Ubiquitous information access has almost product quality table stakes today. The ability to understand and quickly replicate successful products and selling strategies means companies can rely on these as their underlying secret sauce. A sustained competitive advantage is driven by two primary factors:
- Speed of innovation - driven by fickle consumer bases with constantly changing needs,
- Scale - ensuring underlying systems can keep up with user demand. The competitive strength here is comparable to that traditionally driven by distribution channels
So what are key areas a B2B company looking to appeal to a developer base (often called B2D i.e Business to Developers) be concentrating on? There are three big buckets:
1. Automatability of your platform
Rapid innovation is driven by being able to integrate with your partners in their environments. The need for continuous integration and deployment requires a typical developer today to balance working with tools from many different vendors while at the same time driving fast iterative release cycles everyday.
2. Speed of operations
This one is the obvious one - but often the hardest to solve. If you are looking to cater to users who are looking to go much faster in their everyday job, cutting out bottlenecks driven by you is key. This might involve the speed of of underlying capabilities that are consumed by these users, slow processes, and even support. Unfortunately these components are also typically driven by organizational cultures and underlying technical architectures - the two hardest aspects to change for an organization. It is critical to audit these bottlenecks and prioritize underlying infrastructure, process, and cultural changes these might require.
3. Self Serviceability
Finally, enabling self serviceability is key if you are looking to cater to developers working with many different tools and responsibilities everyday. Anything that requires them to spend a disproportionate amount of time on one vendor leads to dissatisfaction. Steep learning curves, missing information, and vendor dependencies to comprehend toolsets are show stoppers. B2D success today is driven by developer portals and communities that drive innovation among consumers, clear and articulate use case based documentation on how your tools can be consumed, and a general access to information in a completely autonomous manner.
The framework above only captures the tip of the iceberg for a successful B2D strategy required by all organizations today. Catering to developers requires constant engagement and a focused organizational strategy. A powerful word of mouth campaign fueled by developer advocacy and relationship growth might just be the most critical factor that makes or breaks your success in today’s world.