Published On: 4 December 2023By Categories: Tags: 10.9 min read

Introduction: Transforming Business Dynamics through Citizen Empowerment

In the dynamic realm of modern business, a new frontier is emerging – the era of Citizen Developer Programs. At first glance, it might seem daunting, even uncharted. You might wonder, “Why should our organization invest time and resources in enabling non-technical individuals to build applications?” The initial steps may indeed be challenging, but as we’ll explore, the journey of citizen development is one that promises substantial rewards, innovation, and a transformation of how you do business.

Imagine an HR manager who doesn’t know much about coding. They use a simple tool to make a custom app that helps employees request time off easily. It’s faster and less confusing than the old way of doing things, making everyone’s life better.

The Evolution of Citizen Developer Programs

The traditional approach involved waiting on IT departments to address software needs, often leading to bottlenecks, delays, and missed opportunities. But with the advent of low-code and no-code platforms, this narrative has shifted dramatically. We’re witnessing the democratization of technology, where employees from diverse departments become active participants in driving digital transformation. This is the essence of the Citizen Developer Program.

The Journey’s Rewards

  1. Agility: Instead of waiting months for software solutions, citizen developers can swiftly prototype, test, and deploy applications, ensuring rapid adaptation to changing market demands.
  2. Innovation: Imagine your employees, with their deep understanding of your business, identifying new ways to streamline processes, automate tasks, and uncover opportunities that were previously hidden.
  3. Empowerment: Empower your employees with the ability to create tailored solutions, leading to increased job satisfaction and a stronger sense of ownership in driving success.
  4. Cost Efficiency: By utilizing in-house talent, you can reduce outsourcing costs and optimize your IT resources, all while gaining customized solutions.
  5. Automation Mindset: Citizen developer programs instill an automation mindset across your organization. These individuals will identify and leverage automation opportunities, increasing overall efficiency.
  6. Indirect Automation Resources: Citizen developers become your invaluable resource pool for automation initiatives, leveraging their deep understanding of business processes.
  7. Leveraging Expertise: These citizen developers are domain experts, and they harness that expertise to create solutions perfectly aligned with your organization’s needs.

In conclusion, the combined power of roadshows, a well-structured CoE, mentorship, and clear division of responsibilities creates an ecosystem where RPA adoption is seamless and results-driven. By showcasing the ease of RPA tools, setting boundaries, and leveraging the expertise of both citizen developers and the technical team, your organization is poised to achieve unprecedented heights of innovation, efficiency, and success.

Choosing the Right Process: The Foundation of Success

Selecting the right process for automation is a crucial step that cannot be overlooked. It’s the foundation upon which the entire RPA initiative is built. Identifying the ideal process involves considering factors such as complexity, volume, repetitiveness, and potential impact on the business. A successful choice leads to tangible benefits, while the wrong one can lead to frustration and wasted resources. It’s essential to collaborate closely with business stakeholders to ensure that the selected process aligns with strategic objectives and delivers measurable value.

Teamwork: Citizen Developers and Lead Developers Join Forces

Imagine a big puzzle coming together. In this puzzle, we have a table that shows who does what between citizen developers and lead developers in the Center of Excellence. It’s like watching a dance where citizen developers start things off, setting the tone, and then lead developers, who really know their stuff, step in. They make sure the final result is strong, safe, and matches what the organization wants.

This teamwork isn’t just any teamwork; it’s like a fantastic painting made by two artists. Citizen developers and lead developers work together, creating RPA projects that don’t just succeed but really shine. They bring in new ideas, make things work better, and help the organization grow.

Project Step Citizen Developer Lead Developer
Requirement Assists in gathering and documenting high-level requirements Collaborates with stakeholders to define detailed requirements
Design Creates basic UI/UX designs and wireframes Designs complex UI/UX with attention to scalability and usability
Architecture Limited involvement in architecture decisions Designs and defines the overall system architecture
Development Utilizes low-code or no-code platforms to build application logic Implements complex business logic using programming languages
Integration Integrates pre-built components and APIs within the platform Handles integrations with external systems and services
Testing Conducts basic functional testing using built-in tools Performs comprehensive testing, including unit and integration
Deployment Deploys the application on cloud-based platforms easily Manages deployment process, including server setup and config
Maintenance Handles minor updates and bug fixes with limited technical support Provides ongoing maintenance, bug fixing, and technical support
Scalability Limited ability to scale the application due to platform constraints Designs scalable architectures and optimizes performance
Security Relies on built-in security features of low-code platforms Implements robust security measures, including encryption and
Customization Limited customization options within the platform’s capabilities Implements custom features and functionalities as required
Expertise Typically has a non-technical background with limited programming Possesses in-depth technical knowledge and extensive programming

This table highlights the shared responsibilities between citizen developers and lead developers within the Center of Excellence. It showcases how citizen developers contribute to the early stages of development, while lead developers, with their expertise, oversight, and mentoring, ensure that the final solution is robust, secure, and aligned with the organization’s goals.

By collaborating effectively, these two roles form a dynamic partnership that leverages the strengths of both sides, resulting in successful RPA implementations that drive innovation, efficiency, and growth for the organization.

Myths Vs Facts of Citizen Development

Key Lessons Learned in Adopting Citizen Development Program in Organization

Lesson 1: Align digital transformation with broader business strategy:

While leaders often have specific technologies in mind to enhance organizational performance, it is crucial to remember that digital transformation should be guided by the overall business strategy. There is no one-size-fits-all technology solution for achieving “speed” or “innovation.” The ideal combination of tools will vary based on the organization’s vision and goals.

Lesson 2: Leverage the expertise of insiders:

Instead of relying solely on external consultants who may apply generic solutions, our approach to transformation has been to tap into the knowledge and insights of our internal staff. These individuals possess intimate knowledge of what works and what doesn’t in our daily operations, making them invaluable contributors to the transformation process.

Lesson 3: Address employees’ fear of job displacement:

When employees perceive digital transformation as a threat to their job security, they may resist the changes. It is essential for leaders to acknowledge and address these fears, emphasizing that the transformation process presents an opportunity for employees to enhance their skills and adapt to the evolving job market. By emphasizing personal growth and professional development, we can alleviate concerns and foster a positive mindset towards the transformation.

A Journey Worth Taking

Think of this journey as an exciting adventure, from the start when things might seem a bit uncertain to the end when you see all the great things that happen. Along the way, there might be some challenges, but they become less important as you reach the big rewards. Imagine getting better at doing things quickly, having lots of great ideas, and feeling like you’re in control of your work. It’s like finding the perfect balance between what you have and what you need.

Here’s an example to make it clearer: Imagine someone from the marketing team who doesn’t know much about computer stuff. They use easy tools to make a special program that helps with their work. Then, someone who really knows computers checks everything to make sure it’s safe and works well with everything else. Together, they turn something that takes a long time into something easy, and it helps the company make more money.

By working together like this, your organization can make the most of the talents of your team. It’s like making beautiful music with everyone playing their part, making big changes, and always staying ahead in the business world.

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Contributed by:


Vipul Tiwari

Solutions Architect – Center of Excellence, Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Vipul Tiwari, an accomplished professional and dynamic leader, embarked on his career in Site Engineering with a Telecom giant seven years ago. Little did he know that his journey would lead him to become a prominent Developer and a passionate advocate for the Citizen Development Program. Currently thriving at Amazon, Vipul has won numerous hackathons and earned prestigious recognitions, including being a Blue Prism MVP for four consecutive years. With a wealth of certifications and accolades to his name, Vipul’s expertise and dedication have propelled him to be a leading figure within the automation community.

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