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The secret to keeping your developers happy? Payrise? Promotion?

This week our CTO, Martin Paton offers his thoughts on how to keep your developers happy - the answer may surprise you.

If you're a developer, I would bet my bottom dollar you are a participant to some degree around the "which front end JavaScript framework is the best... ", "which container orchestration tool is the best?" and many more - such debates spawn conferences, public Slack channels on the topic, fights on Reddit as well as more civilised meetups in the pub, and generally keep the developer / devops ecosystem healthy and fresh.

However, if you are a developer who's working with old CMS products, you're on the fringe, you're an outcast in the shadows, you don't take part in the debates. This is largely because you simply can't use these tools or frameworks - even if you want to, without seriously bending the product you're working to beyond its design or support limits. It's over for you.

As a CMO or CIO, you may be thinking "So what? My site still works!" and that's fine, but it actually has deeper ramifications than you may think and may end up costing you in the long run. Let's have a look why:

The industry has moved on, and your developers will too...

Developers have (or should have) a premium status in your organisation. These people are the last line of defence between your digital brand representation and the general public.

Deep down, beyond satisfying the minima of "having a job", no-one really wants to spend their career supporting a legacy .NET WebForms jQuery platform.

As developers, they want to be working in environments coding entirely de-coupled experiences against fluid APIs using React, Vue and Angular. They want to be using headless systems, delivered using lightweight runtimes using Docker and Kubernetes to deploy to the Cloud, leveraging serverless workflows with modern build toolchains and automation linking together a plethora of tools and services offered by Cloud vendors.

And you need to be careful, because they can. There's loads of well-paid jobs out there that offer this, and we have a big skills shortage.

The impact of this knowledge drain can be huge, hard to replace and shouldn't be underestimated. Keeping an old system "just because it works" stifles the innovation mindset you need to take your brand or product to the next level get that competitive edge. In essence you're clipping your own wings.

How much is that actually costing you?

With a headless CMS such as Contentful, all this comes by default, so if you're in this world, you and your developers should already be happy! However, the good news is that the established CMS vendors are recognising this. We're seeing some very positive movements from the big players:

Sitecore 9 can play pretty much anywhere in the Cloud and has recently opened up a set of Javascript APIs for modern developers to let loose the React and Vue experiences your developers are cooking up in their own time on personal projects.

Epi have a Content API so you can consume all of your content entirely disconnected from the platform. They're also providing components that work with React and integrate into the WYSIWYG. They already provide the fully managed DXC which offers an incredible bang-for-buck to free yourself from the hassle of worrying about deployment and infrastructure management and embrace the power of the Cloud.

So freeing yourself from the shackles of a legacy may just save you a lot more than your brand reputation. If you'd like to know more, and see some real examples of how AmazeRealise has helped organisations snatch back the freedom to innovate - drop us a message below.