The Rise of the Citizen Developer

The Rise of the Citizen Developer

  • 07 November,2019

If you haven’t heard of Power Platform the new branding that Microsoft have been pushing hard for the last 18 months, then you probably should make yourself aware of it.  The new platform and technologies are all about “no code, low code” and empowering organisations to build their own business applications and integrations to their existing applications.

Sound familiar?  It should do, as this is what we as application delivery consultants have been doing for years.  The traditional model of requirements gathering and then delivering projects comprising of numerous days, with consultants building on site is about to change and fundamentally, and all professional services organisations need to be ready to adapt to a new way of delivering services, or run the risk of becoming that extinct dinosaur that couldn’t adapt to a changing environment.

The citizen developer, a term Microsoft have embraced, describes a user in your organisation who, with a bit of training and technical ability can build their own applications and release them to the rest of the company.  Thereby increasing productivity and removing the need for costly bespoke systems to be built or configured.  This sort of talk can strike fear into the heart of any CIO as they envisage a culture in their company with out of control apps spreading across their infrastructure with no one to maintain them if the app creator leaves the company.

In fact, it presents great opportunities for businesses that traditionally would not have invited an expensive tech consultancy in to deliver an enterprise solution.

At CPS, we are embracing this. Are we fearful that our jobs might be put at risk? The answer is no! Our traditional client-base still wants the same services and expertise that we have always delivered.  As any large organisation starts a program of power platform adoption, the advice that an experienced delivery consultancy like CPS can bring will be invaluable.  The work we deliver will just be framed in a different way.

We are becoming advisors and mentors to assist companies in transforming their technology and rolling out the power platform across their organisation.  Actively encouraging users to build the apps that matter to them and training them in how to do it.  Microsoft have considered the IT fear and have plenty of tools to control compliance and track the roll out of apps across the corporate infrastructure and these apps and integrations are secured and managed within the familiar Microsoft sign-on.  With a bit of planning and insight into what Power platform brings, your company can move into a new way of working with increased productivity.

There will of course always be the need for technical consultants and developers.  The solution architect has never been more important even for smaller implementations. A consultant who knows how to deliver a power app, is of course a valuable resource, but a consultant who knows how to deliver a power app, connected to an external portal and integrated into teams is invaluable in this interconnected world that Microsoft have created.

In 3-4 years, I see the traditional delivery consultancy taking a completely different approach to delivering complex integrated solutions. If consultancies don’t all get on board with the change that is spreading through the Microsoft stack, that extinction meteorite is not far away from wiping out those dinosaurs among us.