Citizen developers are coming and it is about as exciting as it gets

citizen developers
Image credit | Uwphotographer/

Citizen developers is a term that just sprang out of the recent NTT Ltd’s Future Disrupted: 2021 technology trends report and not just because it was the only term that made sense. Other terms, equally important we are sure, included completely new acronyms that will become part of the technology lexicon but seem too ‘future’ for our brains, currently locked inside a pandemic.

Citizen developers, however, is an area where real innovation will be triggered because, as the term suggests, the tools are now out there to allow ‘no code’ and ‘low code’ application building.

The sound you just heard was IT banging its head against the wall in a ‘not another thing for the execs to play with and ruin my life with’. But the potential is enormous.

Of course, the checks and balances will need to be in place and governance must be strict but think about a customer service manager able to build an app-based directly on the feedback from customers and customer service agents. Or the billing manager, from finance, who has been trying to explain what he wants for months. Now they can build what they want, even if company rules govern how they do it.

Citizen developers will allow managers to spend more time on high-value work. It will cut out the middle man, it will allow business people to communicate so much more effectively with technical people and it will become how business people begin to actively manage the huge amount of data that is flowing through their business.

Another NTT report points to a refreshing trend, namely that 72% of Asia Pacific businesses believe that customer service will be at the heart of digital transformation over the next year or so and will be a critical component of business strategy.

While there were a few new acronyms spread through the technology report, the idea of citizen developers is the one that made complete sense. Combine the citizen developer concept with a real focus on customer experience (as well as employee experience) and perhaps we have the ingredients for real transformation, not just digital transformation.

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