As organizations become increasingly data-driven, they are increasingly in need of a strategy to reduce technical debt.

Technical debt is a pressing concern for data-driven organizations. Software development teams often resort to easy-to-implement solutions for prompt deliveries to gain a competitive advantage. Companies take this approach to expedite new feature rollouts or updates in the short term. 

However, taking shortcuts to deliver projects faster creates a negative spiral in the long run – better known as technical debt. 

Technical debt is a scenario wherein developers find themselves burdened with the additional work required to fix the problems stemming from poorly implemented solutions or coding. Essentially, it is an accumulated impact of quick fixes.

Organizations facing technical debt have to expend considerable resources to address it. 

Some of the most pressing concerns regarding technical debt include:

  • Limiting an organization’s ability to respond to disruption
  • Affecting the implementation of new technology
  • Preventing the organization getting the right data, to the right people in a timely fashion

So, organizations must implement a solid strategy to reduce technical debt. 

What Causes Technical Debt?

Technical debt arises due to numerous reasons. Business and IT leaders must be aware of the potential signs to know what causes technical debt. 

  • Unrealistic deadlines and business pressures

With poor IT leadership comes unrealistic deadlines and business pressures. When a company’s IT leaders push development teams to release products sooner than the feasible timeline, key considerations can be missed.

Poor code coupled with a lack of process understanding and poor scheduling ultimately leads to high levels of technical debt, forcing developers to rework or rewrite the code later.

  • Poor code quality

Lack of knowledge, alignment with industry standards/frameworks, and poor technical leadership often lead to poor coding practices. When developers lack the knowledge of coding best practices, they fail to write fit-for-purpose code. 

  • Lack of documentation

When the development team focuses on releasing features or updates as quickly as possible (to cater to the rushed deadlines), they often ignore the documentation aspect.

The lack of proper technical documentation about the code and infrastructure represents a technical debt-in-waiting when the developer responsible moves on. 

  • The sudden shift to remote work

Organizations had to make quick decisions during the pandemic to adjust to the volatile market situation. The sudden shift to remote work on a global scale inevitably created a technical debt burden, including security and infrastructure challenges.

For example, the remote working model sped up cloud migrations, significantly impacting enterprise cloud strategies. Consequently, IT teams had to cut corners and take shortcuts to keep businesses afloat, giving rise to more technical debt.

  • Point-to-point integrations 

Typically, enterprises have multiple systems within their infrastructure, including legacy systems, CRM, ERP, SaaS, iPaaS, etc. These systems are highly siloed, so collating all systems’ data to create a holistic view of the target customer becomes challenging.

Companies must integrate all systems if they want a unified view of their business data to offer tailored customer experiences. 

Developer teams often opt for point-to-point integration to meet short-term deadlines, creating 1:1 connections between different systems.

In such integrations, systems are connected via tightly coupled custom coding incapable of adapting to evolving business needs. Untangling these interdependent systems in the future requires further custom coding. Naturally, things get complicated in the long run.   

For instance, if the company wants to replace a specific system or if a team of new developers takes over, they’ll find it extremely difficult to decode point-to-point connections – especially when poorly documented.

This is another source of technical debt that adversely impacts the firm’s current and future goals.

Arguably any business critical solution implemented without a plan for integration is technical debt-in-waiting because it will inevitably need to be integrated with the wider enterprise to keep providing value.

How to Reduce Technical Debt?

Organizations must have a clearly defined strategy and approach to reduce technical debt. Technical debt management is a stepwise process:

Step 1: Identify the sources

The first step to reducing your technical debt is to identify the source. You must regularly monitor internal operations to identify the early signs of technical debt.

The most telltale signs of growing technical debt are reduced team productivity and throughput.

Keep an eye out for the following signs of technical debt:

  • If your overall code coverage percentage and code coverage per feature show a declining trend, it’s a sign of growing technical debt. 
  • An increasing instance of failed CI/CD builds suggests codebase instability relating to both design and code debt.
  • If your IT team identifies more than usual bugs over a short period, it shows that the codebase quality has declined. 
  • While features differ in size, closely monitor the number of days required to roll out a feature. If you see the feature throughput declining within weeks, it indicates a growing technical debt. 
  • If your organization is having to rely on manual processes for tasks such as moving, extracting, or replicating large amounts of data, then the organization is operating inefficiently and exposed to greater risk. In this case, the implemented solutions are not meeting business requirements and need to be integrated with the wider enterprise.

Identifying these early signs makes reducing and avoiding technical debt much easier.

Step 2: Create practical timelines and a robust support system

C-suite executives and IT leaders must address the concern of technical debt upfront. They should have in-depth knowledge of its implications and create realistic budgets and timelines for development operations. 

Instead of pushing developers to work in a time crunch, delivering incomplete features and updates, create a realistic timeline for the development team. Offer them the right tools/solutions, support, and integrations to complete the deliverables correctly while maintaining the highest development standards. 

Additionally, companies can create more time for developers by incorporating solutions that automate manual admin tasks such as data extraction, entry, and transformation.

This allows developers to focus on the complex technical aspects of development. With an automated integration solution, developers are better equipped to reduce the technical debt burden and have more bandwidth for value-adding tasks.

Step 3: Design a well-planned tech implementation and integration strategy

Any business-critical solution – like ServiceNow – that collects business data must inevitably be integrated into the broader organizational framework.

As data volumes grow, manual data migration/transfer approaches between systems expose organizations to increasing levels of risk. From flawed data security to poor data quality, such risks can be financially and reputationally costly. 

This inherent need for systems integration arguably makes business-critical solutions, including ITSM tools, de facto sources of technical debt. Thus, implementing such solutions requires a well-thought-out implementation and integration strategy.

Why implement ITSM and integrations simultaneously?

Many companies may avoid integrating their ITSM solution up-front, leading to issues with technical debt. It is problematic because your teams and service providers need the ability to access data for reporting, maintaining system integrity, and other business use cases. 

When a company takes the standalone implementation approach for its ITSM tool, it has to reimplement the tool while adding integrations.

IT teams must update all processes, rebuild forms, and redo other necessary operations again – following the same steps of the implementation process. To avoid redoing the same work twice, it’s best to implement the ITSM solution and integrations simultaneously.

Naturally, the integration provider rebuilds the integrations and continues expanding their integration spaghetti over time.

Instead of this complex integration approach, it’s best to implement a scalable integration solution that allows you to easily add new integrations to your existing framework.

Also, MSPs with an agile integration solution can serve an extensive customer base and deliver various innovative services. When teams don’t have to constantly rework and rebuild their ITSM implementations and integrations, they can focus on innovating new products/services.

How Perspectium Integrations Help Reduce and Manage Technical Debt

Perspectium offers a complete suite of integration solutions to help you transfer data to the right place at the right time.

You need not worry about maintaining your integrations – it is fully supported and maintained end-to-end by experts at Perspectium.

However, the customer organization still retains ownership of their ServiceNow instance, holding complete control over their data.

If you have already implemented an ITSM tool without considering integration upfront, Perspectium can facilitate seamless integration to maximize the effectiveness of your ITSM implementation.

Our advanced solutions can even optimize your existing tool stack for improved efficiency, reducing the technical debt you’ve already incurred without adding to development rework or costs.

With Perspectium’s automated integration solutions promising high scalability, availability, and throughput, you can easily add new integrations without impacting your ITSM tool’s performance.

Since automated integrations eliminate the need for custom-built code or additional tools, scaling or adding new integrations over time becomes a hassle-free affair.

Perspectium breaks down data and workflow silos through seamless integrations to support teams across the enterprise in working from holistic and unified enterprise data.

The bottom line is that properly planned integrations help reduce technical debt and streamline technical debt management. 

Choosing the Right Integration Approach

Data volume, availability and security are just some of the things to consider when choosing an integration approach. The “right” approach will depend on your particular needs …

Choosing the Right Integration Approach

Choosing the Right Integration Approach

Data volume, availability and security are just some of the things to consider when choosing an integration approach. The “right” approach will depend on your particular needs …

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