Why should you care about technical debt?
Today, we have the technology to do almost anything, but technical debt is blocking the ability to move forward.
Photo by Ahsan Avi
In our industry which is documents and printing we see many good software solutions, concepts and intentions. But many companies are blocked to gain full value of technology because of their infrastructure and previous procurements.
Besides the financial aspect, what is blocking progress? This is where technical debt gets into the picture.
First, a quick tutorial. Technical debt is often related to one or more the following categories:
1. The deliberate debt:
When choosing quick fixes over long term solutions, which is like financial debt. You need to repay it. If not it just keeps growing with interests and at some point, it will be very expensive to fix. However, it's often seen to stay competitive and deliver results fast.
2. Using outdated software:
Planning a development project on "the good old platform" can be very risky. If it's not updated in good time it will make re-factoring very complex, risky, expensive and confusing for users as it often ends up in a very big change, as if one just bought a new replacement system and they need to spend a lot of time getting used to it.
3. Too many chefs in the kitchen:
Too many small changes over time creates more and more complexity. Combined with multiple people without proper knowledge of the business case results in unnecessary complexity.
At offices, we see that print servers are vanishing and are managed by the provider of print management solutions.
This is not only good when thinking about the reduced costs of not managing the print servers anymore, but also you remove any technical debt, as the provider is responsible for making sure the architecture is up to date in regards to security, performance, scalability and of course the future.
We have seen the same with storage solutions such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box and many more. The good old file server is non-existing for many companies.
So there is a direct financial and time-based benefit by removing technical debt, using hosted software services, also referred to as Saas (software as a service) However there is an even more important factor which needs to be addressed.
The ability to stay competitive by utilizing technology
It's not about making faster horses or cars. It's about thinking about how to skip that step, to begin with, and focus on the end-goal.
If you could start from scratch today, what technology would you use and why? The less technical debt you have, the higher flexibility you get.
In marketing A/B testing is crucial, but how many businesses are doing A/B testing within sales performance or HR? What if you had a tool that would could help you with that in just a few minutes next time you plan your sales campaign?
Are we loading unnecessary pressure on our team with tasks that could be automated by using better technology?
We have so much data and functionality to help us understand the situation and even simulate the consequences if we "go down that road".
At 3manager we help vendors of printer solutions and customers to get a much clearer overview of their current printer situation, operations and options to optimize and from that point, help to keep the printers in balance when it comes to costs and performance.
To do that, analytics are done on hourly basis which normally would take hours and even days for any consultant to make. This automation saves a lot of time for the client as well as the vendor. Status meetings are even much more productive and don't take a long time to prepare.
It's all about conclusions:
Are we on track?
How can optimize and where?
Data should support those points fast. In this way, it's a lot easier to find out if it makes sense to upgrade, re-arrange or wait a little time to do any actions.
Technical debt can block your ability to work smart
If a company has too much technical debt, it will make it hard for any employee to work faster and smarter, and in a competitive world where speed is probably the most important factor (besides quality), this can be the reason for not performing satisfactorily.
Becoming the smart office is not only about technology or AI, its about having the right culture and reduce technical debt to as little as possible.
We can buy almost anything on a monthly basis, it's already here, but the technical debt dictates when to start using it.
Question is if its even more expensive to wait?
Thanks for reading :-)
Photo by Nathan Dumlao