It’s no coincidence that the term technology debt evokes the field of finance. On the one hand, there is the debt that has been lying around for too long and needs to be paid off to get to the next level. On the other hand, there is the recent debt, the debt that is not delivering the expected return on investment. How can your business minimize both types of technology debt? Here are our tips.
What is technology debt?
A technology debt can be a backlog of infrastructure upgrades. We’re talking about hardware here, as well as all the systems in use in your company. You wouldn’t tolerate retro computers hindering your team’s productivity, so you need to take the same attitude towards the business solutions you use. If these systems are holding up, they may be the equivalent of sending a fax rather than a text message, limiting the performance and growth of your organization.
Technology debt can also be caused by solutions that are new but out of step with your business goals. When systems and business strategies are out of sync, you can expect disappointing results and significant additional costs. In an environment of increasing labour shortages, inefficiencies need to be identified early and properly addressed. A solution that is perfectly suited to your organization not only meets its current needs, but also anticipates its future evolution, thus preventing the accumulation of a technology debt.
6 tips for dealing with technology debt
- Target outdated systems that are hindering your business performance and stop adapting these tools to new needs. Instead, focus your investments on implementing innovative solutions, which will be more profitable in the long run and reduce your technology debt.
- Properly analyze your needs before starting a technology project. This analysis allows you to measure your technology debt, evaluate the efficiency of your workflows and identify priority goals. Skipping this phase can save time and money in the short term, but not in the long term. The more unplanned additions and adjustments you make to the original plan, the more likely it is that the program will turn into spaghetti code. That’s why a thorough analysis of your situation increases the quality of the end product, while minimizing surprise costs, delivery times and your technology debt.
- Map the technologies in place and their interactions. This process helps you understand the implications of a change on the overall system. Keeping this mapping up-to-date also facilitates informed IT decisions and will help keep your technology debt in check.
- Take a long-term view of your needs to choose business solutions that are flexible enough to adapt to your future needs and strategies. This will ensure a better return on investment.
- Define the stages of your technology project and establish a realistic timetable so that all its phases are successfully completed. By focusing on quality rather than speed, you’ll benefit in the long run. For example, conducting a test phase before releasing a system allows you to identify potential problems and address them appropriately from the start. This eliminates the need to make corrections after the fact and preserves the quality of your systems.
- Maintain your solutions properly. Regular updates delay the onset of a new technology debt. Centralizing the management of requests for additions and corrections also prevents a multitude of independent modifications to your solutions that undermine the cohesion of their structure. Your process map becomes a major asset here, as it allows you to assess the impact of each request and make informed decisions.
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