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Stripe Finds C-Suite Anxieties Over Developer Talent

Business owners are frustrated with the processes through which they seek financing, a Federal Reserve survey has found. When it comes to addressing friction in the enterprise, much of the tech community has turned its attention to easing companies’ access to funding. However, a new report suggests access to capital is no longer their main concern. In fact, a report from Harris Poll and Stripe revealed that business leaders are more worried about a lack of access to enterprise software and developers.

CNBC, which covered the Harris Poll and Stripe report, suggested that business owners and executives are grappling with a major roadblock to their overall digital transformations when they cannot access the developers they need to digitize. The publication dubbed those developers a “new breed of corporate leader,” critical to the success and growth of businesses.

Yet, according to the Harris Poll and Stripe report “The Developer Coefficient,” 61 percent of C-Suite professionals cite a lack of access to developers as a significant threat to their firms. Analysts highlighted that this concern surpassed worries of a lack of access to capital.

“A decade since the global financial crisis, companies no longer face challenges with scarcity of capital,” the report stated. “Instead, as technology fracks into every aspect of the world economy, quality software engineers are becoming the world’s most precious resource.”

At the same time, executives seem to be scooping up engineers and developers as quickly as possible. Most executives surveyed said the number of these professionals within their companies has increased in the past year, while only 14 percent said it has decreased. According to Stripe, citing Evans Data Corp., CIA Factbook and its own research, there is an estimated 18 million developers in the world today the report suggested this is not enough.

Perhaps more concerning than the struggle to find developer talent, however, is how much money organizations waste by using the developer talent they have in non-strategic areas of the enterprise. Researchers found that software developers spend more than 17 hours every week on maintenance issues, such as debugging. One quarter of that time spent is on fixing bad code, the report noted.

The focus on fixing bad code alone costs a combined $85 billion every year, the report said, using average developer salary to calculate the figure. Nearly two thirds of developers surveyed agreed that the time they spend fixing bad code is excessive, “and believe that clear prioritization, responsibilities and long-term product goals would improve their own productivity.”

Stripe and Harris Poll calculated that this time amounts to $300-billion-worth of wasted developer productivity every year.

Conversely, organizations that effectively use their existing developers have the potential “to raise global GDP by $3 trillion over the next 10 years,” the report concluded.

As C-Suite executives grapple with issues like access to software engineers, regulation and overall talent, the report also noted that several factors are threatening the success of these businesses, which can be addressed and mitigated through effective use of software engineer talent. For instance, cyber and security breaches were cited by 66 percent of survey respondents, while disruption from the tech industry was cited as a threat by 62 percent.

With access to software engineers and developer talent as top concerns for these executives, addressing this point of friction would assist with tech-related concerns like cybersecurity and tech disruption.

“Senior executives feel the threat of tech industry competitors most acutely, which is why they’re prioritizing investments in infrastructure, R&D and recruiting over the next five years,” concluded Stripe. According to the report, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and API technologies are having the greatest impact on the business today, cited by developers and C-level executives alike. Looking ahead, machine learning (ML), virtual assistants and blockchain are likely to have the greatest impacts in the next decade.

However, Stripe noted that senior executives are more optimistic than developers with regards to how ready their companies will be for these trends and disruptions. With organizations strapped for developer talent, it appears that a lack of developers and engineers may also contribute to a lack of understanding and knowledge about the technological trends ahead and how to handle the digital evolution.

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