Business can’t win without developers, but you need more

A surprising survey shows that lack of software development capabilities is the top inhibitor to business success. So, how do you fix that?

Money can’t buy you happiness, but developers just might. According to a new survey from Stripe, companies finally recognize that access to engineering talent is a bigger inhibitor to growth than access to capital. In fact, as fed up as enterprises may be with their outdated IT infrastructure, they’re convinced that if they can just find good developers, most other problems will prove secondary.

But just hiring more developers isn’t the answer. There’s more to it.

Of course, you do need more development capability. Mainstream enterprises now recognize that their biggest threat is likely not another bank or a rival hospitality company. Instead, it’s that a currently noncompetitive technology vendor today will be a clear and present danger tomorrow. Those tech vendors are fueled by developers; everyone else therefore feels they must “developer up,” too.

Plant a developer. Watch her grow

The No. 1 constraint to enterprise growth, according to the thousands surveyed by Stripe, is access to talent, with 55 percent of respondents citing this concern. Immigration requirements—something that rightly gets a lot of media attention—was last on the list at 47 percent. Right at the top of the list, however—and higher than the need for cash to invest in growth (52 percent)—was developers (53 percent).

It perhaps makes sense for developers to think themselves the center of the universe, but this Stripe survey, conducted in partnership with Harris Poll, surveyed not only 1,000 developers but also more than 1,000 C-level executives in the United States, Singapore, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. This mélange of developers and executives identified a need for more developers (61 percent) as a bigger threat to corporate success than tax rates (58 percent), trade barriers (56 percent), and Brexit (55 percent).

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