Chief Content Officer,
Techstrong Group

At the core of any digital business transformation initiative are the developers that build an application and the marketers that drive its adoption. As such, the relationship between these two groups is a critical element of any successful strategy.

Fortunately, a survey of 100 application developers and 102 application marketers and product owners conducted by Sapio Research on behalf of Airship, a provider of a platform for generating messages within mobile applications, finds only 12% of developers and 9% of marketers characterized their relationships as “contentious discussions.”

One of the reasons for that improvement is low-code platforms make it simpler for marketers and developers to collaborate, noted Mike Herrick senior vice president of technology for Airship. “They can collaborate at a higher level of abstraction,” he said.

Previously, most applications were built using procedural code that marketers could not read. A low code platform makes it simpler for marketers to understand the workflow of an application, said Herrick.

Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement. For example, 37% of marketers believe their requests for enhancements are added to the next release of an application but only 20% of developers concurred. In fact, only 13% of marketers said all their requests eventually make it into their applications.

Going forward, it also remains to be seen how dependent marketers will be on developers to build and update applications as low-code and no-code platforms continue to evolve. A new era of so-called citizen developers made up of mainly business executives that have enough expertise to build their own applications is dawning. The issue, of course, is not just how well those applications are going to be designed, but also how well secure they are and to what degree they might be able to scale over time. Until low-code and no-code platforms make it all but impossible to make a mistake, the ongoing need for professional developers and designers is assured.

Regardless of who builds a mobile application, it’s apparent to all that they have become the point of the spear for any digital transformation. They are, after all, how the customer experiences that are so critical to any digital transformation initiative are delivered and maintained. The biggest challenge is simply getting users to first download the application and then regularly employ it as their mobile devices become overloaded with everything from games to corporate applications for managing supply chains.

Not surprisingly, there is, as a result, a lot of focus on managing the user experience of a mobile application. The survey finds a full 89% of developers said they have “good” or “great” capabilities in terms of monitoring visibility and conversion rates in the app stores “regularly” or “daily.” Two-thirds of marketers run app store optimizations (ASO) experiments monthly, with more than a quarter reporting they do so on a weekly basis.

The issue is how all that data being collected results in a larger installed base of end users. After all, the only thing sometimes worse than not having a mobile application at all is one that no one uses.