Why software makers need to be able to sell to a CIO and a low-level developer

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Developers have more influence over decision-making than ever before when it comes to choosing what software they’ll use at work. That means companies that sell software need to appeal to the little guy, not just the executive controlling the developers’ budget.

Much of this is due to the cloud, which has lowered the cost of entry for trying new solutions, Lew Cirne, founder and CEO of New Relic said on Thursday at our Structure 2013 conference. “It lets the end-user adopt technology and spur its implementation internally” when trying something new, he said. And they “don’t have to worry about what their boss’ boss’ boss thinks.”

What that means is that developers don’t have to choose the same legacy software or service that his or her company has always gone with — he or she can experiment with the cheapest offering, or what’s easily available, said Stephen O’Grady, an analyst with Redmonk.

“Even if you have a technically superior product like Oracle(s ORCL) Database,” he said, “developers more frequently will choose what’s convenient, what they don’t have to jump though a lot of hoops to get.”

So if you want to sell to businesses, keep this in mind, said O’Grady. “The winners will know how to sell to CIOs and developers.”

Check out the rest of our Structure 2013 coverage here, and a video embed of the session follows below:

A transcription of the video follows on the next page

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David Mytton

This is the exact model used in open source – developers start using a project because it’s free/the best tool/easy to deploy. It’s later when problems occur or the business needs some guarantees or support, that the commercial opportunity comes into play and the companies around the project (if they exist) can sell relevant services. Often, management has no choice because the project is already deployed and heavily used.

10gen have shown this to be a very effective model. MongoDB is incredibly easy to use/deploy and all the marketing efforts go into building that developer community. Sales of consulting, support contracts and their new software tools comes after that.

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