other contributing factors too.
- Cloud Computing: Cloud has been a major contributor to the growth of citizen development. Applications created for cloud platforms are far less dependent on local processors than those written for a single server. Cloud applications can utilize various microservices, which are pre-built chunks of code that have been tested and optimized for performance. As a result, the non-programmers can easily use a Low/No-code solution to build a rich application complementing these microservices.
- Shortage of Skills: Another major driving factor for citizen development is the growing shortage of professional developers. Though there is a disagreement about the exact extent of talent shortfall, it is quite clear that good developers are hard to find and command big salaries. While digital transformation has become a present-day imperative, most organizations are being held back by the shortage of quality developers in their ranks.
- Resistance is Melting: Gradually, developers and IT teams are becoming more comfortable with the concept of citizen development. They understand the utility of letting business-side colleagues create Low/No-code applications. Leading organizations have already activated their citizen development strategy, which allows the IT to govern and ensure the security of applications developed by the citizen developers.
- No-code Tools are Improving: With growing popularity, the No-code tools are adding sophisticated capabilities too. This Lego-style application development approach, which supported limited customization and development aspects earlier, can now enable the Citizen developers to create different kinds of sophisticated applications that the new-age digital businesses require.
- CIOs are realizing the value: A combination of all the aforementioned factors is leading to a change in the attitude of corporate technology leaders. There is a strong feeling that successful enterprises will operate with a model where most professionals can leverage Low/No-code solutions to create business applications apart from their normal duties. A world where everyone is a developer!
SharePoint and the Citizen Developers
While No-code solutions have been enabling business transformation and facilitating citizen developers across all application development projects, their adoption has become incremental when it comes to reaping dividends from your SharePoint investment. While SharePoint is the most widely used collaboration and content management platform for organizations, it has various out-of-the-box limitations. This is why organizations need to invest time and money in customizing and developing SharePoint applications to tackle their business requirements.
However, SharePoint application development has always been a siloed process owned by the IT department. The complex coding associated with the traditional approach made it difficult for any other department to contribute to the process. But this overdependence on IT has its downsides too. Studies have time and again proved that more than half of SharePoint applications commissioned never see the light of day and a lot many others lose their purpose when released. This is a big mismatch with the nimbleness organizations are after nowadays.
No-code application development has proved to be a gamechanger in this sense. It empowers the business users, aka Citizen Developers, to take control of the SharePoint application development process. By leveraging point-and-click functionality alongside their understanding of SharePoint architecture and the business requirement, users can create applications they need quickly and with minimum (or no) help from IT.
Empower Your Citizen Developers with QuickApps
QuickApps is a popular SharePoint No-code application development and customization solution, pre-packed with a set of powerful web apps to empower your citizen developers. Your business users can leverage this solution to create sophisticated custom solutions without any coding and at 80% faster. What’s more, QuickApps is available for SharePoint On-premise and SharePoint Online versions. Contact us for a free demo of the product.
Associate Director – Product Development
Amit Gupta plays a key role in incubating and establishing best SharePoint practices at AgreeYa. He is closely associated with the Product Development and Delivery team and works to find new solutions based on Microsoft technology and optimize performance and responsiveness for our clients. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org