Role of Developers in Organisations

As Cloud and especially SaaS and PaaS is quickly becoming reality, many internal IT pros working the public sector are asking themselves whether the skills and career paths are shifting. Is it required to have a development team to cater for "small" user requirements such as a DB here and there, or perhaps a complex spreadsheet. These requirements are what fed work to "small" dev teams across public bodies, and created huge potential revenues (if not controlled) for the outsourcers.In fact, outsourcing muddies the water significantly... A real example from one of our clients: due to a long term outsourcing contract, where the provider would always charge high rates for any "End User Computing" developments, users simply used the tools at hand: namely MS Excel and Access for application development. After 7 years, one "mission critical" app was (is) run off a giant excel spreadsheet, linked to over 250 other excel spreadsheets, taking 15 minutes to load and having 2 FTEs maintaining it. The amount of access DBs is unknown, but between 24000 and 48000 have been discovered. This will happen when the service is not provided to users, and becuase of this, many IT teams have a super user or a team helping out. This can be expensive, as even 2-3 people costs of 150K+ per year to the council. Given the advent of PaaS and easy config options, users should have reduced requirements (if trained), however a level of support and small dev will still be required. For this reason, should the Development as a Service (or Coding / Config as a Service) or CaaS, become the norm? I certainly hope so, and we are beginning to think in those terms and streamlining our internal teams to be able to deliver on a much more "small" dev mentality. This, in the end the vision behind the Agile methodology.