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Heroes or Villains?

How IT Sees
Citizen Developers
A Survey of Rapid Application Delivery Platform Users

Index
2 Digital Transformation Requires Business to Think Differently
4 Working in Harmony for Enterprise Success
5 Investigating the Role of the Citizen Developer
7 Survey Results
19 Case Study: Allan Bros

Digital Transformation Requires


Business to Think Differently
Enterprises Profit from Faster Rates of Innovation
According to McKinsey and Company, businesses on the digital frontier experience two to
three times faster profit margin growth. The firm also states that by 2025, digitalization is
expected to contribute $2 trillion to US GDP and could displace up to 12 million middle-skill
workers. Companies, governments, and other organizations should prepare for the challenges and opportunities that digital transformation will bring.*
The Rise of the Citizen Developer
Silos that separate employees by function slow down the pace of innovation, and so
business leaders are insisting their organizations remove the barriers that hinder advancement. To make this happen, companies are enabling employees who will use a business
application to have a hand in its development. These Citizen Developers have roles that are
removed from software and application development. Their knowledge of the business,
however, makes them instrumental to the development of elegant, powerful applications
that solve business problems and accelerate digital transformation.

*The Accelerating Digitization of the US Economy,


February 2016, McKinsey Global Institute

Empowering Citizen Developers


Rapid application development and delivery (RAD) platforms offer faster development and
deployment times and reduce IT backlog. Equally important, these platforms enable companies to harness knowledge capital from all levels. The use of visual development and the
elimination of most hand-coding means almost anyone can design a business application. In
essence, RAD platforms provide Citizen Developers a sandbox for applying their knowledge
of the business to application development. Different groups in a company are able to
exchange knowledge and skills while gaining a better understanding of company goals and

I completely changed my life


with OutSystems, I was the first
client to adopt it in Italy, and
Im still enthusiastic about it.

how various business initiatives contribute to achieving those objectives.


How Does IT Benefit?

Paolo Palmisano

RAD platforms can bring development under one roof. They provide a solution that ensures

Risk Manager, BANOR SIM SpA


Milan, Italy

traditional IT departments retain control over processes related to security, governance,


reliability, integration, and other standards.
And, by shifting resources away from basic app development to tasks that are more strategic
to the company, IT is seen as supplying leadership rather than simply offering coding and
technical skills.

Working in Harmony for


Enterprise Success
Why Citizen Developers Need IT

Citizen
Developers

By empowering line of business employees to build apps, business units can avoid the waits
caused by backlogs in their IT departments. Yet, even with the latest generation of RAD
platforms, Citizen Developers still need IT to help them with integration, deployment and
security. IT ensures that Citizen Developers are designing applications safely, with control,
and that their applications conform to company standards.
Why IT Needs Citizen Developers
Digital transformation is a priority, and IT is tasked with delivering the most impact and
speeding the pace of delivery. By enabling Citizen Developers to initiate application projects,
IT can increase its strategic value to the enterprise.
Why the Enterprise Needs This to Work
Applications that are built for specific business purposes and processes enable enterprises to

IT

gain quick wins and improvements. Time is of the essence, and relying on traditional application development techniques places a burden on IT.
Moving to digital business requires a newer and faster approach to application development.
Implementing a well-designed platform that empowers Citizen Developers to participate in
building apps -- which they and their peers will use -- can provide organizations with keen
insight into the business while ensuring speed and security.

Investigating the Role


of the Citizen Developer
A Survey Sheds Light
With an objective of understanding the effect of Citizen Developers on the industry,
TechValidate surveyed nearly 200 enterprise IT professionals and executives who use
OutSystems Platform for rapid enterprise application delivery. Their responses shed light on
the role of the Citizen Developer in organizations and how IT can use their work to increase
the pace of innovation.
The responses also offer insights into how IT can:

Enable Citizen Developers to reduce IT backlog


Retain control over the development process
Prevent shadow IT from building apps that lack security, reliability
and documentation
Involve application end-users in early design and development phases
Deliver apps that solve business challenges and integrate with legacy systems
Meet application architecture, security and governance standards
Survey Information
The majority of respondents are IT professionals from banking, finance, technology,
transportation, energy, utilities, healthcare, and government as well as other industries. Their
responses helped TechValidate uncover IT and Citizen Developer trends in organizations of
all sizes, sectors and locations.

Respondents based on job title

Respondents based on company size

IT Professionals 80%

Medium Enterprise 40%

Other 20%

Large Enterprise 20%


Small Business 18%
Government 11%

https://www.techvalidate.com/tvid/756-32A-BC0

Respondents based on country


Europe (Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Italy,
Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal,
Romania, Spain, Switzerland and UK) 48%
North America (Canada, USA, Mexico) 25%

Educational Institution 4%

Asia (United Arab Emirates and Jordan with


China, Japan, India and Singapore) 13%

Non-profit 2%

Africa (Angola and South Africa) 7%

Fortune 500 2%
Global 500 2%

Australia (Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia)


4%

S&P 500 1%

South America (Brazil) 3%

https://www.techvalidate.com/tvid/072-554-B6A

https://www.techvalidate.com/tvid/487-654-F17

Survey Results

Are Citizen
Developers a Reality?

Does your company enable employees, who are not developers by trade (Citizen
Developers), to create apps?

The majority of organizations responding to this


survey have not begun to implement Citizen
Developer programs. However, 32% indicated they
were currently enabling or planning to enable Citizen
Developers, thus indicating a growing trend.
Only IT and coders by trade build apps
in our organization 68%
We currently enable Citizen Developers
17%

The Platform supports fast learning and development of both smart and desktop services using agile

We are considering enabling Citizen


Developers 10%

development methodology, among many other


features.

We will enable Citizen Developers in the


next 1-3 months 5%

Ibrahim Abdoh
IT Manager, Dubai Courts
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

https://www.techvalidate.com/tvid/1FD-AFD-281

Who Are the Citizen


Developers?

How would you define the term Citizen Developer?


This is a multiple-choice question - response percentages may not add up to 100.

The majority of respondents confirm that Citizen


Developers are employees who are not in IT, but
instead are either analysts or other business
professionals.

Employees, who are not professionally trained developers,


creating applications in IT or in a business line.

64%

A business analyst or business professional creating apps

52%

An Excel, Access, Lotus Notes or similar power user creating apps

25%

The Platform is very easy to use and you don't


necessarily have to be experienced in development
to create websites and applications easily.
Jonathan Bick
IT Specialist, AXA UK PLC
England

Professional developers reporting directly to a line of business

24%
12%
9%
7%

Former software engineers that moved to a marketing, sales or operations role


Former Cobol or Access/VBA programmer creating apps outside of IT
Other

https://www.techvalidate.com/tvid/A98-B28-435

Top 7 Benefits
Companies Gain from
Citizen Developers

What were the primary benefits realized by your organization from empowering
Citizen Developers?

Enterprises that use Citizen Developers increase their

This is a multiple-choice question - response percentages may not add up to 100.

rate of innovation on initiatives directly related to


improving the efficiency of their business.
From speeding up the process to saving money,
reducing IT backlog and increasing innovation,
respondents indicate that Citizen Developers bring
real value to the enterprise.
Beyond that, they can free IT to use its resources in
ways that are more strategic and productive to the
organization.

Faster time to app delivery

67%

Lower cost of delivery

48%
41%

Enable innovation through technology outside of IT

41%

Distribute / Decentralize IT backlog

39%

More visibility within organization

37%

IT/Business relationship strengthened


Less shadow IT

30%

OutSystems Platform is an awesome tool set that

4%

Other

saves an enormous amount of time.


Robert Holbrook
IT Manager, Atos IT Services UK, Ltd
London, UK

https://www.techvalidate.com/tvid/BDB-579-B6F

10

Top Business
Challenges Solved by
Citizen Developers
The top business challenge that Citizen Developers
solve is automating processes. This is followed by
building dashboards and tools for reporting and

What business challenges did your non-IT staff (Citizen Developers) solve by developing
apps using OutSystems Platform?
This is a multiple-choice question - response percentages may not add up to 100.

analytics. Clearly, Citizen Developers are brought into


the early stages of app development. They have a
unique understanding based on hands-on involvement of business tasks. When given access to RAD

70%

platforms, they can spearhead the rapid develop-

47%

ment of apps that satisfy many business challenges.

Automate processes (forms, routing)


Dashboards and scorecards

43%

Reporting and analytics

and we expect to see an increase in the sophistica-

38%

Document/records management

tion of the apps they build.

23%

In time, Citizen Developers will gain more experience,

Collaboration
Scheduling and tracking

15%
9%

OutSystems has delivered on all it promised and


then some. In addition, our development staff has

6%

Order management
Other

taken to the Platform to the extent they are enjoying


their work more than hand coding solutions for their
customers. They get more job satisfaction.
Sandy Purbrick
CIO, Credit Solutions Services
Johannesburg, South Africa

https://www.techvalidate.com/tvid/B31-EFD-3F5

11

What Does IT
Control?

What parts of the application delivery process and Citizen Developer enablement
programs does your central IT department retain responsibility?
This is a multiple-choice question - response percentages may not add up to 100.

Not surprisingly, most of the respondents in our


survey show that they retain control in key areas.
Integration, security, and deployment are the top
three. They are able to protect the enterprise and
certify that all apps, including those designed by

63%

Citizen Developers, conform to guidelines for

63%

function, safety and other categories.

Ease-of-use, ease-of-learning, open systems frame-

Integration with core systems

76%

Security governance
Deployment to production

61%

Definition, implementation and governance of APIs

61%

Functional architecture
Access to master data

58%

work, scalable platform, integration with other tools

56%

are all here.

14%

Monitoring and operation of running apps


Other

Satyakam Desai
Director, Application Solutions, EMC Corporation
Atlanta, GA - USA

https://www.techvalidate.com/tvid/71C-F64-2BB

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Prototyping
Applications
Dominates Citizen
Developer Projects

To what level have non-professional coders (Citizen Developers) been able to build apps
using OutSystems Platform?

Nearly three-quarters of respondents indicate that

This is a multiple-choice question - response percentages may not add up to 100.

prototyping applications is the primary activity for


Citizen Developers. This response demonstrates the
need to increase speed when it comes to developing
apps that solve existing business challenges. As
more companies use Citizen Developers and more
non-IT employees join their ranks, the number that

49%

will be prototyping will likely increase. However, the


small percentage that are building robust enterprise

29%

apps will almost certainly not remain that small.


16%
16%

The development team have picked up the use of


OutSystems in record time and actually enjoy devel-

Able to prototype applications

79%

8%

Able to build small departmental apps


Able to build functional employee-facing apps
Only IT builds apps in our organization
Able to build robust customer-facing app
Able to build robust enterprise apps

oping within this tool! Excellent (and refreshing) for


me as a manager to not have moans and groans
about the actual system!
Esther Conran
Customer Engagement & Innovation Team Manager,
Worcestershire County Council
England

https://www.techvalidate.com/tvid/2DE-454-6D5

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When Do Citizen
Developers Hit the
Wall?

Using OutSystems Platform, which parts of the application development process do Citizen
Developers require technical assistance with?

Almost three-quarters of our respondents say that

This is a multiple-choice question - response percentages may not add up to 100.

their Citizen Developers require assistance with


integration. Other areas they need help with include
back-end processes, database development, and
workflow.
As much as Citizen Developers can do on their own,
at some point they need IT to take over their application. By providing employees with a RAD platform, IT

Integration

71%

Back-end processes

57%

Database development

43%

can retain control and ensure that apps meet


standards for integration and other areas.

Workflows / Rules

41%

Front-end UI design

37%

I have been very impressed in the quality of the

6%

No assistance needed

Platform, its completeness, and the ability to execute


on projects with clients.
Robert Stephens
Partner, Fortium Partners
Atlanta, GA - USA
https://www.techvalidate.com/tvid/69A-281-488

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Top Skills Citizen


Developers Need
According to survey respondents, any understand-

What skill sets do non-IT staff need to successfully transform into a Citizen Developer that can

ing of traditional coding and data modeling,

effectively use a Rapid Application Delivery platform?

front-end web development and business analytics

This is a multiple-choice question - response percentages may not add up to 100.

can be an asset for Citizen Developers.


With the increase in Millennials in the workforce,
companies can expect to hire more employees with
coding skills, even those in non-IT roles. They will
certainly bring increased levels of technical
know-how to the Citizen Developer role.
Enterprises that implement a RAD platform are
well-positioned to accelerate change for end-users

Some traditional coding skills

51%

Data modeling / database concepts

51%

Front-end web development skills

49%

Business analytics and business analysis experience

47%

as well as previously conservative IT organizations.

Traditional spreadsheet and word processing skills

30%
9%

Other

I feel extremely comfortable using the Platform. I


had the bootcamp last year and my team is developing great solutions right now.
Juan Manuel Monterrubio Portilla
IT Manager, Estafeta Mexicana SA, Mexico
https://www.techvalidate.com/tvid/84F-D6B-B7C

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Speed: The Big


Reason for RAD but
Thats Not All

What are the primary reasons your organization chose to use a rapid application development
platform (OutSystems Platform)?

As standards have matured and RESTful APIs are

This is a multiple-choice question - response percentages may not add up to 100.

commonplace, RAD platforms can resolve many


enterprise challenges a Citizen Developer faces. For
example, those who currently use Excel, Access, Lotus
Notes or even Cobol to build and deploy applications

Time savings

90%

benefit from almost no hand-coding and more visual


development in a secure, governed enterprise
environment.
OutSystems customers report that saving time is the
most critical reason to implement a RAD platform.

Simplified lifecycle management

63%

Ease of integration

49%

Cost savings

39%

Leverage existing skill sets

22%
8%

Other

I now can deliver functional software faster than


any other tool.
Grant McDonogh
IT Director, I-Sixty Services
Pretoria, South Africa

https://www.techvalidate.com/tvid/341-703-74F

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Is Bi-modal IT Gaining
Traction?

Thinking about Gartners bi-modal IT approach, does your company encourage mode 2
development by having IT systems and governance processes in place for application
development by Citizen Developers?

More than half of respondents report that their


approach to monitoring their application development projects is on a case by case basis.
Because Citizen Developers are part of the self-service trend, RAD platforms are able to ease integra-

We monitor each app dev project on a


case by case basis 51%

tion, governance, and security responsibilities that


form the core duties of transformed IT organizations.

We currently have formal systems and


governance processes for app dev 32%
We do not govern or control
applications built outside of IT 17%

I love OutSystems! The built-in source code control


and automated deployment [including SQL] was a
HUGE factor in deciding to purchase OutSystems.
Bob Tervin
IT Manager, Applied Systems, Inc,
Chicago, IL - USA

https://www.techvalidate.com/tvid/1B0-86C-13B

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Extremely High
Recommendation Rate
In our survey, a solid majority of respondents stated they would likely recommend
OutSystems Platform to their peers.
OutSystems Platform is the perfect choice for enabling Citizen Developers because it
enables them to design applications based on their knowledge. They can then turn them

The platform allows you to


create web applications in a
fraction of the time of using
conventional tools.

over to IT for integration, deployment and security, so that IT retains control and governance
over the process.

Jean Lombard
OutSystems Customer Satisfaction

91%

of customers are likely to


recommend OutSystems.

https://www.techvalidate.com/product-research/outsystems/facts/6A6-4B3-A43

CEO, Lapis Software Associates, LLC


Parsippany, NJ - USA

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Case Study:
Allan Bros

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Allan Bros.:
Citizen Developers Cut Time by 83%
Overview: Allan Bros., Inc. is a fruit growing, packing and shipping company with orchards
throughout Eastern Washington.
Challenge: Delivering great-tasting, high quality, uniform produce forces growers to waste a
tremendous amount of product by either picking too early or too late.

We'd much rather take someone who knows the business


and has aptitude for development and technology and
teach them how to develop,
than try to take a developer
and teach them the business.

To address the challenge, the company decided to digitalize its operations with mobile apps
that maximized efficiency of the operations and profitability of the harvests. The company
needed a new way to pick and process fruit at the perfect moment, and to provide information directly to pickers in the field in order to improve quality and yield.

Autumn Bernier
CIO, Allan Brothers
Naches, WA - USA

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Solution: Employees at Allan Bros. combined their extensive domain knowledge of how to
grow, pick and pack fruit with their basic knowledge of OutSystems Platform.
Three warehouse employees served as Citizen Developers, including a shipping clerk and a
fruit sizing manager. Using the visual modeling environment, the team built a cross-platform
mobile application on OutSystems Platform.
The app enables employees on the production lines to monitor fruit for quality, size and
other factors and communicate in real time that information to pickers in the field. This
guides them to select riper, tastier fruit and to reduce bruising. Their app also had the same
look and feel as their other systems so it was easy for them to use.

Results: The Allan Bros. Citizen Developer team improved the productivity of its packing line,
cutting time by as much as 83%. Fewer employees do more work, allowing the company to
invest in profitable and innovative areas.

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Conclusion
For businesses to quickly attain digital transformation, they must enlist their entire
workforce. By thinking and acting beyond their IT department, these organizations are able
to take advantage of the knowledge of all their employees to rapidly develop applications
that solve business challenges.
Those in IT who invest in a platform that enables Citizen Developers to build new applications in a safe and controlled environment will gain allies throughout their organization.
Sales, marketing, human resources and others gain access to tools that will speed up the
pace in which they can do their jobs, better connect with customers, and perform additional
tasks that deliver value to the enterprise.
By implementing a RAD platform, IT retains control of the shift that is affecting businesses
and other organizations. IT leaders can ensure their needs are met as well as the rest of the
companys, both now and into the future.

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