Innovation is driving business today. The companies that devote the time, energy, and people power to coming up with cutting-edge ideas and systems are the winners. And the rest? Well, they’re left to play catch-up—to the detriment of their customers.

What are the deeper drivers of that push for innovation? Customer demand and user experience. Insurance and financial services are under constant disruption because consumers want more information and hyper-personalized services right at their fingertips.

To meet those demands, you can’t only rely on IT anymore. Here’s how citizen development—involving people with little to no coding experience in creating applications and solutions—is driving a new path forward.

A World of Citizen Developers Awaits

In industries as complex and specialized as insurance and financial services, people on the business side bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. The same is likely true in your company. You have forward-thinking and tech-savvy employees who interact with customers daily, so they know customers want access to sophisticated apps that offer them bespoke services and personalized tools.

More often than not, however, the people with that experience and those great ideas aren’t consulted at all about technology. They’re handed the login to a sprawling legacy enterprise system, and that’s that. It’s how more traditional industries like insurance have worked for decades.

But what if you could not only tap into the subject matter expertise of these employees but also offer them a way to participate in building the tools and systems that they know your customers want? Using an IT-approved system that’s accessible and collaborative, the business side of your company can help create tools like customer portals or electronic application management systems that improve customer experience and speed up your business pipeline.

Something your customers will love that also helps remove processing roadblocks? Talk about a win-win. That’s the power of citizen development: it enables those with the business know-how to partner with IT to turn ideas into products and get them to market quickly and efficiently.

Bust through Those Pesky Silos for Good

If the only time the business side of your company interacts with the IT department is during the yearly holiday party, you might have a silo problem. It’s understandable—for decades, IT has often been seen as a separate entity. But as requests for integrations and improvements pile up, the ability to meet those needs at scale falls further behind. Nearly 80% of IT leaders say they have a massive pipeline of requests that simply aren’t being built while they focus on modernizing existing legacy systems.

One benefit of citizen development is that it emphasizes collaboration. It puts your business side and IT side in constant communication, sharing crucial information that often gets lost in the shuffle. This reduces the time your old clunky and restrictive processes had you spending on endless iterations.

Fluid collaboration becomes especially important in industries that have to comply with regulatory rules and impacts. Creating tools and systems that don’t account for these isn’t just bad form—it adds a layer of risk for the company. A recent insurance regulatory outlook paper from Deloitte found that “[m]any insurance companies are struggling to meet new insurance regulatory requirements because their siloed legacy systems lack integration.”

With a focus on citizen development, business users can communicate specific regulatory needs and considerations to IT from the start. For example, a regional insurance company where the business side knows there are more steps in claims originating in California can build that into the process. They’ll end up with a bespoke system for California-based claims that meets regulatory guidelines and integrates seamlessly into other systems and applications. Just try to find an easy way to incorporate something like that into a massive legacy system after the fact.

Endless Possibilities — if You’re Ready to Grab Them

Removing the silo between your IT department and business users opens up a new and exciting way to work. Focusing on agility and innovation to improve customer experiences while also boosting productivity and efficiency for your systems and processes is a game-changer.

With low-code development, you don’t have to worry about playing catch-up when you can become a leader in the industry. Low-code’s simplified visual environment allows citizen developers to participate in the software development process, either by building prototypes of applications or by observing the build and working with IT as a frequent tester and source of information.

Mendix supports citizen development through two separate Integrated Development Environments (IDEs). Mendix Studio is for citizen developers, while Studio Pro is aimed at professional developers. With both, all the tools you need to create are in one easy-to-use interface. This gives you the flexibility to build and deploy new groundbreaking systems and tools, then get them into the market—and into the hands of your customers—faster than you ever thought possible.