Citizen Developers – Empowering users through Low-Code Application Development

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The emergence of low code/no code technology solutions is disrupting the business landscape. Endowing the ability to build own solutions saves time, reduces load of IT coders and enhances productivity, while creating a new breed of Citizen Developers – nontechnical people who are able to build simple solutions independently.

The definition of a developer has thus transcended from being someone proficient in coding to someone who can build a digital solution.

As businesses continue to evolve and expand, developing new technology solutions to cater to dynamic needs has become increasingly urgent. IT teams are constantly called upon to use their coding skills to create these solutions. However, the resources, time, and skill availability, far outweighs the demand.

In 2020, the Global Low Code Development Market reached a market value of USD 16.98 B. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25.26% from 2021 to attain USD 64.56 B levels by 2026, according to Expert Market Research.

The steep rise has been majorly influenced by digital disruptions and an increase in remote development during the COVID pandemic.

In 2021, Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for enterprise low-code application development platforms placed Microsoft Power Apps as a leader in the market. The report stated that Microsoft Power Apps’ wide range of features enabled citizen developers to rapidly design applications that solve business challenges.

Low-Code Application Development and Composable Technology

Composable technology is set to define future enterprise architecture. Comprising packaged business capabilities (PBC), these help to build customized solutions rapidly. Low-code platforms act as a composable resource by offering application development capabilities through a graphical interface. By enabling even users with little or no coding or technical skills to develop application, low code platforms help businesses add value by leveraging existing skills and contextual knowledge.

What makes Low-Code Application Development popular

Low-code application development helps drive application delivery. For instance, Microsoft Power Platform offers low-code development capabilities in its constituent solutions empowering citizen developers to build simple solutions and contribute to the application development lifecycle.

Adoption rates of applications like Power BI, that support low code is rising steadily. Among the many benefits that low code/no code apps offer are:

  •  Ease of application development for all users, eliminating dependency on IT and external solution providers
  • Agility in addressing business requirements with rapid application development
  • Reduction in learning time through self-explanatory visual components and templates that can be easily configured as per the business requirement
  • Easy development of web, mobile, e-mail, and chat applications and easy data integration across on-prem and cloud platforms
  • Optimization of current processes, systems, and applications
  • Streamlining of existing workflows from an end-user’s perspective
  • Bringing in faster and more efficient solutions that improve productivity and administration
  • Helping novice users become citizen developers without the need for extended training and advanced technical skills
  • Enhancing accuracy and adaptability, as end-users develop applications to cater to their specific needs. This does away with the need for extended SDLC processes.

Low-Code Application Development using the Microsoft Power Platform

Low-cost scalable application development platform equips businesses in sustenance and future growth and accelerate their digital transformation. The Microsoft Power Platform addresses the challenges businesses face by including extensive no-code technology capabilities that enable a citizen developer to develop custom applications.

Microsoft Power Apps

With Microsoft Power Apps, even novice users can build and deploy apps across a range of business requirements such as workflows, customer-facing apps, automation, and integrating with other Microsoft products. The platform is built for agility in App development and offers extensive features that help in low-code application development, which are outlined below.

  • Pre-built templates allow easy customization and deployment. With the drag-and-drop canvas, users can click and add features to the App and build it the way they want to.
  • Effortlessly add App functionalities that were previously available for professional developers.
  • Build scalable apps that are future ready. Benefit from the flexibility of adding new App enhancements and features and streamlining App lifecycle management.
  • Find readily available tools and connectors to a wide range of data sources, both on-prem and on the cloud.
  • Create apps and deploy them across web, mobile, and cloud platforms without being constrained by platforms. 

Cost Savings – a significant upside

A recent study by Forrester research, commissioned by Microsoft to evaluate the economic impact of using the Power Platform and Azure, provided interesting insights. The results of the study using a composite organization test model revealed:

  • Citizen developer projects using low-code/no-code tools like Power Platform led to cost savings of as much as 50% post implementation.
  • Power Platform replaced vendor solutions and business intelligence tools in use leading to significant cost savings
  • Project efficiencies improved from the use of Power Automate and Power Virtual Agents which streamlines processes. Gains rose over the years.
  • Power platform development costs came to half the costs of other platform.

The efficiency benefits, the value derived by the business and the savings in cost make the low-code development model in Power Apps a valuable solution for businesses. Additionally, the ease of integration with other Microsoft apps which enhances enterprise ability to extend their current BI capabilities brings in transformative results. The current market situations call for increased usage of low-code application development models to develop capabilities that will help them overcome business and technology challenges and provide the right impetus to growth.