Gartner: Citizen developers to build more business apps


At least a quarter of all new business applications will be built by so-called citizen developers by 2014, according to Gartner.

The analyst firm believes this will free up IT resources and warned companies may miss out if they don't take advantage of such citizen developers defined by Gartner as "a user operating outside of the scope of enterprise IT and its governance who creates new business applications for consumption by others either from scratch or by composition."

"Future citizen-developed applications will leverage IT investments below the surface, allowing IT to focus on deeper architectural concerns, while end users focus on wiring together services into business processes and workflows," Eric Knipp, senior research analyst at Gartner, said, in a statement.

"Furthermore, citizen development introduces the opportunity for end users to address projects that IT has never had time to get to a vast expanse of departmental and situational projects that have lain beneath the surface."

He added: "Citizen development skills are suited for creating situational and departmental applications like the ones often created in Excel or Access today."

"However, complex distributed applications and low-level, fine-grained developer decisions will remain in the hands of IT, while line-of-business applications will likely fit between the two and need to be carefully managed."

During his presentation, Knipp identified four areas that are helping to advance citizen development.

Mass personalisation is allowing end users to customise software for their personal use. Cloud computing is also opening up development and delivery of services over the internet. Knipp called this "infrastructure industrialisation".

Knipp also cited changing demographics, as more digitally aware workers will be able to work with technology how they choose. Finally, the evolution of developer tools has made application development more accessible than ever, he said.

"The bottom line lies in encouraging citizen developers to take on application development projects that free IT resources to work on more complex problems," Knipp said.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.