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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a self-regulating business model that helps companies to be socially accountable to their employees, stakeholders and the wider public. By practising CSR, businesses are demonstrating that they are conscious of the impact that they have on society from an economic, social and environmental perspective. Engaging in CSR simply means that organisations are operating in ways that enhance society, and the environment, rather than contributing negatively to them. This is especially important during times of economic uncertainty, like many employees, customers and partners feel unsettled about what’s to come in the future.

Introducing CSR software development

Software is a key component to the functioning of most businesses today, and there are a number of characteristics that it must adopt. Going beyond its technical features, software needs to be reliable, secure, scalable, and most importantly meet the requirements of the end-user. But what does CSR mean for software development? Broadly speaking, it’s all about software engineers ensuring that they are aligning developments inline with environment, economic and social concerns. This means that they are committed to behaving in accordance with industry standards and the values of the business. 

In addition to this, GDPR is now embedded into companies corporate strategy and is becoming increasingly linked to CSR. This is especially important as software engineers now have opportunities to adopt better data management that bolsters a competitive advantage across international markets. However, engineers will also have access to large volumes of customer data, meaning that they need to ensure they are abiding by tighter GDPR regulations and guidelines. These professionals are held accountable for data protection and this will be vital in ensuring that businesses can position themselves as socially responsible.

What’s more, the development and use of sustainable software should be a part of any organisation’s overall objectives, ensuring that they are attending to the needs of current stakeholders, without compromising on the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. CSR software allows organisations to automate its efforts, achieving better results, whilst reducing costs in the long run. 

Changing the role of software engineers

The increasing pressure on companies to remain ethical and sustainable will initially add some complications to the role of a software engineer. Software has changed how businesses and people operate, which means software developers are quickly becoming more and more influential. They now need to consider CSR during the design stages, all the way through to the implementation of the software. Furthermore, they need to ensure that they have the capability to provide end-users with a secure and transparent program that they can trust. 

Businesses and its stakeholders are confident that software developers are responsible for helping optimise and improve company operations. But with the increase of customer data, intellectual property and license agreements, the role of the software engineer has become more challenging as guidelines, codes of ethics and industry standards evolve. However, what’s important to remember is that it is essential to apply sustainable ways of working as the technology industry moves forward.

Benefits for CSR software development

In addition to increasing pressure to comply with environmental, economic and social regulations, organisations can hugely benefit from CSR software development. It drives real value across the whole business with long term strategic benefits for corporate image and profitability. Getting the right software in place can also help businesses to become more agile, as it allows teams to deliver value to partners or customers faster and with fewer challenges. Not only this, but software can also be updated or evaluated incrementally to meet customers’ developing needs more efficiently in the turbulent marketplace. 

Investing in CSR software development will also build a company’s reputation as a responsible business, which is not only vital in today’s industry but can also lead to a competitive advantage. Many customers or partners may favour software development specialists that share similar CSR policies, which in turn will help to identify new business opportunities in the long term. Ultimately CSR and its software development initiatives will enhance an organisation’s competitive advantage, as stakeholders and their interests are protected and enhanced.

Looking to the future

It’s clear that the acceptance of social responsibility by software developers will bring added returns to organisations and the IT landscape as a whole. Most importantly, CSR software development allows businesses to build trust amongst customers and partners in the longer term, as they are abiding by  industry standards and the values of the business. Therefore, by taking into account the different pillars of CSR, companies and their software developers can ensure that they have the ability to provide stakeholders with an improved customer experience. The business itself will also benefit from the ability to become more agile, as CSR software development helps its teams to deliver better value to partners or customers on a faster scale.

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Emma Crabtree

Emma Crabtree

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