Monday, January 23, 2012

A key to IT business success

Many large Information Technology (IT) companies and recruiting agents spend a huge budget searching for skilled software developers. Yet, many large IT companies face the challenge of maintaining sustainable business growth. Meanwhile, new emerging industries such as social media or innovative IT companies (e.g. Apple and Google) are rapidly growing and have sharply increased in businesses profits during the economic downturn.  According to the Computer Career Review (2011) and Inc. news (Cline, 2011), the most in-demand job is software engineer with starting average salary from US62,035 annually, up to US132,080 and expecting 32 precent  job market growth in next 10 years.

What is the most critical element of these IT businesses’ success? A number of research projects and workshops were conducted in the IT sector (for examples- Wong, 2011). The findings suggested that the role of technical staff leadership is a key. The research suggested that the software developer's expertise, motivation and teamwork drive a software project success and innovation.

  1. Expertise - Innovation often comes from which skills a software developer is passionate about and good at. The best software developer likes freedom and a flexible working environment to build new ideas.  Often, large companies' bureaucracy, complex organisational hierarchical and political reporting structure, restricted work-environment and roles, lack of career development can limit a talented software developer’s capabilities and jeopardise motivation.
  2. Motivation – the best developer is very self-motivated in the area that he/she is pursuing. Listening, acknowledging, providing opportunity, fair and explicit reward systems can recruit and retain your most talented professionals.
  3. Teamwork – An open networking environment allows talented professionals to build a team that enables the creation of innovative projects. A talented team pursues excellence and contributes to your sustainable business growth.

In a long run, large IT companies need innovation and open & flexible working environment to capture the most talented team and develop a sustainable growth business. These include:

1)      Create company core value and provide growth opportunities  - focus your company's core value with your people and provide opportunities for their growth at the same time as the business

2)      Flexible open environment – reduce unnecessary bureaucracy administrative and middle management (they are usually the gate keeper), develop flexible and open environment to allow talented developers to pursue their innovative ideas and allow opportunities for their contributions from all levels.

3)      Listen to innovative ideas - Listen, acknowledge and reward excellence. An excellent idea can be coming from anywhere even from a new junior developer.

4)      Create a team - An open network collaboration environment allows software developers to build a talented team and enable the creation of innovative projects. The right social media platforms can create positive knowledge and productive culture.

5)      Recognition of excellence - appreciation must be through an explicit and fair reward system. Tangible measurement metrics are critical. Annual performance reviews should be removed and replaced by explicit measurement metrics. Nothing is more important than fair performance and opportunity for development to capture and retain your best talent.



Computer Career Review, Top Ten Review (2011)

Cline, K. (2011) The 5 Hardest Jobs to Fill in 2012, INC news.

Wong, Y.K. (2011) Do Developers Matter in System Review? International Journal of Behaviour & Information Technology, 30 (3), 353-378.

Referencing this article/blog:
Y.K Wong, (2012) A Key to IT Business Success. 23 Jan.
Author's email:

©Copyright. Dr Zoe Wong

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