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Developers: Platform Providers Underperforming

February 5, 2018

Software developers highly value technically accurate content and timely support from platform providers, yet most platforms do not effectively address all their priorities.
 
The
Accenture 2018 Developer Ecosystem Survey gathered input from more than 750 U.S.-based developers to determine what they look for in a platform provider, which is particularly important given the critical role developers play in a platform’s adoption and success.
 
The survey found that platform providers are lacking adequate support resources for developers; with less than one-quarter (23 percent) of developers strongly agreeing that adequate support is readily available to them. Developers also said that platform providers traditional marketing efforts to attract them – such as events and swag are much less important to them.

Among the factors that developers value most are: 

  • platform market position (cited by 90 percent of the professional developers* surveyed);
  • technically accurate content (82 percent);
  • timely support (81 percent);
  • learning new skills and improving skills (78 percent);
  • integration with other leading platforms (76 percent); and
  • monetization opportunities (64 percent).
“While the industry is aware of the critical importance of a healthy developer ecosystem, it needs to do a better job to engage, inspire, educate and support developers,” said Robin Murdoch, a managing director in Accenture’s Communications, Media & Technology group who leads its software and platform business. “This survey highlights some of the opportunities for companies to differentiate their platforms and better address developers’ needs.”
 
Rating the Leading Platforms
When asked specifically about the top platforms, developers noted different strengths: 
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) topped the list as being the most developer-friendly platform, with respondents citing how it keeps them informed and provides monetization opportunities. Developers also see AWS as being the most future-looking platform.
  • Microsoft Azure’s developers are most satisfied with the platform’s accuracy, currency, findability and readability of content. They also expressed satisfaction with the timeliness and technical background of the support they receive.
  • Android developers are most satisfied with the level of knowledgeable support they receive. Android also ranks high for personalized support.   
  • Google Cloud Platform is considered the most caring about the needs of professional developers.
  • iOS has the most credibility among hard-core developers.
While each platform has its strengths, the survey results indicate a large opportunity for companies to differentiate their developer programs. Nearly half of developers said they think that all developer ecosystems are pretty much the same in terms of usefulness, and more than two-thirds (70 percent) said that a platform offering a truly differentiated and meaningful developer ecosystem would get a much larger share of their business. 
 
Motivation to Switch Platforms
When asked what would motivate them to switch platforms within the next 12 months, respondents most often cited:
 
  • being focused on the latest technology (cited by 53 percent of respondents);
  • being more future-looking (44 percent);
  • being more developer-friendly in terms of ease of use (41 percent); and 
  • helping them build their careers (40 percent).
The survey findings also show that developers believe that many platform providers are not adequately addressing their needs and could do more to inspire, educate and support them. Among the suggestions that developers have for platform providers to differentiate themselves: 
  • continually push technology boundaries, and expand developers’ opportunities to innovate;
  • open-source their code and grant access to their libraries and repositories;
  • provide relevant and perpetually up-to-date information written exactly as developers need it;
  • be there when needed most, in the ways that each developer group needs them to be;
  • understand what developers need to be successful and enable mutually valuable relationships to grow; and
  • recognize the value developers provide, the knowledge they possess and that their collective success is intertwined.

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