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Blog | Feb 12, 2024

6 Must-Have Benefits of Citizen Development

Benefits of Citizen Development
Table of Contents

There are innumerable benefits of citizen development; we’ve narrowed it down to six.

Once upon a time, application development took weeks, sometimes months. It could be costly, often taking time from your already overburdened IT team or outsourcing to third-party developers. Citizen development reduces that time and cost substantially by collecting ideas from within your business and empowering your people to find solutions. And by allowing your citizen developers to use simple, non-technical development tools, they can create reliable and useful applications in just days – and reuse and scale them as needed.

What Is the Goal of Citizen Development?

Citizen development aims to speed up automation development time and reduce the burden on your IT team. It enables your business users to develop and deploy automations using low-code or no-code tools. You don’t have to hire professional developers to reap the outstanding benefits of automation.

Why Are Companies Adopting Citizen Development?

Have you heard of the saying “time is money”? Well, this is similar because resources are also money. And bored employees are also going to cost you. But what if you took your current human resources – the people in your business who know your business from head-to-toe – and asked them how your business processes could be better? They’ve likely worked in those processes for years and know exactly where they don’t work (the bottlenecks) and how they could improve (the potential). And there you have it: your citizen developers. They’re going to innovate new ideas to make things more efficient. They’ll do it because:

  1. It gives them more interesting work.
  2. It empowers and upskills them.
  3. It helps make the business better.

That’s why companies are embracing the citizen developer model. Great! Now, let’s look at the roles and responsibilities involved.

What Does a Citizen Developer Do?

Your citizen developers are people within your business who might not have expansive technical skills and aren’t experienced software developers. That’s fine! Most of us aren’t coding experts, and with automation tools nowadays, your citizen developers don’t need to be. Citizen development is important because it crowdsources ideas from a new perspective to innovate and streamline your organization’s operations. And the bonus? It empowers employees to get involved and advance their careers.

Citizen developers use low-code or no-code automation tools to develop and deploy intelligent automation (IA) solutions – done via automation software. This is done through a digital workforce. Your IA digital workforce brings together the task-automating capabilities of robotic process automation (RPA) with the brilliance of artificial intelligence (AI) and the oversight of business process management (BPM).

What are the steps a citizen developer can take?

Before they get to the application development process, it’s best practice for your citizen developers to sit down and look at how your current processes run. That’ll make it easier to plan out what automations to implement. They can do it manually by systematically going through each of your business processes, or they can do it automatically with SS&C | Blue Prism® Capture.

Next, your citizen developers move on to the app development. They will build and deploy your automations, preferably through a user-friendly, drag-and-drop automation program such as SS&C | Blue Prism® UX Builder. UX Builder is our no-code development platform for building enterprise web applications.

Your citizen developers may want to establish easy communication between themselves and the digital workers they’ve deployed, called “attended automation”. This is where your people can check in with a human-in-the-loop (HITL) as an extra check and balance to make sure your digital workers perform optimally. This can be done through an interface that allows users to interact with the digital workforce securely. SS&C | Blue Prism® Interact makes attended automation seamless for your business users.

What’s a tip for a great citizen development program?

It’s no secret that managing anything – whether that be people or technology – requires a bit of planning and finesse. The SS&C | Blue Prism® Robotic Operating Model™ (ROM2) helps with both. It gives you all the development tools and resources you need to succeed. The ROM2 guides your organization through a tried-and-true methodology of strategizing, building, deploying, monitoring and optimizing your intelligent automation initiative.

6 Benefits of Implementing Citizen Development

Like we said, there are tons of benefits of citizen development. We’ve narrowed it down to six because we appreciate the power of brevity.

1. Faster development

    Getting your citizen developers to create applications with drag-and-drop interfaces reduces your time to automation. That means better workflows for your organization with fewer bottlenecks. Software applications like UX Builder allow your citizen developers to quickly overcome challenges and meet new ones head-on.

    2. Empowering business users

      Citizen development upskills your current employees. By giving them interesting work building business applications, plus the associated career advancement opportunities, you can establish better company loyalty. That saves your organization in employee churn costs and also helps improve employee morale.

      3. Total digital transformation

        Citizen development drives innovation. It brings in people from across your organization to find new ways to hit your goals. With faster development and access to user-friendly development tools, your citizen developers will completely transform the functionality of your processes.

        4. Reduce IT demand

          Your IT teams might already be overwhelmed building critical solutions, maintaining existing and often outdated systems, and responding to a mountain of ticket requests. Citizen development reduces the burden on your IT department by removing the need for constant troubleshooting and creating new apps.

          5. Better transparency

            Citizen development means your apps are developed faster – and they’re reusable. This reduces redundancies but also educates users across the business on how your organization runs and how it can run more efficiently. Sharing tools, resources and ideas enhances your organization’s transparency and makes space for further innovations.

            6. Resource and cost savings

              By allowing your citizen developers to create these applications, you’re getting these apps sooner and with fewer associated costs. You don’t have to hire outside the business, and you don’t need intensive infrastructure changes. Instead, citizen development allows you to use the resources already on hand – no outsourcing or buggy third-party applications required.

              Here’s how you can look at the benefits from various perspectives.

              Your Citizen Developers

              Your Business Units

              Your IT/Automation Teams

              Your Organization

              Better employee experience from having more interesting and meaningful work.

              Delivering low-risk, valuable automations faster.

              Alleviating IT pressure without losing control or governance.

              Lowering costs for software, people and infrastructure.

              Acquiring new skills and experience.

              Informing the development process from real-world business processes.

              Freeing IT to focus on higher-value strategic work.

              Increasing revenue thanks to improved operational agility.

              Uncovering new potential career opportunities.

              Fostering a culture of continuous innovation.

              Relieving the “simpler” development tasks.

              Creating better customer and employee experiences.

              If you’d like to start benefitting from a citizen development program, get started with SS&C Blue Prism. We’re reshaping and streamlining work for everyone, everywhere.

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