Highlights of survey for developer communities; 112 respondents


Link to the summary file with charts and results.

We conducted a 23 day survey of 112 high technology (mostly
software) companies in March & April 2007. The primary intent was
to understand their use of developer communities so we could help companies benchmark against each other.

·         61% of respondents replied via email and the rest were available to talk on the phone.

·         93% of the companies provide commercial software and the remainder were open source providers.

·         39% of companies
have over $500 Million in revenue, 35% $10 Million and $500 Million and
the rest were less than $10 Million in annual revenues.

Survey Highlights

  1. ¾ (75%) don’t provide ROI information for their
    developer communities and don’t see the need from management to do so.
    One participant put it “Its so obvious what the ROI is that we don’t
    see the need to justify it”.
  2. Nearly ½ (47%) of the communities are run with open source software and another 29% were in house developed. Most participants are looking for alternatives, but don’t see any “comprehensive provider” based on their needs.
    1. “Everyone has a little bit and it is tough to figure out who’s the best, so we used open source to get started”.
    2. “When we started there was no one, so we built it ourselves, now we
      are looking at alternative options and have budget for it”.
  3. Biggest challenge of running a community still remains finding the right resources. 57% of the people claimed inability to get the right people to facilitate the community
    1. “You pretty much need the right level of technical depth,
      customer-centric support, part trainer, part evangelist. I cannot think
      of more than 2-3 people in the company and outside that can do this
      well”.
    2. “It’s a very fulfilling role, but very demanding in knowledge. We
      interviewed over 40 people to find out that the right person does not
      exist”
  4. Some of the key benefits they get from the developer community:
    1. “Our community created extensions and ported the software to other environments”.
    2. “We get development support for our product 24X7 because of our Australia developer community”.
    3. “At our user conference we had 4-5 developers get together and put
      a demo of the new offering and how it can integrate to Adobe Flash,
      which our product team did not even consider”.
    4. “They were spreading the message to our customer base about the new
      SDK before it came out. We had a huge up tick in downloads when we
      released the product”.
    5. “Our management wanted to find out where the holes were in the API
      before we published it. Our community gave 43 bug reports in the first
      3 hours of us putting it out – Awesome”.
  5. While we expected most (if not all) developer community owners to report to Engineering or R&D over 30% said they reported to Marketing (fewer than 25% reported to Support).
    1. “Our Marketing team looks at this as an addition to their user group meetings and annual user conference”.
    2. “Our budget comes from the customer outreach & reference
      program, since we view developers as our customers. They are the ones
      that recommend our bug tracking tool.
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