Empowering Your Employees as Citizen Developers: Walk the Walk, Reap the Benefits

February 10, 2017

The 2017 FileMaker State of the Custom App Report (free download) focuses on citizen developers.

The term "citizen developer" is still young, in its pre-Wikipedia stage even. However Gartner has already defined the term in its IT Glossary: a user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT.

As Dion Hinchcliffe writes on ZDNet, this up-and-coming type of aspiring coder opens a new route for business software. Massive enterprises have enjoyed the resources to design the tools they need. Now smaller companies also have this luxury available. A local business no longer has to settle for tools that are "good enough... mostly."

On the other hand, Adrian Bridgwater, posting on Forbes, points out some additional aspects of citizen developers that a smart business leader will bear in mind. There can be friction with larger IT expectations about testing and security, since citizen developers' strength is in their focus on solving small challenges in the immediate environment.

This brings us to the question of how you can best support the smart, dedicated people on your team who want to build solutions. Answers can be found in the FileMaker report. The report discusses how to identify strong candidates for citizen developers, what to expect when they get down to work, and what kinds of custom apps they might create.

Overall, an environment where you help people pursue their interests and develop their skills, while they create tools to enhance your business operations, is a clear win-win. This type of setting empowers your employees in ways that can make a real difference in your company's success. FileMaker is an outstanding platform for establishing this environment: easy to begin using and powerful enough to create enterprise-level software tools for the small and mid-sized business.

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