How to Unleash the Power of Developer-Led Innovation

1 - How to Unleash the Power of Developer-Led Innovation
2 - Arm Developers With the Efficiencies of the Public Cloud
3 - Embrace the New Breed of Enterprise Developer Marketplaces
4 - Remove Barriers of Long-Term Contracts
5 - Recognize That Developers Speak Their Own Language
6 - Let Developers Experiment Freely, but Put Some Controls in Place
7 - Build Apps That Are Platform-Agnostic
8 - Provide Devs With Collaborative, Creative Outlets
9 - Set Standards for Coding in RESTful, Modern APIs
10 - Embrace the Hacker/Maker Culture
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How to Unleash the Power of Developer-Led Innovation

by Darryl K. Taft

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Arm Developers With the Efficiencies of the Public Cloud

The public cloud offers developers access to scalable, flexible infrastructure so they can use only what they need and rapidly scale up as needed. This helps shave precious time off project schedules, reduce time to market and cut costs. There's no need to reinvent the wheel by building servers, storage and services on your own.

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Embrace the New Breed of Enterprise Developer Marketplaces

Give developers access to more tools that are enterprise-ready. An emerging set of marketplaces from Windows Azure, Heroku and Red Hat provide a variety of tools and services to help ramp up application development productivity.

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Remove Barriers of Long-Term Contracts

The nature of application development can be very transitory at times. Developers may need one service or tool one day and then pivot on to something else the next, and they like to try and test tools before they make a financial commitment. Make the process of using different tools and vendors frictionless for them so they can self-select the tools they want. Long-term contracts impede this since approvals are needed from procurement or legal, and this can draw out the process.

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Recognize That Developers Speak Their Own Language

If you want to effectively communicate with developers, either to attract talent, manage projects or target them for sales, you need to consider their points of view and the alternative channels of communication they're most comfortable with—whether these are user forums, hackathons or social media—and tailor your messages so they resonate with this highly technical audience.

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Let Developers Experiment Freely, but Put Some Controls in Place

Deploy API management solutions and monitoring tools so that IT can have a window into what traffic is flowing through the network so that IT can ensure security measures are taken into account.

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Build Apps That Are Platform-Agnostic

Rather than building for the Web and then adding a mobile extension later, developers should keep this in mind at the start of the app development process. If an application has a physical aspect to it, developers should be encouraged to define, deploy, communicate and manage the Internet of things (IoT) application in a scalable fashion from the start.

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Provide Devs With Collaborative, Creative Outlets

Understand that developers have a thirst for knowledge and an inherent desire to share new tools, hacks, shortcuts and passion projects with their peers. Give them time and space to do this at work either through internal hackathons, brown-bag lunches or some other method, and that'll make for a much happier bunch. Plus, some of these ideas may end up in your products. Gmail, AdSense and Google Talk (now Hangouts), for example, all started as side projects of Google employees.

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Set Standards for Coding in RESTful, Modern APIs

Issuing a set of best practices related to usable standards like REST will allow developers to more rapidly build applications that access and act upon data exposed via APIs, even in environments with unreliable network speeds and limited computing power. REST also makes it easy for humans to understand what's being exchanged while allowing computers to talk to one another efficiently.

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Embrace the Hacker/Maker Culture

The hackers of today are technical tinkerers who use unorthodox means to build creative solutions. This is a societal movement that IT pros should recognize and leverage to their and everyone's advantage. Whether it's through learning to code, hacking hardware, or simply involving developers in the problem-solving and decision-making processes, this effort can lead to more innovative, fun and unique solutions; greater productivity; and stronger interpersonal relationships throughout the organization as a result of collaboration.

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