Going Outside of IT, 'Citizen Developers' Speeding Up App Delivery

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Going Outside of IT, 'Citizen Developers' Speeding Up App Delivery

With frustrations growing over their IT department’s inability to deliver business apps on a timely basis, a significant number of organizations are allowing—if not embracing—app development on the part of non-IT employees, according to a recent survey from Kintone, which markets a cloud-based rapid application development platform. The resulting report, titled “The Rise of the Citizen Developer: 2017 Low-Code Adoption Survey,” reveals that non-IT developed apps are supporting a great deal of data analytics and marketing functions. To further encourage citizen development, survey respondents said they need more access to low-code platforms. Nearly 325 IT and non-IT professionals took part in the research, which was conducted by Unisphere Research.

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Lack of Speed and Data Sharing Create Concerns

Three of 10 survey respondents are dissatisfied with their IT department’s speed of app delivery. Nearly the same number are dissatisfied with the tech department’s ability to share data and analytics.

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Organizations Depend Greatly Upon Non-IT Created Apps

Among apps currently in use, at least 11 percent were developed outside of the IT department (i.e., “citizen development”) for nearly one-half of organizations. Survey respondents at 20 percent of companies said no less than 51 percent of their apps were created outside of IT.

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Companies Often Allow—and Even Embrace—Citizen App Development

Three of 10 survey respondents said non-IT app development and deployment are allowed at their company with IT oversight, and an additional 12 percent said non-IT app development and deployment are actively encouraged. Just over one-quarter of survey respondents said there is no official policy in place about this activity.

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Data Analytics Leads Non-IT Developed Apps

The most common non-IT developed apps support data analytics, as cited by 43 percent of survey respondents. Apps for marketing functions rank second, at 34 percent.

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Open Source Emerges as Popular App Tool

Kintone reports that 54 percent of non-IT developers draw upon open-source apps to pursue app projects. Local productivity tools, such as spreadsheets, are used by 45 percent of these developers.

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Many Citizen Developers Build Apps While on Company Clock

When asked when they build their apps, 28 percent of citizen developers said they do part of this during the workday and the rest during their off hours. Only 8 percent build these apps entirely on their own time, while 45 percent create apps entirely during regular hours.

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Citizen Development Results in Rapid Turnaround Time for App Delivery

One-third of non-IT created apps are delivered within a one-month time frame. For 16 percent of these apps, the turnaround time is little more than two weeks.

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Citizen Developers Claim IT Is 'Too Slow' at Delivering Apps

When non-tech workers were asked why they develop apps on their own, 42 percent said that the IT department “has been too slow.” One-third said they are seeking new modes of personal productivity.

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Security Issues Stand in Way of Non-IT App Development

Kintone reports that 42 percent of survey respondents cite data security concerns as a top obstacle to non-IT app development. A “lack of knowledge” about building apps was cited by 38 percent of respondents as a top obstacle.

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Citizen Developers Seek Low-Code Platforms

Just over one-half of survey respondents said they could use an easy-to-use platform (or low-code platform) to encourage more citizen development. There’s also a need for more training and education to support programming/app development skills, according to 46 percent of survey respondents.

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