When you think of debt your company carries, you're likely thinking about the financial obligations you have to any of your creditors, but this is not the only form of debt you should be aware of. In the modern working world, technology is an ever-present part of nearly every industry, which means that if your company has inefficiencies in its tech, it can have a big impact on your bottom line. If you're new to understanding technical debt, this guide can help you understand what it is, how it affects your company, and how to reduce it.
What is Technical Debt?
If this is the first time you've heard the term, you're probably asking yourself that very question. What is technical debt? Technical debt is an inefficiency that occurs when a decision is made in the short term that has negative effects on the long-term functionality of your tech, resulting in a loss of production down the line in exchange for functionality now. This gap where you are losing efficiency and losing money on your bottom line as a result of previous compromises is technical debt.
What Causes Technical Debt?
There is no one answer for what causes technical debt, and because there are a variety of potential triggers, that means there is a lot to be on the lookout for when checking for any technical debt in your company's operations. The most common situations that lead to technical debt are:
- Rushing: One of the most common causes of unintentional technical debt is rushing when developing code or technical procedures at a company. When in need of a fix immediately, you don't always come to the most efficient solution. While this can help to meet a deadline or solve an imminent problem, it also has the potential to cause unwanted ripple effects down the line as you utilize the less-effective methods.
- Unrecognized Errors: At the end of the day, nobody is perfect. That means that sometimes mistakes can be made even when not under the pressure of an imminent deadline. When these errors escape detection and become a part of your daily operations, they may be leading to reduced effectiveness by you and your employees.
- Time Passing: Even the best-constructed systems can become a source of technical debt if they are not properly maintained. New technologies are always developing and growing in prominence and if you're not staying on the cutting edge, you may be subjecting your company to technical debt without even realizing it. Just because something was the best way to get a job done when you implemented it doesn't mean it's still the best choice now.
- Conscious Choice: Not all instances of technical debt are the accidental byproduct of decisions, but instead is the result of a conscious choice. It's possible, when facing a strict deadline, for example, for a company to make the decision to willingly choose a route forward knowing it is not the best solution long term because the cost of failing to meet a deadline would otherwise be too severe.
Is Technical Debt a Problem?
Much like financial debt, while technical debt may not always be a problem, it usually is a drag on your profits and productivity. If you're capable of reducing your company's technical debt, you should look to do so promptly and efficiently. Often, outside professional IT help can be utilized to identify and remove sources of technical debt.
How Does Reducing Technical Debt Pay Off?
Just because technical debt is not a direct representation of money you owe doesn't mean it isn't costing your company money. When you have technical debt, it can lead to everything from inefficient work to missing out on opportunities altogether because you don't identify them or are not in a position to capitalize on them. By assessing your company's operations and implementing new technologies that reduce your technical debt, you become more effective allowing you to improve your bottom line.
The best way to reduce technical debt in your company is to work with IT professionals. They can help you to assess your company and find areas where technical debt exists so that it can be addressed and you can improve your company's effectiveness to maximize profits.
iuvo Technologies has saved its clients tens of thousands of dollars by identifying and rectifying technical debt. Even clients who thought they were immune from technical debt have benefitted from our approach. If you would like to chat more about this, please feel free to contact us.