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How we conduct business, and engage with each other - offline and online - is changing and evolving faster than ever. Every business, in every category, everywhere in the world, is undergoing a digital transformation, from big data to AI and beyond. Companies - not just technology companies and computing platforms - must build strategies to help them give them an edge, and to innovate faster.
To accelerate this innovation, businesses are launching APIs and creating Developer Platforms around them to extend innovation opportunities to customers and partners. Huawei, for example, recently announced an investment of USD$1.5 billion over the next 5 years to build an ecosystem of developers to complement their enterprise products.
Money doesn't count for everything, though. No matter how much money platform companies like Huawei might have available to them, building developer ecosystems relies on building a developer ecosystem strategy first - one which will inspire developers to create new products, and will help them grow the utility value and user adoption of those products.
There are a variety of questions to consider when building a digital strategy. Will your developer ecosystem revolve around a "closed-source" SaaS model, or open source? Or, like Adobe, do you plan to include a mix of both open and closed source?
Nurturing a Digital Ecosystem relies on a strong strategy first - executive sponsorship of platform fundamendals will set your business and ecosystem up for success long term.
The creation of Developer Ecosystems relies on the existence of a strong set of tools to exist - the Developer Platform. Learning what developers need and the stages of development they go through - from tools, to current skills, to education, to their favoured commercial software, programming languages and technologies - helps to paint a strong picture of which tools may need to be created to help developers create unique value and help form your value proposition.
State of Developer Ecosystem reports from resources like JetBrains can be helpful as a guide, but can often be biased based on the size of the developer audience involved, or the questions they're asked. Surveying professional developers and customers helps understand things like the primary programming languages of your developer community.
Application developers don't just require platform technologies to create digital products, integrations, and apps - they require a means to distribute the value they create to consumers. Developer Ecosystems leverage platform marketplaces to bring their digital economy and product ecosystem to consumers, and ensure digital innovation is available to those that need it. Software development is nothing without strong provider services.
Behind the source code and the digital technologies, every app built in a developer ecosystem is built by a human. The personal and interpersonal experiences developers have when engaging with developer platforms influence how they grow. There are more platform choices than ever. Attracting and recruiting developers to write software depends on the existing community of developers, providers telling a strong story for you.
Creating teams and support structures is an integral component of building every developer program. Treating third-party developers as an extension of your own product teams is a critical factor. After all, 68% of executites say developer ecosystems are the only way to innovate quickly to meet customer demands. The bigger the team, the better the outcome.
Well designed support systems, APIs, and documentation can be complemented and accelerated by well designed Platform Partner and Developer Ecosystem teams.
The theories, tools, and talks included on this website were created and curated based on my experiences on digital platform teams at Facebook, Intercom, Zalando and HubSpot. I've had the pleasure and privilege of working closely with platform teams at leading companies like Shopify, Salesforce, Wix, Atlassian, Twitter, and many more.
Whether your goal is user acquisition for your developer ecosystem, developer onboarding, attracting mobile developers, understanding platform technologies or industry standards, the primary language of your target audience, creating a company culture that supports ecosystem development, or scaling product usage through integrations, I hope developerecosystem.com becomes a valuable resource for you to lean on.
Whether you're launching or leveraging a developer ecosystem, I'm excited to see what you build!
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P.P.S. Feel free to check out my "other" blog