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Citizen Developers Unite!

July 14, 2011

You know how the saying goes: “You are what you develop.”

Well, according to Gartner, Inc., 25 percent of application development will be done by citizen developers by 2014.

In an era of shoestring IT budgets, end users are increasingly looking outside the IT department for application development (AD) and in many cases are building applications themselves.

Gartner defines a “citizen developer” as an end user who creates new business applications for use by others through development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT.

“End-user application development (EUAD) is nothing new, but the risks and opportunities it presents have become much greater in recent years,” said Ian Finley, research vice president at Gartner. “In the past, EUAD posed limited risks to the organization because it was typically limited to a single user or workgroup. However, end users can now build departmental, enterprise and even public applications. While this change enables organizations to empower end users and releases IT resources, it also heightens the risks of EUAD.”

Gartner analysts said that IT organizations need to adapt to the new realities of EUAD and build a citizen developer support program.

“EUAD is being transformed by converging forces, including changing workforce demographics, the mass customization and maturation of service-oriented architecture, simplified tools for new development and the power of cloud computing for delivering IT capabilities to end users with no IT assistance,” said Eric Knipp, research director at Gartner. “Fighting these forces is a losing battle, but a citizen developer program can reduce the risks and unlock potential in EUAD.”

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