Global uncertainties have urged organisations to ramp up digital transformation initiatives, to remain relevant, challenging how products and services are delivered. With digital collaboration tools becoming more accessible, businesses are now able to compete and adapt to external circumstances more effectively.
Notably Singapore is the fastest growing country in Asia Pacific in 2019, realising 111% growth in open source repository contributions compared to the previous year - bringing to focus the power of code, in driving economic recovery and growth.
Developers play a key role in the software revolution, as software innovation transforms and disrupts businesses. More importantly, software developers have increasingly become the corporate powerhouse, bringing businesses’ ambitions to fruition through code, open source and a fast-moving collaboration culture, driving change and fuelling innovation.
Bringing developers into the fold will help foster greater collaboration within the business, with teams supporting one another in areas where they are struggling with. Leaders can also learn open source best practices from their developers to successfully deploy virtual working across the business and ensure operational efficiency while adapting to the new normal.
To effectively blend ‘business brains’ and ‘IT intelligence’, business leaders will need to start focusing on collaboration, smashing the silo approach and embracing innersourcing to champion developers as an integral part of innovation and business transformation.
Collaborate to drive innovation
To innovate and differentiate their products and services from competitors, companies need to build software in more open and collaborative ways, encouraging co-creation and streamlining the sharing of resources and information across teams.
By taking this step, companies can effectively combine the ‘business brains’ of an organisation with the ‘IT intelligence’ heads, uniting their chief information officers and developers to work in tune to reach a common goal.
Most traditional businesses will need to recalibrate their approach to achieve the ‘right balance’ between business-led and developer-led decision making. Projects should balance CIO’s goals with realistic expectations, taking guidance from developers. This elevates the role of the developer to become an integral part of business development decisions and presence in the boardroom.
Working as a team, the ‘business brains’ can learn how developers operate and champion the principles of open source – collaboration and innovation. These principals will encourage teams to think outside the box and explore collaborative working methodologies that drive new ideas and efficiencies.
Leading industry players operating across Southeast Asia from on-demand food delivery services like Deliveroo, to e-commerce specialists Tokopedia, have realised the importance of collaboration and ‘power of code’ to deliver products and services fast, securely and at scale.
By adopting open source methodologies, Tokopedia was able to successfully unify their DevOps, security engineers and leaders to focus on building different feature sets and pushing out platform-level code simultaneously.
Smash ‘silos’ to overcome organisational challenges
Arguably, organisational silos remain a top challenge that prevents teams from achieving greater collaboration, and companies from bringing their developers into the fold.
Recent report found that over 90% of executives and employees attributed bad team performances and failures to a lack of collaboration or bad communication, an issue that is exacerbated by silos.
Collaboration is second nature to modern day developers. By adopting open source methodologies, developers share and build upon the best ideas, improving what has already been created, and focusing on key challenges to launch new projects, faster.
Additionally, developers appreciate working with the wider community to problem-solve issues, bounce ideas off or share resources, to drive innovation at scale.
Maximise efficiency with innersourcing
Forward looking businesses have realised that the same working methodologies that drive open source innovation, can also drive business success. This is enabled and enhanced by adopting the principles of open source within the company firewalls - a practice called innersourcing.
In layman’s terms, adopting innersourcing is like starting an open source community within the company.
Innersourcing enables better collaboration by promoting a culture of openness, and by increasing clarity and trust between developers, engineers and leaders. It allows teams to easily find and reuse code, reducing the waste of resources and duplication of effort across the company.
It fosters a culture that supports communication between areas that would typically operate in silos, encouraging collaboration to drive efficiency, as well as faster innovation.
‘Business brains’ should look to adopt the practices inspired by this modern approach to software development, not just within the IT function across the board.
In the same way that developers regularly assess processes to find out what is holding them back (whether it’s inefficiencies or lack of transparency), business leaders should look to do the same and encourage this culture of collaboration and growth.
Companies can start by introducing pilot projects to experiment with more open processes before adopting innersourcing throughout the wider business. ith that, leaders will be able to document best practices that are suitable for their business operations and showcase the small successes to convince the buy-in from their developers, engineers and stakeholders.
As software development continues to drive business innovation, business and IT department leaders must set up their employees for success with the right mix of business brains and IT intelligence to overcome organisational barriers, and drive innovation.