Wasting IT developer time will cost €2.5trn globally, Stripe warns

Poor use of IT developer time has the potential to cost the global economy more than €2.5trn in the next decade, according to new research from Stripe.

Stripe, which was founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison, has revealed that in its native country, poor use of IT developer time has the potential to knock €7.7bn from Irish GDP in that timeframe.

‘With 79pc of business surveyed now considering themselves a technology company – no matter what industry they are in – developers have undeniably become some of the most important people in the building for any business’
– IAIN MCDOUGALL

The global report found that 81pc of global CEOs surveyed view access to developer talent as a bigger factor constraining their businesses growth than access to capital.

Nearly a decade after the financial crisis, more than 50pc of C-level leaders (CxOs) say they are more concerned about access to developers than access to capital. Additionally, 61pc of CxOs said that access to developer talent was a threat to the success of their business. Access to software engineers was cited as the second-highest growth constraint after regulation.

A whopping 81pc of those surveyed stated that in-house developers are more effective than hiring external management consultants when it comes to company decision-making.

How developer resources are being squandered

The Stripe report revealed that today, the average developer spends more than 17 hours a week focusing on maintenance and infrastructure issues, rather than tackling the strategic issues companies face in the digital age.

In addition, developers are spending approximately four hours a week on bad code, which equates to nearly €73bn worldwide in opportunity cost lost annually, according to Stripe’s calculations on average developer salary by country. Nearly two-thirds of developers agree that this is “excessive” and that clear prioritisation, responsibilities and long-term product goals would improve their own productivity.

The report found that more than 50pc of developers believe the businesses they work for can’t compete because of outdated technological infrastructure, with too much of their already limited developer time being allocated to patching old systems or fixing bad code.

There also appears to be reluctance by some to modernise their tech, with 47pc of respondents in Singapore saying that their companies are reluctant to modernise their legacy systems in comparison to 28pc of German respondents.

Part of the issue appears to be the ability for developers, and the business-critical issues they face, to be heard at the decision-makers’ table, particularly when businesses do not have tech expertise in the executive ranks. More than 75pc agree that their companies’ leadership benches should place more weight on developer input when making strategic decisions.

IT developers are now the business builders

“The role of technology within an organisation has changed significantly, going from a nice-to-have to now being a business-critical function,” explained Iain McDougall, Stripe’s Ireland and UK country manager.

“With 79pc of business surveyed now considering themselves a technology company – no matter what industry they are in – developers have undeniably become some of the most important people in the building for any business.”

And yet, McDougall said that as this research shows, barriers do currently exist in many businesses with regard to how much time and freedom IT leaders and developers have to innovate in the face of ageing infrastructure and a shrinking talent pool.

“If this issue were to be addressed, it has the potential to significantly benefit the Irish – and world – economy.

“Change is on its way. As organisational barriers to developer empowerment slowly erode, and more developers begin to get a seat at the executive table, innovation and digitisation will become business as usual, and Ireland will begin to reap the benefits of some of the €2.5trn gains that have been forecast as a result of digitisation globally,” he concluded.

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