Gartner this week released a report entitled "Citizen Developers are Poised to Grow." The report by Gartner Analyst Eric Knipp describes how forces like more computer literate employees, cloud computing and better tools are fundamentally changing the role of IT.
Eric paints a vision that in one stroke could eliminate the feared IT backlog: "Citizen developers leverage shared services and 4GL-style development platforms, releasing IT resources to do what they do best, if IT leaders allow it."
Gartner argues that CIOs should enable business analysts to build "self-service" applications that can be managed centrally by IT. This puts IT in the role of providing a secure infrastructure while enabling business developers to implement business processes using 4GL-like tools.
According to Eric, "CIOs who attempt to block citizen developers are fighting a losing battle."
Of course, arming citizen developers will require new tools. In particular, the Gartner report calls out "the latest crop of 4GL products such as Oracle APEX, WaveMaker and Zoho Creator provide a compelling AD environment for citizen developers."
While much of the focus on cloud computing has been on the heavy duty, mission-critical applications, it is likely that the truly disruptive impact of cloud computing will be on enabling non-expert developers like business analysts to prototype, create and maintain applications with minimal direct IT involvement.