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Technology and empathy don’t often go hand in hand, but maybe they should? 

group of young multiethnic diverse people gesture hand high five, laughing and smiling together in brainstorm meeting at office, company culture

By Emely Patra, RVP and Head of EMEA Customer Success Strategy and Architecture at MuleSoft

The “Great Resignation” isn’t just a buzzword, it’s affecting organisations across all industries and technology in particular has seen a big impact.

In fact, a BCS State of the Nation report found that UK tech vacancies have grown by 191% in just a year. Research also showed that 93% of organisations say the “Great Resignation” has made it more difficult for their IT teams to retain skilled developers, and 86% say it has become more difficult to recruit them in the last two years.

These recruitment and retention challenges are putting the strain on already overstretched IT teams, who are under increased pressure to deliver connected employee and customer experiences. If the problem is not addressed, the risk of burnout is very real, and could pose a threat to future digital transformation plans.

A people-first approach with a dose of empathy

To combat this, organisations need to take a people-first and empathetic approach to driving their digital transformation. This means looking at how developers’ lives could be made easier, since it’s these employees who are the leaders of digital innovation.. For example, over three quarters of organisations reported that their developers end up frustrated and unproductive, due to the cognitive load required to learn their software architecture. As a result, it is  more difficult for developers to do quality work and serve the needs of the business and its customers effectively, ultimately contributing to their stress and lack of  job satisfaction.

Organisations need to make the developer experience more of a top priority. Being empathetic and understanding how developers work will be key to ensuring that organisations can implement the right tools and processes to help them do their jobs more effectively. After all, how can developers be expected to be the visionaries for new ways to improve the customer experience if their own ways of working leave them all overworked, burnt-out, and frustrated? The easier organisations can make their lives, the faster and more effective the innovation they create will be. This will not only help to keep digital transformation on track, but also alleviate some of the challenges around recruitment and retention, by making the workplace more attractive for current and future employees.

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Empowering business technologists 

Organisations can relieve even more pressure on developers by adopting a composable enterprise strategy. With this approach, APIs are used to expose an organisation’s existing digital capabilities as a set of reusable building blocks. These blocks can be quickly and easily composed, decomposed, and recomposed as needed to develop new digital experiences by line of business themselves. These business technologists can easily use low-code or no-code tools to simply drag and drop the digital building blocks to create new applications. As a result the load on developers decrease as they don’t have to start each new project from scratch, or perform manual processes every time they create a new digital service. This has shown to reduce risk of burn out massively for the developer community. As well as making developers’ own work easier, a composable enterprise strategy also  empowers business technologists – employees that sit outside of the IT department – to play a more active role in digital transformation. This goes a long way towards improving developers’ quality of work-life, and giving business users improved job satisfaction as they’re able to drive innovation using low- or no-code tools and carry out business process changes faster. By 2023, Gartner predicts the number of active business technologists at large enterprises will be at least four times the number of professional developers.

Automation, automation, automation 

Even as more business technologists begin to use low- and no-code solutions, skilled developers and IT teams will continue to rely on pro-code tools to scale automation. This can play a huge role in increasing job satisfaction by automating manual tasks, which helps to remove bottlenecks across the organisation and enables developers to focus on more complex tasks. A recent Salesforce survey found 89% of full-time workers are more satisfied with their job due to automation, while 91% said automation offers them a better work-life balance.

Organisations that show empathy to their developers by reducing their toil in the workplace will have a key differentiator in determining whether they succeed or fail in an increasingly connected future. Taking this approach will help to win over new skilled workers to join the organisation, drive loyalty amongst existing employees, and ensure digital transformation remains on track.