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Focus on these three organizational trends in application development to gain a competitive advantage

Over the past 30 years, IT teams have really come full circle.  It’s a department that has become a genuine profit center where in its early days, was considered a cost center (and an expensive one at that).  

30 years ago, there was no App Store, little rumbling of SAAS businesses and no progressive effort to build internal software tools to make businesses more efficient.  My how times have changed.

The evolution of software development has also reached a turning point.  With enterprises hiring more developers in house over the past decade, it has now become a focus of hiring excellent talent and developing this talent.  In turn, more and more companies are becoming software companies, leaning into their development teams to build these products to help drive their business growth, be it internal tools or external products. Even Google Cloud is investing in leadership for developers, announcing recently that they hired the now Amr Awadallah, ex-CEO of Cloudera as their VP of Developer Relations, managing all Google Cloud Products

So where should enterprises focus over the next 3-5 years for application development to gain a competitive advantage?  What trends are happening that driving the future of application development?

Focus on corporate culture

Corporate culture as a competitive differentiator.  Human Capital teams partnering with executives have the opportunity to outwardly share and drive their message and cultural focus to current and potential employees, this can be come an advantage to keeping and attracting the best talent.  Supporting and vocalizing a positive culture that aligns with current day employee desires drives engagement, spearheads innovation and minimizes attrition. Look to Human Capital teams to focus more on building and vocalizing their culture more and more over the next few years as development becomes an increasingly important function across enterprises.  

Improvement of learning and development programs

An often overlooked job perk, learning and development programs are crucial for keeping and investing in amazing employees within any department.  With the technical skills needed for application development, investment in learning and development plans can have amazing returns for teams looking to create the most cutting edge offerings that have amazing UX and design.  This perk should extend to the teams that support and collaborate with development, like infrastructure and administrative teams that help make developers more efficient and successful.  

Facilitation of cross departmental collaboration

Developers will be working more and more with different teams across the enterprise, especially if they are building those teams their own software tools.  The best way to make these software tools for a specific user group is to understand the problems that they are trying to overcome and solve those problems with the said software.  What better way to understand those problems than by getting up close and personal with the “customer.” More interviews and collaboration will result with the increasing need to provide teams with their own tools to get their job done more efficiently and effectively.  

Strategically, application development can have an exceptional return if properly invested in.  Enterprise developers have the ability to positively affect the bottom line with positive contributions to company external facing products or with the ability to build products that can take employee effectiveness to a higher standard.  The investment in these teams and culture and collaboration surrounding them will be seen as a facilitator to defining the importance of this function to the business.   

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