Citizen Developers in Construction (Pros and Cons)
Citizen development empowers your team to create the business applications they need to streamline your construction business.
But, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
On the fence about adopting a low code platform like Quickbase? Struggling to get more out of your citizen development team? We discuss the pros and cons of citizen development in construction in this post.
Learn how to reduce operational costs, increase your margins, and scale your business with citizen development.
The Pros of Citizen Developers in Construction
Faster Application Development
Low-code is accessible and fast. Your team can learn the platform and start building custom applications in weeks.
The drag and drop interface and minimal coding environment mean that your construction company can avoid the enterprise-level price tags of custom application development while still creating powerful, enterprise-level solutions.
Traditional custom application development was already expensive. Software developer salaries are high. And with a shortage in developer talent, great resignation, and inflation, costs will continue to increase.
Citizen development democratizes application development by making business application development accessible.
This means that you do not need to build an IT department or expand on your IT department. Instead, you can train your existing team on a platform and let them build the solutions they need.
Alleviates IT Burdens
IT teams have been drowning in tickets for years.
Customers want more features. Employees need automation, so they can have more time to think strategically. Businesses crave improved products and services to stay ahead of the competition. Remote work increased the need for technological solutions as well.
As a result, IT teams have endless lines of tickets to work through.
With citizen development, your team doesn’t need to go to IT with every problem they have. Instead, they can work in their departments to build custom solutions. This gives your IT team more time to focus on high-level tasks.
Often, when businesses need to find solutions, they either buy a turnkey system or build one. Most of the time, however, they do it without the people directly impacted involved. This is a mistake.
You will always get a better solution when the people who need it are directly involved in its development.
For example, if you want to automate workforce management with a custom solution, you should have the people involved in the app development that work on construction projects. Collaborating with these key players is key to building a solution that works well.
With citizen developers, your team will be directly involved in creating the necessary solutions. This means they’re more likely to get and adopt the exact solution they need.
The Cons of Citizen Developers in Construction
Unable to Optimize the Platform
Low-code platforms are powerful. Most of the time, when we work with a client who says that the platform they use is “slow and clunky,” it’s because their citizen developers aren’t using it properly.
While low-code is easy for anyone to learn, it’s hard to master.
Knowledge bases help. But, most organizations have a single person in their organization who’s using the platform for very surface-level tasks. Usability can also be subpar without the necessary expertise.
In the end, while low-code helps streamline some tasks, these unprepared citizen developers never help their business fully break away from spreadsheets and automate processes.
They leave the true value untapped.
As low-code experts, our developers know the ins and outs of low-code. They know what works and what doesn’t. And they’re able to build optimal solutions on the platform.
That’s hard to get on your own when you have one person with limited experience trying to build complex solutions.
The “Wild West” of Application Development
Without the proper training and top-down guardrails, you end up with a “wild west” of application development. You get a bunch of different teams and employees building solutions that don’t speak to each other. Plus, you can end up with multiple versions of a tool that accomplishes the same tasks.
That's wasteful and confusing.
When we work with clients, we often start with leadership to set up guardrails and SOPs for application development. This ensures every app built fits into the business ecosystem and serves a specific, unique purpose.
We usually work with our clients to train and establish a single point of contact as the low-code lead. They’re responsible for ensuring application development stays orderly.
As mentioned before, when citizen developers lack structure, they build numerous disconnected applications. Without connecting those data streams, you’re missing out on the major benefit of business transformation.
One of the tools we use, Quickbase, has a very powerful feature called “Pipelines” that integrates applications. Quickbase Pipelines is one of the tools we use to connect those systems.
As a result, we’ve worked with our clients to build complex, lean, and streamlined business ecosystems. This infrastructure's data, especially in the construction industry, is powerful. It provides a clean view of the business in real time through an accessible dashboard, making it easy for the business to take action.
Your business is only as secure as your weakest link. Cyber security is critical. Attacks have increased since the pandemic. And they won’t be going away.
It can be hard for citizen developers to know whether or not the solutions they build are secure and compliant. And because anyone on a team can build an application with low code, numerous people can be involved in its development. This can lead to team members overlooking security concerns.
Without oversight, the risk of problems increases. And if apps are built poorly, they can leave the door wide open for data breaches.
This is why we prioritize security in every app we build for our clients. Our low-code developers are experts in building compliant, secure applications construction companies can trust.
How to Optimize Citizen Development in Construction
We believe 100% in the citizen development movement. We’ve trained countless team members at numerous clients to help them get more out of low-code platforms like Quickbase.
In fact, we’re all about empowering our clients.
At Quandary, we train and support the citizen developers on our clients’ teams. We leverage the experience of our team to help them build optimal low-code applications that exceed their expectations and streamline their organizations.
It’s never about taking over low-code development.
Instead, we work as a long-term partner providing guidance and support to help keep our clients competitive in the construction industry.