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  • Writer's pictureSlashData Team

Case study: How we calculated the dollar value of an onboarded developer for a cloud vendor

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

SlashData recently published a ground-breaking white paper addressing the Holy Grail of questions among Developer Relations, community managers, Developer Program Managers and more.

The Developer Engagement Value framework calculates the added value every onboarded developer brings in real dollars. This is the total value that a developer is expected to bring over a period of time either by using a vendor’s technologies themselves (direct value) or by inducing/supporting others to do so (indirect value).

In this blog post, we are diving deeper into the practical use of the framework by showcasing a real-data example of a cloud vendor and how we calculated the value of their developer community across all their products and services for four different segments.

The use case of a cloud vendor

We considered a – hypothetical – scenario where the cloud vendor wants to estimate the value of their developer community across all their products and services and is interested in doing so for four journey-related segments: students, junior developers, specialists / senior developers (specialists for short), and managers.

Using real data, we demonstrated how you can use the Developer Engagement Value framework to:

  1. understand developer segment transitions,

  2. prioritise audiences for outreach,

  3. select the value-maximising initiatives for these segments,

  4. and understand how to optimise your offerings.

Here are some of our key findings:

  1. 68% of student developers onboarded by the cloud vendor will be professionals with some tooling decision-making influence within their organisation within a year. This implies that any investments the cloud vendor makes in students will begin to bear (more) fruit in – up to – a year later in 68% of the cases.

  2. Senior developers and specialists are the most valuable segment out of the four we considered (students, junior developers, specialists / senior developers, and managers), each developer in this group bringing $15, that is 2.3 times more than the dummy ARPU we assumed. This speaks volumes as to why ARPU is not sufficient to capture the full value that a developer brings, and why you should therefore be adopting a full-view lifetime value instead.

  1. In particular, specialists bring slightly more value than the managers, and that stems from higher Support and Skill-Builder value ($4.22 vs $3.73) and higher Developer Feedback Value ($8.53 vs $8.00).

  2. Different DevRel activities are expected to boost value of different types for any given segment. More specifically, we found that among the cloud vendor’s junior developers, those who value training courses and hands-on labs are 17% more likely than those who don’t to bring usage-inducing value. These initiatives, however, seem to have only a small effect on the product-enhancing value of junior developers. Therefore, focusing on these will mostly have an impact on the usage-inducing value. 

  1. On the contrary, those among junior developers who consider documentation and sample code to be important bring 15% more product-enhancing value than those who don’t, whilst, the effect of good documentation on usage-inducing value is only 2% higher for those who consider it important vs those who don’t. Therefore, If the focus is to increase junior developer contribution and feedback, focusing on good documentation is a good strategy, as it will attract junior developers who are more valuable that way.

There is more to this story and you can read it all in the full white paper


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