Attracting Talent Remains a Challenge With Significant UK Skills Crisis in Security, Internet of Things and DevOps
Mastering modern software development using a ‘Modern Software Factory’ is at the heart of success for European organisations, according to the results of a global survey of more than 1,200 IT leaders, including 466 in Europe, released today by CA Technologies (NASDAQ: CA) and conducted by Freeform Dynamics.
The new research shows significant gaps between the ‘Masters of the Modern Software Factory’ – in Europe the top 21 percent who embrace the key principles of agility, automation, insights and security – and everyone else across a range of measures. These measures range from revenue and profit, to executive leadership and risk-taking, to the adoption of modern software tools and approaches.
Across Europe, the ‘Masters’ are embracing and exploiting the digital world across key aspects of their organisations and out-performing others on key business indicators. When compared to the Mainstream, the Masters delivered:
- 70 percent higher rate of profit growth
- 50 percent higher rate of revenue growth
Skills Gap Impacts All Organisations But Opportunity Exists To Influence Next Generation of Talent
Attracting the right talent directly contributes to business success. At a pan-European level, the study reveals that whilst Masters of the Modern Software Factory find it twice as easy to recruit experienced software development professionals compared to Mainstream organisations, and 1.6 times easier to attract young software development graduates, the challenge impacts all organisations.
In the UK, the survey reveals, for example, that 66 percent of organisations across the board are struggling to attract professionals experienced in the necessary software development practices and technologies, while 63 percent find it difficult to hire young graduates in software development.
Certain key skills are in very short supply. Some 71 percent of UK organisations find it difficult to recruit candidates with experience in security for mobile or web-based apps, for example, 70 percent are struggling to attract professionals with DevOps skills and 61 percent reveal they have problems recruiting candidates familiar with Agile methods.
A greater focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) training initiatives would help contribute to creating the next generation of talent.
Moreover, training and tools for existing IT staff are also lacking: only 22 percent of UK organisations strongly agree that their software development teams are expert in the latest tools and development trends, and only 29 percent strongly agree that provide regular training for continuous skill development.
“The study provides clear evidence that if you don’t have a modern approach to software along with the factory needed to deliver on your vision, you will be left behind in a world where the masters are the winners,” says Otto Berkes, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, CA Technologies. “The findings also reveal the extent of the skills gap in the UK. Unless organisations take action to nurture and expand modern software development skills, they risk being left as Mainstreamers– not Masters – of the Modern Software Factory.”
Across Europe, Mastering the Modern Software Factory also Offers a Significant Lead in:
Exploiting the Digital World
- 58 percent of Master-level organisations in Europe say their leaders are exploiting new software-driven strategies versus 19 percent of Mainstream companies
- 45 percent of Masters say their executives provide the leadership needed to survive in the application economy versus 20 percent of Mainstream companies
Understanding Customer Needs and Better Aligning IT with the Business
- 57 percent of the Masters reported that they understand what customers need and strive to deliver the best customer experience, versus 24 percent of Mainstream company respondents
- 42 percent of Masters are very effective at prioritising software development in line with business goals, versus 16 percent of Mainstream companies
Balancing Risk With Responsible Security Practices
- Over 45 percent of the Masters’ company culture support risk-taking, versus 19 percent of the mainstream
- 46 percent of Masters have senior management who understand the importance of not compromising software quality or security for time-to-market, versus 17 percent of the Mainstream
Developing, Delivering, Managing and Securing Better Quality Software
- 44 percent of the Masters are very effective at delivering applications with improved quality and consistency versus 26 percent of Mainstream companies
- 53 percent of the Masters reported that their development processes are well documented and well-understood, versus 19 percent of Mainstreamers
Software Development is Crucial to UK Organisations, But IT is Not Supporting the Business
- In the UK, between 2015-2019, software development will become 1.6 times more essential for business success
- Just 17 percent of UK organisations believe IT to be very effective at prioritising software development in line with business goals
- Only 21 percent consider IT to be very effective at creating a consistent and predictable way of developing apps
The Bottom Line
“There’s a clear indication that those organisations that adopt modern software development practices such as agile, automation, machine learning and analytics to generate insights, and integrating security into the development process, do a better job of driving growth. In reality, the future of your business is in the hands of your developers,” Berkes adds.
The global online survey of 1,279 senior IT and business executives was sponsored by CA Technologies and conducted by industry analyst firm Freeform Dynamics in July 2017. It includes 466 respondents from six European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the UK) across eight industry sectors. It was augmented by in-depth telephone interviews with key industry executives. For full survey methodology details, see the report “Modernising Software Delivery for Digital Transformation.”
ByteDance names head of China news unit as global TikTok R&D chief – sources
By Yingzhi Yang and Brenda Goh
BEIJING (Reuters) – Beijing-based ByteDance plans to move the chief of its Chinese news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, Zhu Wenjia, to Singapore to head global research and development for its hit short video app TikTok, two people familiar with the matter said. The role is newly created and would be the first senior R&D position for TikTok. Zhu will be in charge of the app’s product and technologies including its recommendation algorithms, the people said. His position will be parallel to TikTok’s interim head, Vanessa Pappas, and will report directly to ByteDance founder and Chief Executive Zhang Yiming, they said.
ByteDance declined to comment. The sources declined to be named as the information is not public.
TikTok had come under pressure from the Trump administration in the United States to divest the app’s U.S. operations over concerns that user data could be passed on to China, which TikTok has repeatedly denied.
Reuters reported last year that TikTok had moved its key research capabilities outside China and had approached employees from tech giants like Google for a senior engineering role.
U.S. investors, including Oracle Corp and Walmart Inc, have discussed with ByteDance taking a majority stake in TikTok’s American operations.
The White House under Biden has said it is keeping risks TikTok may present to U.S. data under review, but stressed it has taken no new “proactive step” relating to the pending TikTok deal, Reuters reported earlier this month.
“With Trump now out of office, and the new Biden administration focused on urgent matters like the pandemic and the economy, I think TikTok has more leeway to make strategic, rather than reactive, decisions,” said Mark Natkin, managing director of technology consulting firm Marbridge Consulting.
Kevin Chen, a former Didi Chuxing executive who recently joined ByteDance, will replace Zhu as Toutiao’s new CEO, the sources said, adding that the personnel changes have not been internally announced and are still subject to change.
Zhu, now based in Beijing, joined ByteDance in 2015 and became Toutiao’s CEO in 2019. Prior to ByteDance, he worked as an architect at China’s search engine giant Baidu.
In September, Reuters reported that ByteDance planned to invest billions of dollars and recruit hundreds of employees for its new Southeast Asia regional headquarters in Singapore.
(Reporting by Yingzhi Yang in Beijing and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Editing by Jan Harvey and Stephen Coates)
SE Asia’s biggest travel app plans regional fintech expansion before 2021 listing
By Fanny Potkin and Anshuman Daga
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Traveloka, Southeast Asia’s largest online travel startup, plans to launch financial services in Thailand and Vietnam as it eyes a U.S. listing through a blank-cheque company, its president said.
The 9-year-old Indonesian company, which counts Expedia and China’s JD.com among its backers, is seeing a strong rebound in its business after the COVID-19 pandemic pummelled demand. The company’s president, Caesar Indra, told Reuters in an interview that Traveloka’s Vietnam business had surpassed pre-COVID-19 levels, is nearly back to normal levels in Thailand, and is at half of pre-COVID level in Indonesia. “The worst has happened and now we’re well prepared for 2021. Domestic travel is driving recovery,” he said.
“The plan is to invest in fintech in a big way to allow more consumers to travel in the region,” Indra said, adding that the travel business had returned to profitability in late 2020. Traveloka, which says it has 40 million active monthly users, is developing “buy now, pay later” services for Thailand and Vietnam markets.
“We recently formed a joint venture with one of the largest banks in Thailand to collaborate in the fintech space,” Indra said. Traveloka, which has smaller local rivals, is also talking to potential partners in Vietnam, but Indra declined to name the parties. Traveloka’s two-year old equivalent service in Indonesia, launched after the firm realised that customers would wait until their paydays to book travel, has already facilitated more than 6 million loans, Indra said. Last year, Traveloka launched “Paylater” credit cards with some Indonesian lenders. It also offers insurance and wealth management services.
Indra said the business potential was huge in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, where only 6% of the population of 270 million has credit cards. When asked whether Traveloka might buy a bank in Indonesia, like other start-ups, to expand its financial services, Indra said, “all options were on the table.” Traveloka, also backed by Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and Indonesian venture firm East Ventures, has grown its local lifestyle services in Indonesia, where it offers restaurant vouchers and a food delivery service, as well as a popular rapid COVID-19 testing.
Indra said the company is Indonesia’s largest restaurant review app. Traveloka, which has been preparing for a listing, is holding discussions with special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, for a U.S. listing.
“U.S. markets have become more appealing because there’s more and more appreciation of Southeast Asia as a flourishing region, and by listing in the U.S, we can also provide an opportunity for U.S investors to become part of Southeast Asia’s growth story,” Indra said. Many SPACs, exchange-listed shell companies that raise money through IPOs and merge with firms by enticing them with shorter listing timelines, have approached Southeast Asian startups.
Bridgetown Holdings, backed by Asian tycoon Richard Li, Provident Acquisition and Cova Acquisition are contenders for Traveloka, with a potential valuation of up to $5 billion for the startup, a source said. The firms did not immediately respond to requests for comment made outside normal U.S. business hours.Indra declined to comment but said an Indonesian listing remained an option.
(Reporting by Fanny Potkin and Anshuman Daga in Singapore. Editing by Gerry Doyle)
United 777 plane flew fewer than half the flights allowed between checks – sources
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A United Airlines plane with a Pratt & Whitney engine that failed on Saturday had flown fewer than half the flights allowed by U.S. regulators between fan blade inspections, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.
The Boeing Co 777 plane had flown nearly 3,000 cycles, equivalent to one take-off and landing, which compares to the checks every 6,500 cycles mandated after a separate United engine incident in 2018, said the sources.
They sought anonymity as they were not authorized to speak publicly. United declined to comment.
Pratt, the maker of the PW4000 engines, advised airlines on Monday to step up checks to every 1,000 cycles, in a bulletin seen by Reuters. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said it was ordering immediate inspections of 777 planes with PW4000 engines before they could return to flight, going further than Pratt.
Japan and South Korea have also grounded the planes for fan blade checks.
On Monday, the FAA acknowledged that after a Japan Airlines PW4000 engine incident in December it had been considering stepping up blade inspections.
A risk-assessment meeting was held last week to discuss the issue before the United engine failed on Saturday, one of the sources said, confirming an earlier report by CNN. No decision had been imminent ahead of the United incident, the source added.
(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington; writing by Jamie Freed. Editing by Gerry Doyle)
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