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Heroes or Villains?

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

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


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


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%


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)


S&P 500 1%

South America (Brazil) 3%



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

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


We will enable Citizen Developers in the

next 1-3 months 5%

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


Who Are the Citizen


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

Employees, who are not professionally trained developers,

creating applications in IT or in a business line.


A business analyst or business professional creating apps


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


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

Professional developers reporting directly to a line of business


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

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


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

Faster time to app delivery


Lower cost of delivery


Enable innovation through technology outside of IT


Distribute / Decentralize IT backlog


More visibility within organization


IT/Business relationship strengthened

Less shadow IT


OutSystems Platform is an awesome tool set that



saves an enormous amount of time.

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



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


platforms, they can spearhead the rapid develop-


ment of apps that satisfy many business challenges.

Automate processes (forms, routing)

Dashboards and scorecards


Reporting and analytics

and we expect to see an increase in the sophistica-


Document/records management

tion of the apps they build.


In time, Citizen Developers will gain more experience,

Scheduling and tracking


OutSystems has delivered on all it promised and

then some. In addition, our development staff has


Order management

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



What Does IT

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


Citizen Developers, conform to guidelines for


function, safety and other categories.

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

Integration with core systems


Security governance
Deployment to production


Definition, implementation and governance of APIs


Functional architecture
Access to master data


work, scalable platform, integration with other tools


are all here.


Monitoring and operation of running apps


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



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


will be prototyping will likely increase. However, the

small percentage that are building robust enterprise


apps will almost certainly not remain that small.


The development team have picked up the use of

OutSystems in record time and actually enjoy devel-

Able to prototype applications



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



When Do Citizen
Developers Hit the

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
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



Back-end processes


Database development


can retain control and ensure that apps meet

standards for integration and other areas.

Workflows / Rules


Front-end UI design


I have been very impressed in the quality of the


No assistance needed

Platform, its completeness, and the ability to execute

on projects with clients.
Robert Stephens
Partner, Fortium Partners
Atlanta, GA - USA


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


Data modeling / database concepts


Front-end web development skills


Business analytics and business analysis experience


as well as previously conservative IT organizations.

Traditional spreadsheet and word processing skills



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


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


benefit from almost no hand-coding and more visual

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

Simplified lifecycle management


Ease of integration


Cost savings


Leverage existing skill sets



I now can deliver functional software faster than

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



Is Bi-modal IT Gaining

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



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


of customers are likely to

recommend OutSystems.


CEO, Lapis Software Associates, LLC

Parsippany, NJ - USA


Case Study:
Allan Bros


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


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.


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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