Just as it is every year May was insanely busy in the tech business. With the Spring Conference season there are plenty of major shows such as IBM Impact, SAP Sapphire and the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit. I was involved in all three of these conferences – either on a speaking, or consulting basis. What can we learn from the directions these firms are taking, in terms of their events, themes and approaches?
The single most significant trend to mention is that IBM and SAP getting serious about courting software developers, rather than simply focusing on purchasers. Adobe on the other hand, is moving in the opposite direction- focusing less on tools and developers and more on line of business buyers, in particular the marketing department. Adobe is emerging as the exception that proves the rule: RedMonk’s long term contention that developers are the most important constituency in IT is clearly on the money. They are the New Kingmakers.
IBM – Impacting Developers
At Impact IBM ran a fun, well-attended, developer unconference again, and gave out t-shirts that said “What if Software Developers Ran the World?”
On the back of the shirts was the rejoinder – “They do” – pretty aggressive wording from IBM Corp. Seems appropriate to use Grady Booch as a model in the picture above. Of course a t-shirt and an unconference don’t get you in the game- but the WebSphere Application Server Liberty profile, a lightweight Java application server based on Stackless Stack principles, new commitments to help customers build and make money from public APIs, and some interesting new mobile development and management tooling in the shape of Lightworks (a new IDE not from the Rational stable) are all engaging plays. Is IBM the natural choice for the grassroots Web developer? Far from it. But it’s now recognising the fact it needs to appeal to a wider developer pool. REST APIs is just part of the story.
In his keynote Jerry Cuomo, WebSphere CTO, announced the new Cast Iron Live API Management service, designed for coordination, publishing and consumption of API assets. Who defines the success or otherwise of an API set? Developers of course. Cuomo said something I found particularly interesting.
APIs are the company’s public persona.
In an age where developers decide which platforms win (see Apple as exhibit A, or Microsoft in the last round), they also begin to dictate which brands succeed. No wonder marketing is becoming a key driver of new application development spend.
SAP – Developers are the new influencers
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it to Sapphire in Orlando this year, but I did some consulting with SAP before the event around developer experience (DX). The team running the plays is clueful – it’s one thing to arrive for a consultation …