Cultivating a developer ecosystem


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Cultivating a developer ecosystem

  1. 1. Cultivating a Developer Ecosystem: Understanding their needs By Jerry Power, Strategic Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent By this point, most network providers have read the articles, studied the analysis, considered the pros and cons, and accepted the fact that the network-centric business model based solely on voice and data transport revenue fails to fully capitalize on the inherent value within their networks. To fully capitalize on the explosive demand for advanced services and applications, network providers must shift to new business models that support an Application Enablement environment. Such a paradigm shift will allow them to leverage their value add network capabilities to grow new revenues. The new telco business models required must be built on a foundation of cooperation and partnership with third party application and content providers (ACPs) who facilitate the development of advanced applications and services end users want. In such an ecosystem, network providers are best served by encouraging developers to create new applications, such as mobile and multi-screen video, visual messaging, user-generated TV, and multi- player gaming, because their success drives network providers’ success. But having accepted the new reality, network providers are still left wondering just what the key requirements are for a developer-friendly network environment. To find the answer, Alcatel-Lucent conducted a multi-phase research program with a variety of developers in different markets to determine what the pain points are in the development process and how network providers can best facilitate development that leverages network capabilities. Time is the key to profitable development The ACP community is made up of a variety of developers — from the casual hobbyist in a dorm room to the professional employed by a large firm. However, one factor that unites developers, big or small, is the precious resource of time. Both focus groups and surveys of a wide variety of developers has validated that time is the most important motivating factor governing many ACP decisions. For ACPs, efficiency is the key. The easier it is to develop an application, the more likely it is that ACPs will bring the application to market. Further, the easier it is to develop the application mechanics, the more time the developer will be able to devote to what makes the application special. And the easier it is to establish a cash flow, the quicker an ACP will be able to establish itself as a sustainable development company. Specifically, developers want ease of programming, which translates into less development time, converts to faster production of an application, and yields a compressed revenue cycle for paid applications. As a result, ACPs often make their time investment decisions by carefully weighing the balance between speed and support, and standardization and reach. Speed and support make development easier Speed-to-market is a critical requirement for all ACPs. Therefore, to attract developers, network providers must make the development process easier and provide effective support. With the right support system developers can focus on developing, thereby ensuring that services and applications get to market quicker.
  2. 2. For example, developers invest significant time in validating software and securing subscriptions. To speed this process, network providers can offer APIs that allow reuse of the billing relationship already established with end users. In addition, they can provide real-time presence/location information without taxing device or application performance. And there are many more examples where developers can save time by reusing the intelligence inherent in the network rather than writing code that emulates an existing capability. In this context, network providers become suppliers to the software development community. They evolve from being a bit-pipe supplier to becoming a partner with the developer where developer success results in increased communications demand. As such, network providers are encouraged to find ways to share the risk of development. This can be achieved by reducing up-front costs and risks by allowing free use of APIs during testing. And to further speed development, network providers can offer efficient and effective marketing tools and enhanced support options for application testing, certification and approval. These processes can be stream­ lined to eliminate long and complicated procedures and include direct feedback about applications while they are in Beta. Streamlining processes creates a developer-friendly network By addressing these tension points and streamlining the way that APIs are delivered, network providers can make their networks more attractive as channels to market for new applications and services developed by ACPs. They can create a more developer-friendly network that facilitates the shift from access-centric, connectivity-based business models to application-centric, ACP ecosystem-based business models that fully leverage the network’s value. And in doing so, they can capitalize on the explosive end user demand for advanced applications and services. Ultimately, a more developer friendly network benefits all players. Network providers benefit from monetizing network capabilities in new ways and, in so doing, creating new revenue streams. Developers benefit from having access to these previously concealed network capabilities to deliver improved functionality and more valuable applications. Finally, end users benefit from a richer and better experience — and this provides greater value to everyone. To learn more about Alcatel-Lucent primary research with developers/ACPs please contact Jerry Power at Alcatel, Lucent, Alcatel-Lucent and the Alcatel-Lucent logo are trademarks of Alcatel-Lucent. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. The information presented is subject to change without notice. Alcatel-Lucent assumes no responsibility for inaccuracies contained herein. Copyright © 2010 Alcatel-Lucent. All rights reserved. CMO7995100404 (08)