As businesses expand and adapt to changing market conditions, it’s crucial to keep their technical infrastructure up to date. Outdated software and hardware can slow down operations, create security vulnerabilities, and reduce productivity. This accumulation of deferred maintenance and investment is known as “technical debt”, and it can have severe consequences for a company’s efficiency, productivity, and profitability. While technical debt is a concept that originated in the field of software engineering, it has since been applied to other areas of business, including hardware, infrastructure, and operations.
Technical debt occurs when a company chooses short-term solutions, such as using outdated software, delaying updates, or opting for cheaper hardware, instead of investing in fit-for purpose recommendations. These decisions may seem practical at the time, but they can lead to long-term problems. The effects of technical debt can be significant and far-reaching. Outdated software can be frustrating for employees, leading to decreased productivity and morale. Older hardware can also be less reliable, resulting in increased maintenance costs and potential downtime. Moreover, outdated systems can be more vulnerable to security threats, putting sensitive data and company assets at risk.
What’s a practical example of this? Most alarmingly, some businesses and even hospitals have found themselves in a situation where critical line of business software no longer has active development or support due to the initial development company going out of business, running on an operating system so old it can not be moved to new hardware - or bespoke machinery control systems that are 20+ years old being the only way to operate hugely expensive equipment.
One way to prevent technical debt is to implement a consistent upgrade refresh cycle. By regularly evaluating software and hardware systems and upgrading them as necessary, businesses can ensure they remain up to date and functioning optimally. Prioritising regular upgrades helps companies avoid accumulating technical debt and ensures that their systems are working at peak performance.
Are you in danger of falling into technical debt? Contact us to organise a comprehensive audit!