Guest Column | August 12, 2019

The 5 Myths Of Developer Platforms

By Rob Spee, Channel Journeys Consulting

Avanish Sahai, ServiceNow

Avanish Sahai



Santa Clara, CA

Year Founded



Transforming old, manual ways of working into modern digital workflows. Employees and customers get what they need, when they need it—fast, simple, easy.

Channel Experience

10 years

"Partners have specific domain expertise that we want to see coming to our platform. Joint innovation delivers greater customer outcomes. Platform vendors want a partner ecosystem to be very rich and very successful." -Avanish Sahai

How can software vendors shift from delivering products to delivering business outcomes? It requires vertical market expertise, an understanding of the business challenges in that vertical, and a completely different go-to-market strategy.

One path, proven by the Salesforce App Exchange, is to create a developer platform where an ecosystem of developers can build vertical solutions and services on top of your product.

I spoke this week with Avanish Sahai who did just that, first at Salesforce and now at ServiceNow. We talked about the top 5 myths about developer platforms and how to build a successful partner ecosystem on my Channel Journeys podcast.

Key Take-Aways

Myth #1: Vendors want to copy their partners’ apps.

Platform vendors want their developer partner ecosystem to be rich and successful. Copying partners’ ideas would severely damage trust and hamper success.

Myth #2: There is always a “winner take all” in any given category.

In any given category, there will be multiple vendors at different paces of innovation. Likewise, if a market is available and proven, there will be multiple partners who can and should participate in that market.

Myth #3: If you build it (an application), they (the customers) will come.

Partners need a go-to-market plan from a marketing, sales, customer support, and customer success perspective. Partners must take ownership of marketing and selling their individual solution with support from the vendor.

Myth #4: Partners are being charged a tax to be on the platform.

Running an application platform and creating and connecting API’s for partners is not free for the vendor. That is why many vendors’ application platforms run on a revenue sharing model which helps the vendor build the partner ecosystem.

Myth #5: The only exit for the partner is being acquired by the platform provider.

While nothing is certain, financial exits in a variety of forms can and will happen. Acquisition by the vendor, another partner, a private equity firm, or even an IPO, are all possibilities.

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Learn more about the ServiceNow Developer Program and their milestone of reaching of 500 apps in the ServiceNow Store, and listen to the complete Channel Journeys podcast with Avanish for more tips and lessons learned.

Robert Spee, Channel JourneysAbout The Author

Rob Spee is founder and CEO of Channel Journeys Consulting and host of the Channel Journeys podcast. Rob applies his channel expertise to help clients create and execute channel strategies to accelerate revenue growth. His global channel experience spans from building channels at startups to vendors and distributors like Arrow, BMC, Carbonite, and SAS. Follow Rob on Twitter and LinkedIn.