Converging trends that have shaped citizen development

There is a significant change in the business intelligence (BI), automation and application landscape. Historically, organisations were forced to choose between preconfigured commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software that was difficult to tailor or a custom solution which was far more costly and took a long time to develop. There are also lots of applications that do not fit in either camp. In the gulf between the two arose a generation of combination-apps, such as self-created spreadsheets, that end-users created to fill the gap between what solutions their organisation provided and what was needed to do their job.

Three trends have converged to break this pattern, changing the relationship between business users, technologists and their technology.


The new generation of business applications connects organisational functions that were previously considered siloed or unrelated. It is easy to automate processes across applications and services and to trigger actions and requests. For example, travel plans set in motion by human resources, or recruitment driven by increased sales.

Citizen empowerment

Business users used to settle for spreadsheets and intranet solutions, but now new no-code/low-code tools like PowerApps are empowering everyday users to become citizen creators. PowerApps gives non-technical users the capability to build professional grade apps on their own, without the need to involve or get sign-off from IT. For example, airport baggage screeners at Heathrow have developed mobile apps that cut down the paperwork involved in their roles.

Smarter ways of using data

Accessing and interpreting data has been at the heart of citizen development, but It is not just about enhanced BI and visualisation tools. Now with the likes of Power BI, you can join together, beautifully visualise and help users interpret data that your organisation already owns.

Microsoft Power Platform – enabling citizen development

These converging trends have paved the way for the Power Platform. The Power Platform enables citizen development by driving innovation at the coal face where the people within the organisation who are experiencing problems on a day-to-day basis are given the tools, such as Microsoft’s Power Platform, to develop their own solutions to these problems.

The Power Platform consists of Power BI, PowerApps and Flow. These three applications work together on top of an organisations data to help everyone, from the CEO to front-line workers, drive the business forward with data. A combination of these technologies enables you to:

  • Rapidly create custom, no-code/low-code applications that meet different business and user objectives.
  • Integrate all data natively on the platform. There are no custom components required and data can be made available to any other application.
  • Provide tools that are easily extensible by developers and readily integrated with Azure cloud services.

Our Power Platform guide offers an introduction to the Power Platform, its components and how it is being used to transform organisational processes.