Technical debt is an invisible drag on IT systems, accumulating interest that can grind operations to a halt. Like financial debt, every shortcut and quick fix taken builds up obligations that eventually come due. Without proactive management, technical debt can undermine projects, inflate costs, and create serious business continuity risks.
At BeCloud, we take a transparent and methodical approach to technical debt, helping clients chart a course to faster, resilient IT. Our architectural reviews and debt minimization strategies reinforce system integrity over the long-term. With BeCloud as your guide, your organization can overcome technical debt and chart a heading towards sustainable success.
Decoding Technical Debt
Technical debt refers to the implied cost of additional work caused by choosing easy solutions over better approaches. Like financial debt, technical debt accrues interest in the form of reduced agility and increased overhead.
Technical debt can be intentional, like delaying an upgrade to meet a launch date. More often though, it is unintentional – the gradual result of disjointed solutions and compromised quality. Every quick fix and workaround contributes to accumulating debt. Over time, development slows to a crawl.
For example, a startup lacked standards when building their cloud architecture. They took shortcuts to get products to market faster. Without realizing it, they incurred major technical debt. When they later tried to add features, simple changes broke the whole system. Their velocity dropped dramatically.
Measuring the Impact
Ignoring technical debt eventually brings progress to a standstill. As systems grow more convoluted, developers spend most of their time firefighting issues rather than innovating. Sudden system failures also become more likely.
At BeCloud, we've experienced these issues firsthand. Our in-house email system was experiencing more downtime and required constant server maintenance. We had custom-built integrations to other systems that were increasingly unreliable. Migrating to a new platform meant redoing all of these customizations.
We performed an architectural review and discovered excessive technical debt had accumulated. By moving our email to Microsoft 365, we reduced our debt significantly. We avoid the ongoing server maintenance and risks, while gaining resilience and new capabilities. Our developers are now focused on innovation, not email upkeep.
Detecting Technical Debt
How can you identify technical debt? Warning signs include:
- Fragile systems prone to breakage
- Difficulty integrating after mergers or acquisitions
- Declining development velocity
- Complex code bases hard to maintain
- Functions tied together without separation
BeCloud uses automated analysis tools to detect problem areas and vulnerabilities. Our engineers then perform manual assessments investigating integration points, redundancy, testing rigor and other areas. These validated findings guide our technical debt reduction strategies.
Regular assessments are critical to stay ahead of technical debt as systems age. BeCloud provides scheduled reviews that give clients an up-to-date view of IT system integrity.
Preventing technical debt is more effective than managing it later. Best practices include:
- Keeping coding standards up-to-date and well-documented
- Enforcing code reviews and testing discipline
- Promoting loose coupling and modularity in architecture
- Utilizing platforms and frameworks that enforce quality
- Prioritizing regular training on emerging technologies and methodologies
Developers should focus on code readability and maintainability, not just functionality. With the right organizational focus and developer education, technical debt can be minimized from the start.
BeCloud’s Methodology for Minimization
BeCloud utilizes a systematic approach to minimize technical debt through incremental improvements over time. This preserves continuity while gradually modernizing systems.
Our architectural reviews analyze integration points, data structures, testing practices, and other areas. We provide a risk rating for identified issues and a roadmap for resolution based on business priorities.
Ongoing, we help clients build a culture focused on code quality, system resilience, and modular architecture. Our developers are continually trained on emerging techniques that reduce technical debt.
The Power of Architectural Reviews
Architectural reviews provide invaluable insight into the current state of IT systems. For our own email platform, an assessment revealed:
- Custom integrations were fragile and increasingly unreliable
- Server maintenance overhead was exceeding in-house capabilities
- Supportability issues as the system aged
By identifying the growing debt and risks, we were able to justify migrating to Microsoft 365. This cloud offering decreased our maintenance substantially while providing enterprise-grade reliability and new features.
Building Your Technical Debt Strategy
To create an effective technical debt strategy:
- Secure buy-in at the leadership level to reinforce the cultural importance
- Integrate debt management into your systems development lifecycle
- Implement regular architectural reviews and code quality analysis
- Provide developers training on building resilient, modular architecture
- Utilize metrics like velocity and defect rate to track progress
- Prioritize addressing high-risk areas first to mitigate incidents
- View debt reduction as an ongoing initiative, not a one-time fix
BeCloud can help design and implement a customized strategy tailored to your unique IT environment and business objectives. Our expertise and record of success can fast-track your technical debt resolution.
Technical debt will continue to accrue as long as systems evolve. But left unmanaged, it can bring IT to a grinding halt while enabling serious risks. BeCloud provides the analysis, strategy and expertise to maintain your IT systems' integrity for the long-term.
Don’t let technical debt divert your strategic progress. Contact us today to schedule your architectural review and start mapping your route to faster, resilient IT. Our holistic approach transforms technical debt from an anchor into a navigable current.
Technical Debt Checklist
Detect technical debt in your systems using this checklist:
- Increased time to deploy changes
- More frequent system failures
- Integration issues after M&As or upgrades
- Lower developer productivity
- Reliance on a few seasoned developers
- Lack of documentation
- Duplicated capabilities and data across systems
- Difficulty adding new technologies
- Crumbling test automation
Talk to Our Experts
Determine your technical debt exposure.