Tech debt has hampered UK innovation for another year. The ongoing investment of time, money and resources in maintaining legacy technology is worrisome, and it comes at the expense of building a strong business for the future.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
An OutSystems survey of 521 IT decision makers around the world found that enterprises typically spend 40 percent of their annual IT budget – or the equivalent of about five months – on maintaining legacy code. If companies continue to build new systems on top of old systems, technical debt will grow like compound interest, forcing organizations to spend greater amounts of IT budgets on maintenance and developing new products and services. Capacity will be reduced.
Technology companies are becoming increasingly vocal about this problem. OutSystems found that 69% of enterprises agreed that technical debt limited their ability to innovate. Therefore, it is important that businesses – or at least those striving for growth – understand how technical debt builds up in their organization and proactively take steps to eliminate time-consuming legacy systems.
Legacy Month – When IT Finally Pays Back
In simple terms, June – known as ‘Legacy Month’ – was the first month of 2023 where businesses could actually innovate. They had paid off their technical debt for the year and were finally able to focus on providing new systems and solutions that would drive growth. Yet, if we continue at this pace, current systems will continue to age, and ‘Heritage Month’ will arrive even later in 2024. This is a big problem for businesses in the UK as well as around the world.
This rising tide of technical debt not only drains an organization’s resources, it also weakens their innovation capability. As enterprises become more developed with software, the ability to stay ahead of the competition rapidly diminishes. And in a world where innovation in game-changing new technologies like AI is mission-critical, companies need to free up as much budget as possible for innovation.
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Country leader UK in OutSystems.
With technical debt reaching extreme levels, it is important to learn how we got here. As businesses are driven to provide better and more customized solutions to their customers, they are competing for a limited pool of developers who can help them navigate complex IT infrastructure and operations. The research found that the two major factors behind technical debt were the high number of development languages, which makes it difficult to maintain and upgrade systems, as well as heavy turnover in development teams.
The result is that new employees become responsible for platforms they did not create and may not fully understand. Other important factors include companies accepting known defects to meet deadlines and the presence of outdated development languages and frameworks. As a result, businesses struggle to maintain and rework critical systems.
Over time, technical debt builds up and grows through thousands of small decisions, preventing companies from investing in new innovations or services before they become a big problem. Furthermore, potential security issues, loss of application knowledge, and even impact on the reputation of legacy IT can prevent businesses from pursuing growth plans such as going public and adopting new technologies.
Typically, these short-sighted decisions are caused by the pressure to find shortcuts and make things fast, rather than building things the right way that will stick in the future and provide the speed and agility needed for change. But what options are open to enterprises looking to improve the way they develop software?
bringing forward heritage month
A successful long-term strategy for managing technical debt will always require a balance between quality and speed.
The first thing businesses should do is make an honest assessment of the fundamental issues at hand. Reducing unnecessary turnover of developer talent and cutting the number of programming languages and frameworks will help prevent the growth of technical debt.
However, the most important step to paying off technical debt is to create a development process that meets both short- and long-term goals. Through carefully aligning modern application development platforms that prioritize automation and agility for change, any company can begin to steadily reduce their debt without compromising the timelines of their current projects.
By successfully adopting this strategy, businesses can accelerate product development and improve their ability to resolve quickly and cost-effectively, and ultimately, reduce the negative impact of their technical debt in a shorter time frame. Can.
Start planning for next year
In the current period of economic uncertainty, businesses have an opportunity to prioritize their software development efforts. With the right tools and processes, a company doesn’t have to choose between building fast and building it right when developing software. By being proactive in exploring alternatives to legacy code, 2023 is still likely to be a year to remember for companies that are asking their IT teams to do more with less, and keeping innovation at the top of the priority list. But we are bringing it, so Legacy Month will come early next year.
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