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The Rise of Citizen Developers in Automation : a Blessing or a Curse?

The concept of citizen developers has gained significant traction in recent years, driven by the increasing demand for automation and the democratisation of technology. These individuals, with little to no formal software development training, are leveraging low-code and no-code platforms to create applications and automate business processes. But is the widespread adoption of citizen developers in automation a good thing?


In this article, we'll explore the benefits and dangers associated with citizen developers.


Benefits of Citizen Developers in Automation


Faster development and deployment

With a significant shortage of skilled developers, businesses are turning to citizen developers to bridge the gap. By enabling non-technical employees to create applications and automate processes, companies can reduce the time taken to develop and deploy solutions, leading to increased productivity and innovation.


Cost-effective solution

Hiring experienced developers can be expensive, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. Citizen developers, by using low-code and no-code platforms, can help these businesses save money on development costs, enabling them to allocate resources to other essential areas.


Empowering employees

Citizen developers can help empower employees to take charge of their work processes, leading to increased job satisfaction and engagement. By giving them the tools to create their solutions, employees can feel a sense of ownership and pride in their work, ultimately contributing to better company culture and performance.


Driving digital transformation

The rise of citizen developers helps accelerate digital transformation within organisations. As more employees become familiar with technology and automation, it enables businesses to embrace new strategies and approaches to problem-solving, driving growth and competitiveness in the market.


Dangers of Citizen Developers in Automation


Security risks

One of the most significant concerns with citizen developers is the potential for security vulnerabilities. Lack of formal training and experience in software development may lead to the creation of applications or automations with weak security measures, exposing the organisation to cyberattacks and data breaches.


Poor quality automations and higher exception rates

The lack of expertise in development may also result in poorly designed automations, which may be inefficient or difficult to maintain. This can lead to increased costs in the long run, as organisations may need to invest in fixing or replacing these automations with robust alternatives.


Inadequate governance

The rise of citizen developers may lead to a lack of control over automation development within the organisation. Without proper governance and oversight, businesses may find it challenging to ensure that the applications and automation processes align with the company's overall strategy and goals.


Conclusion


Citizen developers in automation can undoubtedly bring numerous benefits to businesses, such as increased productivity, cost savings, and accelerated digital transformation. However, the potential dangers, like security risks and poor automation quality, cannot be ignored.


In healthcare, the biggest concern is the misuse of patient information. Manipulating and updating patient records and treatment pathways without due diligence and a full audit trail could lead to patient harm.


To harness the power of citizen developers while minimising the risks, companies should invest in training and education, establish governance frameworks, and foster collaboration between citizen developers and professional developers. By striking the right balance, organisations can embrace the rise of citizen developers and reap the rewards of increased innovation and agility in the ever-evolving business landscape.

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