SWOT Analysis for SaaS Developers Platforms
Key challenges in building/developing developer platforms include attracting developers, understanding the developer community, onboarding friction, and satisfying all parties.
- According to Infoworld, "the biggest challenge facing anyone who wants to create a developer community is giving developers a reason to join in."
- Most developer platforms have failed to be successful because "they have failed to create sufficient incentives for developers to build on top of their platform." Most of these platforms do not have the sufficient user base that developers seek.
- Developer platforms are attractive commercially when they have a large user base. According to Think Growth, "pure platform companies often wrestle with the chicken-and-egg challenge of getting started: to attract developers, they need lots of users; but to attract users, they need lots of apps from developers."
- Platforms such as Slack started as apps and focused on building a large base of users before they became developer platforms.
Understanding the Developer Community
- According to a 2018 Accenture research report, many developer platforms struggle with effectively building a strong relationship with developers because they do not fully understand "the variety of players."
- According to Accenture, "the developer ecosystem includes company employees, large and small partners, full-time independent developers, and a range of part-time, opportunistic developers."
- The needs and wants of these players are "specific and highly nuanced."
- To develop a successful developer platform, platform companies should "engage the developers they most want and need to sustain their success."
- Onboarding new developers is a challenge for many developer platforms. According to Moesif, "developers are known for having a limited attention span for products that don’t fulfill their need."
- The process of setting up and signing up for developer platforms is complicated and may require engineering expertise.
- New users should be provided with a guided onboarding procedure. The number of steps required during onboarding should also be minimized.
- Developer platforms should place a large emphasis on onboarding flow, they must enable "everything from sign up, to paying for the implementation via a no-touch or low-touch model."
Satisfying All Parties
- According to Sachin Rekhi, CEO and founder of Notejoy, "the biggest challenge in designing a platform is creating a win-win-win ecosystem for developer, platform, and end-users."
- The interests of developers, end-users, and the platform should be carefully orchestrated to properly align their incentives for the platform to thrive.
- According to Sachin Rekhi, "developers want fame or fortune." Hobbyist developers are seeking fame and want to put their products in front of a large audience while professional developers want a fortune. Professional developers want to use the platform to reach a large audience and also build a successful business.
Best Practices in building/developing developer platforms include providing great developer and customer experience and accurate content.
Great Developer Experience and Customer Experience
- According to Think Growth, a great developer experience in onboarding, development, and deployment of software is one of the elements that makes a platform "lovable".
- According to an Accenture survey in the United States and China, developer experience matter to developers.
- Factors that contribute to a great developer experience include:
- Easiness to find content that is developer-oriented.
- How the platform's content explains its value proposition.
- What it takes to find the platform's technical developer documentation.
- Easiness of setting up a sandbox.
- According to Think Growth, "a lovable platform is equally delightful for both developers and the developers’ customers." It is "more important to hold the line on quality control for a great customer experience".
- Factors that contribute to great customer experience include:
Accurate Content and Knowledgeable Support
- According to an Accenture survey in the United States and China, "both the US and China developers value technically accurate, current content and timely and knowledgeable support."
- Another 2018 Accenture research report indicates that "technically accurate and up-to-date content rank as the two most important elements in a company’s developer ecosystem."
- Nine out of ten respondents (professional developers in the United States) ranked "accurate and up-to-date" content as critical.
- Learning is also a concern for developers. About 74% of respondents in the 2018 Accenture research survey indicated that they want to learn new skills/improve their skills.
We started by searching through blogs and publications relating to building developer platforms. Our primary focus was on key challenges/pain points and best practices in building/developing developer platforms. In compiling this information, we examined case studies, professional tips, and the opinions of experts.
After finding a list of articles and blogs with information on customer testimonials, we sorted out these articles and blogs in terms of relevance and consistency. We then listed out the most common and repeatedly mentioned across trusted sources.