Citizen Developer: Who is she & What she needs?

Citizen Developer_ Who is she & What she needs_ (2)

5 min read

Gartner defines Citizen Developer as a user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT. I, instead, define it as a user who has software solution creation capabilities without indulging in code writing using non-technical platforms that help her develop or maintain software. The variation in the definition is the line drawn between LowCode and NoCode. These two are the significant contributions in recent years which not only help fasten software development but also help to avoid the misery triangle of often delayed IT solution development.

Traditionally, we have been following the concept of central IT department being the torchbearer of software development, and they become the intermediary broker between end-user who desire a systemic digital process and a software development firm that is capable of that digitization. However, in the whole process of ideation and exchange, several communication pollutions creep in leading to delays and imperfect output. While generalizing this aspect, there are also smart tools that create excellent collaboration capabilities across involved stakeholders, but still, more must be done for a user to feel satisfied that they have got precisely what they envisioned. The three-way communication and collaboration process are the misery triangle resulting in the output that is not to the expectation of the user who conceived the digitization.

The Generation Z employees are technology savvy but may not all be technically savvy to write code and fulfill their digitization needs by themselves. In the alternate, they can design solutions based on their needs due to their digital intimacy right from the early stage of their learning. They crave for something that can help design by themselves and invisibly code by themselves for their needs, without indulging in code writing. LowCode and NoCode platforms are born to serve this need and have become quite popular in the recent past. Every fortune 100 technology company is into the race of creating these platforms to capture this steeply increasing market need.

Most platforms today are mainly LowCode, wherein most development work is performed through non-code writing tool with final finishing touches done by a qualified code writer. LowCode method of development is agile and shortens the whole software development lifecycle to successful implementation. There is also NoCode platforms which can do one hundred percent of the work of software development and bring up solution in a ready-to-use form without a code writer writing a single line of code. In the LowCode, the pain of the misery triangle remains but at much-reduced level, while in NoCode, the freedom of self-service excels.

Modern enterprises need to be agile to succeed, and stakeholders demand quick actions, be it customers or vendors or employees or government or civil society. Primarily, they must be responsive to emerging needs and must be able to adapt and adopt quickly. NoCode platforms help enterprises to be agile and take to new situations as it comes without internal or external dependencies. However, this may not be accepted from the Corporate Governance perspective as it advocates central governance of common attributes and not distributed management at everyone’s discretion. The maturity of NoCode tools to centrally configure “must-have” or “cannot have” features, while giving flexibility for citizen(end) users to create their solutions may be the right answer to this dilemma of freedom versus control.

The world of software development is going to explode with NoCode development tools and make every user a citizen developer. The complexity of creating a user-friendly non-technical NoCode platform will be the challenge of repute code writers. I can see the shift from code writing for solutions to code writing for platforms or tools. Code writers need to enhance their skills to develop code on macro-level rather than micro-level development of specific processes or rules or situations.

Retail ViVA, our Retail Management system software, has 26 modules, and 16 of them are designed and developed using our NoCode platform known as “CodeSelfie.” Our agility to re-design or cater to a user request is so fast, and I can see our scalability to build better products. NoCode is the future of software development for citizen users and NoCode platform development is the future of code writers. NoCode is one other fantastic concept that keeps us on edges like AI, IoT, robotic automation, and blockchain. I firmly believe the future belongs to NoCode platform developers.

Written by
(Ragu)nathan Kannan