Top American software R&D companies
It has been announced that technology giant Apple is opening a research and development facility within Shenzhen, China, creating increased seamless, more collaborative relationships between various teams and ensuring an increased presence within the market. With this in mind, we take a look at top American software companies that undertake significant research and development within the software industry.
Since its founding in 1975, Microsoft is one of the most well-established American software companies in the world - being at the forefront of research, development and innovation is no exception. The company has research and development facilities based both in the US, UK and India, encompassing over 800 research interns per year.
The company is always developing current and new software products, but is also undertaking research into building an effective mosquito net in order to track the Zika virus, providing new data which will be highly effective in detecting and providing further information regarding the spread of the virus.
Apple is consistently undertaking research and development to ensure their devices appeal to various markets, investing approximately $8 million in 2015. Similarly to Microsoft, their R&D facilities are based both in the US and the UK.
Although Google does not have a typical research facility like the majority of major players, the company has a team which undertake research along their daily routines, with inventions such as Google Glass created through their production teams.
Nonetheless, the company spends a significant amount on supporting academic research and development, and supporting individuals who wish to undertake PhD’s, providing technical innovation through a number of programs worldwide.
Since its launch in 2000, software company DevExpress has won the TechEd Award twice and become a Gold Certified Partner for Microsoft, and has been known as an influential software company for two years running, winning over 30 awards at 1st place.
Objective Interface Systems
With headquarters in Virginia, Objective Interface Systems provides software for a multitude of sectors, undertaking significant research and development to ensure technologies and systems are produced to a high standard, listening to customer feedback to ensure swift, quality results.
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How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.