Best Practice

The CEO Pocket Guide to Internal Developer Portals

Speed, efficiency, and security are top of mind for CEOs. Learn about how an IDP can enable engineering teams to spend more time on work that moves the business forward.

Lauren Craigie
September 28, 2023

In the current macroeconomic climate, it’s more important than ever for executive teams and CEOs to make the most of their resources. Organizations are expected to continually deliver innovative products and services in a rapidly changing environment, often with reduced engineering budgets. 75% of tech leaders fear displacement from competitors beating them to market, so speed and efficiency are top of mind. 

Engineering teams face complexity, tool sprawl, and fragmentation of data about applications, services, and environments. This is especially true as teams turn to microservices to increase their scalability, agility and speed of development. Having to rely on outdated and highly manual spreadsheets to track service ownership makes it difficult to handle incidents, develop new features efficiently, or even just get a clear picture of what every team is working on. 

To tackle these challenges, organizations are turning to Internal Developer Portals (IDPs). An Internal Developer Portal helps your company: 

  • Catalog all the services, environments, APIs, SDKs, libraries, components, and templates used in your organization
  • Focus attention on what matters through a developer dashboard showing service health and reliability
  • Enforce best practices and measure progress on standards & compliance through scorecards and initiatives 
  • Integrate with CI/CD, security, monitoring, and other dev tools your team already has in place
  • Drive developer actions to improve service maturity and reduce toil

The same way sales teams rely on Salesforce as the connective tissue for their ecosystem, engineering organizations rely on IDPs like Cortex as their central nervous system.

Cortex can help your organization go to market faster, attract talent, and maximize developer productivity. You can use executive reporting paired with automated engineer engagement to make data-driven decisions across the organization and drive adoption of best practices.

Improve go-to-market velocity

An IDP greatly improves the experience and productivity for developers in your organization, making it easier and faster to deliver new features. With a service catalog, developers can avoid redundant work and reuse existing architecture. Templates and scaffolding let your engineers quickly spin up compliant, reliable services that follow company best practices in minutes. 

An IDP can also be a great way to galvanize the company to move quickly on important initiatives, like meeting SLAs or reducing vulnerabilities. Engineering leads or SREs can set goals for services, and executives can support by tracking which teams are leading the way vs. falling behind. 

Attract and retain engineering talent 

Attracting and retaining top engineering talent remains a top concern for CEOs, according to a 2023 Gartner Survey. Having a superior developer experience pays dividends in attracting developer talent. An IDP makes it easier for developers to onboard, understand what the expectations are, and take ownership for what they build. 

One of the biggest hits to morale is when flaky services result in engineers being paged at 3 am—and spending hours debugging. IDPs help on both fronts: first, by ensuring that services have monitoring set up and follow best practices for reliability, and second, by providing a central place for documentation. Runbooks for troubleshooting can appear right alongside the service in the IDP.  IDPs also play a major role in onboarding, ensuring they new devs have the resources they need to be successful and begin contributing on day one.

Maximize developer output & productivity

Stripe’s 2018 study on technical debt revealed that the average developer spends more than 17 hours a week on tech debt and bad code. This hurts morale as well as the business’s bottom line. With an IDP, engineers can shop a catalog of tools, environments, microservices, APIs, and SDKs all in one place. They can create and reuse templates that enforce what “good code” looks like at their company. 

An IDP also highlights areas in the technical stack that need attention, allowing your team to make consistent progress against migrations, service end-of-life, and compliance activities so these don’t become multi-year initiatives. 

Make data-driven decisions with the big picture in mind 

For CEOs, it can be hard to get the big picture of how productive the engineering organization is. With an IDP that organizes services and initiatives under teams, product lines and/or business function, it’s a lot easier to get an overview of how the organization is trending and where there are areas of risk.  

Not only that, but most CEOs want to make data-driven decisions. You can use an IDP to run reports and easily find the answers to your top-of-mind questions, like "where are there areas of risk within my infrastructure,” “what does my developer productivity look like," and "has the team’s performance changed.” 

Get proactive about security & vulnerability management

Despite 65% of organizations reporting an increase in cybersecurity incidents in 2023, most don’t have a comprehensive plan in place to protect their data. This can result in a slower response time and increased risk of further damage to the organization's systems and data.

Protecting your business’s critical data from security threats and vulnerabilities starts with being proactive. From the first line of code to production, your IDP can help drive the adoption of the latest security standards and ensure you’re always compliant with relevant data privacy and security regulations. 

Outcomes you can expect with an IDP like Cortex 

An Internal Developer Portal empowers CEOs to help their engineering organizations succeed. An IDP like Cortex can help your organization go to market faster, attract and retain talent, ensure security compliance, and make the most of limited engineering resources. You’ll be confident knowing that you have the high-level picture and the tools to make data-driven decisions—while your team has the resources to build and maintain high-quality, reliable code. 

Book a demo today to see how Cortex can help enable your engineering team to spend more time on work that moves the business forward. 

Best Practice
Lauren Craigie
What's driving urgency for IDPs?