Historically, there’s been a divide between developers and tech professionals vs. non-developers and “creatives.” In recent years, the phrase “learn to code” has even been weaponized in popular culture as a kind of take-down meme toward both journalists and coal miners whose professions have seen dwindling demand alongside the rise in computer programming and tech careers. However, a new kind of movement is now on the rise to empower non-technologists who want to gain more control over shaping digital experiences. This is the low-code/no-code movement and the rise of the citizen developer.
“Citizen developer” was a term first introduced by Gartner to refer to “a user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT.” In other words, a citizen developer uses tools provided by IT to create things without needing to write code.
By investing in business tools and systems that require no advanced coding knowledge or technical expertise, businesses can create content and applications more efficiently. Low -code platforms often come with pre-set templates and design components that make reusing and re-creating specific content types like landing pages, forms and buttons much faster, so teams can publish more content across more properties quicker without having to start from scratch every time they want to add a new component. Today’s modern enterprises have a pressing need for agility and are expected to create and launch more content to keep customers engaged. Low-code tools are opening up new opportunities for marketers to drive a business’s digital transformation strategy and own more of the experience that they want to bring to their customers.
Low-code democratizes transformation
Agile businesses are depending more on low-code and no-code tools to move faster on projects and adapt quicker to fast-changing market demands. For marketing teams who are managing multiple websites and responsible for creating multiple content pieces per day, the use of low-code site building and content management tools offer a greater degree of independence and autonomy. Rather than file an IT ticket that gets put in the queue, marketers can now drive the creation of a new landing page or an email sequence through from start to finish.
Low-code page builders still require some degree of an underlying code-based framework. However, the commands and actions they perform are all accomplished through things like visual tools, drag-and-drop functions and self-service workflows. For large enterprises, these low-code design platforms generally offer a master library of component-based templates and content formats that can be accessed by anyone and reapplied again and and again.
Building experiences and site components is made easier through a selection of customizable design elements. The flexibility of composable content and composable applications means businesses are no longer as dependent on specialists or developer teams to execute digital transformation, and instead can allow these teams to focus more strongly on managing the overall digital infrastructure. Especially in our new landscape where timelines are condensed and budgets consolidated, launching successful digital experiences requires all hands on deck. Low-code tools enable businesses to leverage more of the team in the active process of creation and delivery, with fewer bottlenecks.
The simple-to-understand interface of low-code, visual tools also benefit businesses by making learning new software or giving demos to new users much easier. The simplicity and minimal training required to onboard marketers to use these low-code website tools greatly shortens the time to market for new content while freeing up the developer and IT teams to drive greater innovation in parallel.
Low-code allows marketers to create more impactful customer experiences
At its core, the citizen developer movement and the rising popularity of low-code solutions is driven by a desire for more efficiency and agility in marketing. The speed at which low-code applications can be built means that users have more freedom to shape their final product and adapt the end result as business needs change.
A shorter time to market is valuable not only in meeting the unrelenting demand for new experiences, but it also allows marketers to immediately understand the impact of what they’re developing. When a user controls their own workflow, they can iterate and adjust the experience as customers’ needs change. Citizen developers are typically more directly involved with customer engagement than an IT specialist and therefore have a clearer understanding of what customer pain points are and the solutions they’re searching for.
When organizations have empowered citizen developers across multiple departments from sales reps to customer success to content marketing, they get a more holistic view of the customer experience than a developer team could offer alone. Getting stakeholders involved in the hands-on process of building customer experiences both empowers and engages teams in a way that brings to light efficiencies and alignment between organizations that ultimately results in better customer experiences.
Citizen developers can directly apply that much-needed customer perspective when shaping a digital strategy or designing an application. Previously, this level of customer insight is something that could get lost or changed along the way when relayed to IT or an external agency through a project brief. With low-code tools, the creator and the author are one, ensuring a more complete transmission of the message.
With WYSIWYG interfaces and drag-and-drop features, a marketer can also preview exactly what their audience will be seeing before the project goes live. The low-code movement is helping organizations remove the friction between marketers and customers by having marketers involved in shaping every step in the customer experience.
The low-code movement means that more of your team can be citizen developers using self service tools, and your IT resources can refocus on ever more advanced projects. The result is better digital experiences created by a modern marketing team empowered to deliver their vision faster and more efficiently than ever before.
This post was originally published on the Acquia blog.