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What is a citizen developer?

Ever since SAP expanded its business into the so-called low-code/ now-code (LCNC) development area, more and more offerings are being introduced. This also offers HR departments and functions the novel opportunity to tap into these new offerings and train their HR professionals to become so-called citizen developers, i.e. workers without professional development skills or training. SAP HR has picked up this opportunity and besides continuing to solve business problems with the help of technology, it can broaden the horizons of many of its HR professionals and offer new job enrichment opportunities as citizen developers.

How to become a citizen developer step-by-step

Since the official announcement at the 2021 SAP TechEd, the low-code/no-code (LCNC) offering services in SAP Business Transformation Platform (BTP) empower IT and citizen developers alike to quickly build enterprise-ready apps, automations, workflows, and chatbots no matter their skill level or coding expertise. Customers can build enterprise apps fast with SAP’s unified development experience and an ever-growing array of pre-built business content for any line of business, all natively integrated with SAP applications.

One way that SAP supports non-technical business users to use LCNC technology to build their own software solutions is by offering them a new learning journey, “Low-Code/No-Code Applications and Automations for Citizen Developers”. After completing this learning journey, business users will be able to describe the role of a citizen developer and know how to foster the adoption of low-code/no-code and hyperautomation technologies in their organization. They will gain an overview of the fundamental concepts of no-code application development and be able to build mobile apps as well as SAP extensions using SAP AppGyver; they will also learn to build with SAP Process Automation, and get familiar with digital experience development for SAP Work Zone. Finally, they’ll hear from experts about hackathons and other best practices for fostering a community of citizen developers. After the learning journey is completed, students can even prove their readiness for the future of work by taking a proctored exam, and upon passing they receive the recognition of SAP Certified Citizen Developer Associate – Low-Code / No-Code.

What does this mean for the collaboration between HR and IT?

This holds true not only for SAP’s customers and partners, but of course also for its employees as well. SAP’s Future of Work organization is excited to tap into all the new possibilities that arise with the new LCNC offerings. HR professionals who for many years have been working closely with their colleagues in the IT department and SAP SuccessFactors product management to drive SAP’s own digital HR transformation to the cloud, are now getting ready together with their IT colleagues to equip themselves with the necessary skills to further augment the HR cloud architecture with SAP SuccessFactors at its very core. This by no means at all makes IT experts or entire IT departments redundant - it ideally provides an opportunity to take off at least some workload - after all in the cloud world, the amount of IT (transformation) projects seem to have significantly increased - and helps non-developers better understand the opportunities, challenges and limitations software can bring to the table.

How does SAP leverage low-code/no-code?

Implementing its own new innovations in technology internally at SAP have already had a long history. Back in 2019, the bot “Lucy” was developed to help automate the creation of employment offer letters. The solution relies on robotic process automation (RPA) and helps ensure potential employees get their employment offers faster while freeing up HR employees to deal with higher-level tasks. While recruiters and applicants benefit from Lucy’s efficiency, the actual implementation back then was a relatively high effort to develop and set live – compared to the minimum effort that is required in today’s RPA projects thanks to SAP’s LCNC services. More use cases are already in the pipeline, here for example in the Talent Attraction area.

Another great use case at SAP is the implementation of SAP Work Zone to provide SAP’s own employees with a great digital workplace experience. Thanks to its plug-and-play solution that lets citizen developers easily incorporate processes and data from SAP and third-party applications all in one place, without the necessity of ramping up long-running development projects with professional developers, the feedback-improvement iteration cycles can significantly speed up. This helps to significantly improve the user experience of our employees at SAP and to provide a state-of-the-art digital workplace so that everyone one can work at their personal best from anywhere and anytime in a hybrid work environment.

By the way: SAP TechEd 2022 is just around the corner, where you can also find out more about what SAP offers around LCNC, e.g. the session on Nov 15: Improve, Automate, and Extend Business Processes with Low-Code/No-Code Tools [AD109].