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Proving Worth at Evans Data’s 14th Annual Developer Relations Conference

March 29, 2018

This past Monday and Tuesday we celebrated the 14th year of bringing top developer relations professionals, evangelists, and strategists together in a one of a kind event.  The conference highlights the methods and insights of professionals in the largest software companies in the world, and allows free and easy discussion amongst peers.  While some little shows have sprung up lately geared for program managers in small companies and startups, the Evans Data conference is designed for the biggest and the best.  Some of our speakers and keynotes included executives from Intel, Amazon, IBM, Google, Facebook, HP, Ford Motor Company, Salesforce, General Electric and more!  We also featured Guy Kawasaki, legendary trail blazer in the developer relations space.

The conference was packed – sold out, and we think we’ll need a new venue next year. Plenty of  great insights being shared.  Throughout the two days attendees were able to benefit from stimulating conversations, workshops and sessions addressing the hottest issues in this area.

One of the biggest concerns of professional at even these large companies was how do developer relations professionals prove their worth to the other departments/ management of the company.  Of course some companies are more enlightened about this than others, but it’s nonetheless a concern everywhere.  Another way of putting it is how do developer relations professionals demonstrate an ROI on their developer programs?

Counting active users, showing an increase in frequency of developer web site visitors, attendance at hackathons or other events were discussed, but these only measure changes in reach or effectiveness.  To demonstrate an ROI requires connecting the program’s activities to company revenue in some way. We talked about following a developer’s journey from awareness to evaluation to purchase or adoption and then measuring the difference between those who join a program and those who do not – a long and arduous process that may or may not show true indications.

It’s far easier to show the worth of a program to the developers themselves – ask them.  We’ve found that 69% of developers say they won’t adopt an API that isn’t supported by a program.  Sixty percent say a program helps improve the quality of their code or provides their personal productivity.  Forty percent say being in a program typically cuts their development time by 30% or more.

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