Should my company be building a Developer Community? And why?

Developers have become very popular of late - “The rock stars of our generation” - but have you ever wondered why? Have you heard the term “B2D” and wondered what it means? And have you ever wondered why this matters for your organization?

Everyone seems to have a developer network or to be building one.

Apple - https://developer.apple.com/programs/

The key focus of this program;

  • Get your apps to Apple’s customers for iphone, iPad, Mac, Apple watch, TV and imessage by getting your apps onto the App Store
  • They will let you have access to the latest technologies quickly so you can roll them out quickly to meet the rapid adoption time by their customers.
  • Early access also means developers get great new technologies to include in their apps quickly to make them more engaging.

Xbox - http://www.xbox.com/en-us/developers/id

Similar to Apple this program is designed to give developers access to their own customers.

  • Microsoft allows qualified game developers to publish their games onto Xbox One and onto Windows 10 with Xbox Live.
  • They provide the tools and support to help the developers be more successful

Uber Develoeprs - https://medium.com/uber-developers/uber-driver-api-b7191231e04d#.7us5q7rl4

Uber really doesnt’ mess around. They are opening a variety of APIs to developers

  • Uber Ride - Add a Uber ride request or put a deep link into the Uber app. Alternatively you can put the whole Uber process into your own app and more.
  • Trip Experience - all about providing all kinds of content to Uber riders on the move. Triggers such as pick-up and drop off location can launch local recommendations or content.
  • Driver - With a driver’s permission you can use their earnings, ratings, trips to build more valuable or entertaining driver experiences.
  • Uber Rush - Integrate same day delivery into your own checkout process and app, all the rush without the fuss!

 

And the list goes on

 

Google Developers - https://developers.google.com/

Facebook Developers- https://developers.facebook.com/

Twitter Developers- https://dev.twitter.com/

 

So as these communities "spawn" it isn’t really a surprise that the cost of acquiring a developer is high and getting higher - 10s of 1000s of USD per developer.

Is it just to have somewhere to point someone to if they want to get the relevant information, documents or questions if they want to submit something onto your platform or is something bigger - Much bigger?

If you look at the examples above the Xbox and Apple developer programs are designed to provide more software/content for the company hardware. Let’s not forget that the content created by the developers is crucial to the success of the products themselves e.g. no developers = no software = no hardware sales.

The Uber program is to increase reach and experience. Uber wants to ensure that it appears in other people’s apps thereby creating a bigger potential audience as developers will be building their apps (using their own time and money) and inserting Uber’s services into it. Brilliant.

 Did you know that many consumers won’t buy a car unless their software/app needs are met? That’s right. No place for my phone, my apps and apps specifically designed for my driving experience in a new car and I won’t buy. That’s a huge shift in priority.

And did you also know that people are willing to pay for the increased technology services.  

 

I know the phase is a bit dated but "software is eating the world" couldn't be more true. A friend of mine, Robert Tercek has recently written a great book "Vaporized" about how businesses are disappearing due to the evolution of technology e.g. music, video, film etc but also how software is also eating hardware e.g apps on the phone have allowed the phone to effectively swallow the camera, the scanner, the dictaphone, the card reader, the thumb scanner, radio, walkman, calculator, GPS, Compass, Torch (flashlight), car keys, money etc. and the list goes on. Businesses going "poof" in the night - Vaporized. Go get a copy, worth a read.

Every industry is being affected.

Now before you say that your industry can’t be affected think about all the things that can be controlled by an app - from turning on your air conditioner, to adjusting your lighting, checking your home security, getting alerts about that equipment at the factory overheating.

Now, lets be real here, there is no way that organisations who are scarily busy managing their own product and service lines can really do justice to innovating in software at the speed that the market and technology is changing. And this is where your developer programme comes in.

With the right program developers can take the “tools, SDKs and APIs” - basically managed access to your products and services - and amplify your efforts. Have a look at how Jawbone opened access to their API and allowed developers to build off the top of it creating a slew of apps which, in turn, created increased demand for the Jawbone.

Download Free Power of APIs infographic

Once you've identified that a developer program is for you the first step is to work out what it is that you want to get out of it. Then you need to put a program in place to make developers want to talk to you - your value proposition, your target developers, your program and your communications.

This is where you need to bring a whole new skill to the fore, focused on B2D, Business to Developer.

You can Request Demo if you're interested about building a developer community.

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