Commoditize the Ecosystem Strategy

October 6, 2022

Today, after one year of silence and hard work, I finally get to announce the launch of Heedjy, a collaborative ecosystem management tool. 

Ever since Salesforce AppeXchange launched 16 years ago, I’ve believed that all software should be part of an ecosystem, all connected and better thanks to others. But B2B Saas companies haven’t made the leap because it is very (very) expensive and it requires years to hope for a return on investment.

As a product manager of B2B Saas products managing API, integrations and partnerships, and later as a C-level trying to start an ecosystem strategy as soon as possible to grow a software business, I was fed up by the ever-lasting prerequisites the leading software companies put as a standard :

  • Build a portal to attract developers and help them build apps collaboratively,
  • Build a powerful app marketplace to showcase the teamwork, 
  • and maybe, if we have the bandwidth (haha), build an internal administration portal to monitor and act with other departments: Channels, Marketing, Legal, and so on.

Shopify, Slack, Hubspot, and many others, invested years (i.e. million dollars) in development to build and maintain the tools they have today. I studied them. Deeply. And I found that most of the features they provide are always the same : The Feature plan is well-known.

At the end of 2020, I could not ask for a 6-figure budget to do  the same as others in several years. So I started looking for a tool not to start from scratch, and keep my team focused on what added more value. Spoiler alert: I couldn't find any. That’s why I decided to start a company.

With the team, we quickly realized the biggest pain point product teams face on a daily basis is prioritizing commoditized features to build and grow their ecosystem. This problem is further exacerbated by the role of platform / developer experience / integrations teams. They are cross-functional by design. These product teams are at the intersection of different organizations.

On any given day they have to deal with channel managers asking for integrating the new rules of the partnership program they launched. They ask to promote apps depending on partners' scores. They also ask for reports on usage, activation analytics and so on in order to make their business reviews. 

On any given day, they need to maintain relationships with developers. They need to keep them updated about what's coming next and what are the impacts for their apps (usually through Discord).

they need to call customers to learn about their stack, and understand how they can better connect their core product with partners to fill these gaps

While core product managers have all sorts of tools which make it easy for them to work with customers and engineers as a team, platform teams are still in the dark ages when it comes to collaborative workflows with third-parties. From understanding what the market needs, to promoting the apps made by the partners to address these use cases, no single tool tackles the entire workflow in one place.

Introducing Heedjy

When we started working on Heedjy, we knew it was possible to build a business application providing all the commoditized app marketplace features, but we had no idea how complex it would be. Building an application where customers' partners, customers' customers and cross-functional teams make business altogether hasn’t been easy. After working closely with alpha customers, I’m confident we’ve reached this high bar.

I’m really excited about the business opportunities we’re starting to unlock for B2B software companies. Whether you’ve just started to build your APIs or you already have hundreds of apps in your listing, Heedjy makes it easy to work with others.

What’s next

Today, we’re opening our Beta: a way for teams to get early access to Heedjy and help shape our product roadmap. We’re just getting started. Your feedback is gold.

Here are some specific things we’re really excited about in the coming months:

  • Making our existing features even better 
  • Creating powerful app integrations with your best tools
  • Build a new big feature which has a freaky name : Monetization.

You can now be part of the App Ecosystem with Heedjy. I can’t wait to see what you’ll bring to the market.

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- Photo by Call Me Fred on Unsplash

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