Telco Developer Communities around Mobile Operators have made a significant impact on the society by bringing in new services and applications of all sorts of industries ranging from entertainment to business level. Telcos joining hands with external parties such as enterprises can create innovative mobile services which are more useful to subscribers. However, there is a challenge on how to sustain a successful Developer Community to enhance the services offered by the Telco. Are you considering opening up and sharing your services to third party developers to engage and attract more customers? Or have you started doing so and still hasn’t got the expected results? Avoid the 7 major pitfalls you may face as a Mobile Operator when developing a Telco Developer Community.
Lacking a vision
This is not about having a proper mission statement, but rather to get developers’ goals in line with yours. It should not be ‘come, develop for us free’! Your vision must create enjoyment to your developer community and what you ultimately want to achieve and what developers can achieve. Is it popularity, more revenue, creating a trend, advertising, knowledge sharing, gaining experience … whatever it is, you should be transparent with your vision. This will also attract the ‘right’ kind of developers you want.’
A differentiation strategy should exist and it should encompass a range of exciting activities and events. There should be something novel for the developers to check your platform out. In order to make your differentiation strategy successful you should plan what is your unique feature and make it a pitch to developers. ‘Developer Community’ is not a novel concept anymore, the novelty of the community should be built by you!
You can’t expect several developers to join your developer community through your website by just having the tag “developer” anymore. You should concentrate on how to get the word out enthusiastically. Actually this should be done first before building your developer community. Create blogs, include information on landing pages, start groups on social media or join relevant groups and discussions and create snippets to inform.
Make it easy for developers to participate, sign up, and get recognized. Your targeting a group of people who might be busy all the time with their projects, so don’t waste their time, be concise and make it fun.
Disregarding developer efforts.
It is vital to recognize and showcase your developers’ efforts. Especially the first set of developers. They would compel others to stay close, sustained attention to the community. How did Gangam Style or Harlem Shake get so popular? Well, it’s not really because of the singers, is it? No offence. It had ‘that effect’ to go viral. People wanted to follow it and make their own version of it. It was fun and it was done with a group of friends or colleagues. People like to stay close, be a part of a community. People belong to their own version of ‘family’ now. It’s not the traditional family but what is created by people with similar needs. People want to belong to a group. Likewise the developer community should give that feeling to the developers. How to do that? Well start treating the first comers like Kings. They will make the community go ‘viral’
It is necessary to make your developer community be competitive but if you want it to grow, start valuing what everyone does. It is also necessary to have competitions such as best app for the month, allocating points etc to drive growth and enthusiasm. Remember, you should let your developers feel as if it’s all about THEM not you or the platform.
The developer community as a whole should be a team. This implies that there should be communication among the team members. You should guide them and share your plans, events, and even other new and useful information out there. Conduct training programs, video blogs, workshops, and make them share information on forums, wikis and chat rooms. This is important to sustain your developer community and to make them active.
Missing the right tools.
Provide them with accurate documentation, easy build scripts, easy-to-use APIs, multiple languages option, multiple user access channels, easy provisioning and other necessary tools including videos. This should be fun and exciting not a typical project. So make that difference. A support team should exist 24/7, especially in the night, since developers are usually ‘night’ people and more productive when the sun disappears according to statistics.
Missing a community Manager.
The Manager should be able to guide and monitor the developer community. Be responsible for the events organized and maintain the enthusiasm in the air. If it is possible, meetings can be arranged occasionally with developers or selected developers to share exclusive and fascinating news. The Manager can be one of the first developers. This is one way of saluting the first set of developers.
hSenid Mobile has successfully built Telco Developer Communities around the world! It is successful because the platform: mChoice Cloud TAP (Telco Application Platform), provides the right tools and resources to build innovative and creative Telo apps using SMS,USSD and LBS services with easy-to-use standard APIs while ensuring developer engagement.
Appzone from Etisalat which is the brand name of mChoice Cloud TAP was one such successful deployment which was recognized by UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) as an emerging market which has contributed a significant growth to the IT sector in Sri Lanka. Developers and students from universities have made SMS services and have earned tremendously. This was possible due to creating awareness by training programs, continuous guidance by the technicians, competitions, tech-talks and workshops which include practical sessions. Building a successful developer community needs expert knowledge and good IT marketing that focuses on attracting the right pool of developers.