The Tug Of War Over Front-End Development Ownership

Dominique Whittaker

Front-end developers are getting the short end of the stick: they're either considered not technical enough to be a developer or too technical to be considered a designer/engineer. This conflict resonates further into the organization and stakeholders aren't in agreement on where front-end developers should sit---with the BT organization or within the business. Both sides make compelling arguments as to why front-end devs should sit within their respective parts of the organization. Our recent developer survey tells us that 47% of developers sit within a single centralized BT organization.

 

The main reasons BT organization argues three reasons front-end developers should sit within BT:

  • To make sure that development standards are consistent.
  • It ensures that they work in sync with the back-end team.
  • Front-end devs work with code and BT should have ownership of anything related to code.

On the other hand, marketing argues that front-end developers (also referred to as designers/web developers) are better suited for marketing since:

  • They don't really code, mainly working in HTML, CSS, and Javascript.
  • Front-end devs can create rapid prototypes for customers to see their ideas conceptualized, but it’s not intended to be production-ready at all.  
  • BT organization moves too slowly and is unable to deliver the changes needed to enhance the customer journey at the speed it requires.
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Chief Data Officers Are A Good Idea -- But How Is That Going To Work?

Gene Leganza

It seems to be popular these days amongst industry pundits to recommend that organizations add a new Cxx role: the Chief Data Officer (CDO). The arguments in favor of this move are exactly what you'd think: the rapidly accelerating importance of information in the enterprise, and, as important, the heightened perception of the importance of information by business executives. The attention on information comes from all the rich new data that simply didn't exist before: sensor data from the Internet Of Things, social media, process data -- really just the enormous volume of data resulting from the digitization of everything. Add to all that: new technology to handle big data in a reasonable time frame, user-friendly mobile computing in the form of tablets, data virtualization software and data warehouse appliances that significantly accelerate the process of getting at the information for analysis, and the promise of predictive analytics, and there's plenty of cause for an information management rennaisance out there. With a little luck, the activity it catalyzes will also improve enterprises' ability to manage the data and content that's not so new but also very important that we've been struggling with for the last decade or so. 

The only argument against creating this role that I've run across is that if CIOs and CTOs did their jobs right, we wouldn't need this new role. That's pretty feeble since we're not just talking about IT's history of relative ineffectiveness in managing information outside of application silos (and don't get me started about content management) -- we're adding to that a significant increase in the value of information and a significant increase in the amount of available information. And then there's the fact that the data could be in the cloud and not managed by IT, and there's also a changing picture regarding risk that suggests a new approach.

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A Structural Tune-Up For An Applications Organization

Marc Cecere

I was talking with a client the other day about the reporting structure of her applications organization. The group had a single leader, but underneath, it was subdivided into groups that were a combination of technology (website, data analytics, intranet), business unit (four major ones), and IT processes (QA). The leader of this group knew that every organization is different based on the culture, size, maturity of managers and a dozen other factors. However, she was seeing a lot of friction between groups and wanted to know what structural changes other organizations had made and what the tradeoffs were.

We started by talking about the direction of the organization. In particular, she needed to determine if the business units were moving to greater integration of their data and processes or whether the business silos formed were just fine. Though most organizations are moving to greater integration, this is not an obvious answer, as some companies have run-off business areas that are in maintenance mode and may be kept separate. For this call, she asked that we assume the company needed greater integration. There were other drivers around growth and cost containment that we discussed as well.

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