This article originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY
Apple (News - Alert) with its App Store set the expectation that a wide variety of applications would be available to mobile users – whether they’re looking for a virtual beer-drinking experience, a game, a restaurant, or whatever. As a result, large wireless service providers have worked diligently to create developer programs of their own in an effort to drive more applications onto their networks and handsets.
But working with the large and varied application developer community is a whole new ballgame for service providers, some of which don’t have the assets to create and support developer programs on their own. That’s why KPI Consulting launched its DeveloperPrograms.com division.
Kenneth Plunk, CEO of DeveloperPrograms.com, explains that KPI was involved in helping several tier 1 wireless operators, including Orange, Sprint (News - Alert) and T-Mobile USA, launch their developer programs. Now DeveloperPrograms.com aims to help tier 2 and 3 wireless service providers (as well as customers in the automotive and health care verticals) recruit, educate and support application developers.
"We love it when we get the opportunity to demonstrate to people how much they can actually save by outsourcing their developer support program, and the benefits it brings to have the applications and content that developers bring to the fold," says Plunk. "With the economy the way it is right now, it just makes good business sense to outsource, rather than add so much toyour overhead by bringing people aboard full-time."
DeveloperPrograms.com delivers a completely outsourced, branded, turnkey service. That offering includes the development of a website through which a service provider can invite developers to register to develop applications and access APIs; a means through which to communicate its needs to the developer community; qualifications of application submissions from the developer community; cataloging of accepted applications; and, if desired, settlements with developer partners.
“Anybody can register, and then they can prove themselves along the way,” Plunk says.
The company alerts developers about what technologies and applications in which the specific carrier has an interest. DeveloperPrograms.com does this both via an Internet website and through educational events it holds at major conferences.
While wireless service providers are keen on both consumer and business applications, Plunk adds, business-focused applications are particularly interesting for these clients given they’re the most lucrative customers they have. By offering these, or any, customers attractive mobile applications, Plunk says, wireless service providers can help prevent customer churn.
And by working with DeveloperPrograms.com, service providers have a more cost-effective and simple way to reach out to the millions of developers across the globe that can help bring these applications onto their networks, he adds, noting that the job of working with the developer community is a bigger task for service providers than it is for Apple considering network operators leverage a wider array of technologies.
Service providers pay a one-time subscription fee for DeveloperPrograms.com, which can be for a one- or two-year term. For those that want to include developer recruitment in their service package, there’s an addition per developer fee.
Benefits of Outsourcing a Developer Program:
The amount of money that can be saved by outsourcing cannot be overstated. There are significant savings for companies that outsource, compared to hiring someone and having to pay yearly salaries and benefits.
No retention issues
With outsourcing, companies avoid the retention issues that accompany hiring someone directly. Companies that hire people and then lose them and have to re-hire others add to the overall expenses involved. Outsourcing eliminates this costly issue.
By outsourcing developer support programs, you can take advantage of a team of professionals that will work on your project, providing a quicker turnaround to help you meet your goals.
Hiring professional developers directly can be costly, and it can be a challenge to find people who are qualified to fill the positions. By outsourcing a program to attract, recruit, support and retain third-party developers, you tap into more talent opportunities and may be able to obtain more qualified experts to work on your projects than you could hire directly.
Edited by Jaclyn Allard