Does Your Business Suffer From Technical Debt?

A woman lighting money on fire, symbolizing costs of technical debt

What is Technical Debt?

Technical debt is a cost imposed on a business because of the technical decisions it made in the past. IT leaders and developers use the metaphor of technical debt to describe the present-day consequences of past infrastructure and software decisions. There are many costs to being stuck with old and inadequate software and hardware, including:

  • Being unable to implement new features because of the limitations of critical legacy systems.
  • The inability for IT departments and developers to meet the strategic requirements of the business.
  • Maintenance costs.
  • The cost of replacing legacy infrastructure and software with alternatives that meet the business’s needs.
  • Increased security risks.

Debt is an excellent analogy to the problems we’re discussing in this article. When a business makes a hasty or poorly planned technical decision, it is often to save money and time in the short term. 

To pay back the debt, the business has to fix the problems it knowingly or inadvertently created, which requires spending on infrastructure or development. Until they pay back the debt, there is an ongoing cost because of infrastructure and software limitations and the effort it takes to work around them.

In the most severe instances, technical debt can put businesses at a market disadvantage relative to faster-moving competitors.

What Causes Technical Debt?

Where software is concerned, technical debt may be the result of choosing inadequate software frameworks, of failing to understand the software’s requirements, or of deliberately taking shortcuts to save money. With hardware, technical debt can also be caused by failing to account for growing demand or by choosing a hardware platform that isn’t flexible or powerful enough to meet the business’s requirements.

Whatever the cause, the result is almost always harmful to the business, especially if decision-makers continue to kick the can down the road.

Consider an IT department that, several years ago, chose to deploy applications on dedicated servers instead of a cloud platform. Dedicated servers are harder to scale, more expensive, and less agile than cloud platforms. It is challenging to adopt modern development methodologies on legacy physical hardware, including continuous integration / continuous development and DevOps.

Leverage Azure Cloud to Minimize Technical Debt

Compared to a business that embraced the cloud, the business stuck with legacy infrastructure will not be able to bring new products and features to market as quickly, will spend more to scale and maintain their infrastructure, and will not benefit from the agility of infrastructure that can be managed in code. And these costs are merely interest payments on the business’s technical debt.

In time, businesses with legacy infrastructure are forced to pay back the technical debt. In part, that means adopting a modern cloud infrastructure platform such as Microsoft Azure. Migrating to Azure will help businesses to put infrastructure technical debt behind them and give them the tools they need to implement solutions to software debt.

Microsoft understands that businesses want to embrace a cloud infrastructure platform that can solve their technical debt issues. That’s why Microsoft partners with experienced Azure specialists at VIAcode to support free migration to Azure. To learn how we can help your business to overcome technical debt for less, contact us today.

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