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
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
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.