Technical Debt: Is it the Biggest Hurdle to Innovation for Enterprises?

Technical Debt: Is it the Biggest Hurdle to Innovation for Enterprises?

As technical debt continues to grow, it is up to IT leaders to find ways that can enable them to reduce it while advancing their innovation efforts.

The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the revenue and infrastructure of enterprises. Even though digital transformation was enabling them to keep their businesses afloat, it came at a hefty cost in terms of technical debt. Now, as enterprises look forward to integrating innovative solutions into their infrastructure, they are confronted with the challenging issue of rising technical debt. In fact, according to a recent report from OutSystems – ‘The Growing Threat of Technical Debt’ – based on a global survey of 500 IT leaders, 69% of them view technical debt as the biggest obstacle to the progress of their organization.

With the pandemic revealing vulnerabilities in the infrastructure of enterprises across the globe, the survey from the OutSystems studies the cost of technical debt facing enterprises across industries and geographies.

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“As companies across industries are striving to remain competitive, debt is robbing their organizations of resources, time, and the ability to innovate,” said Paulo Rosado, CEO and Founder of OutSystems in a conversation with EnterpriseTalk. He further adds, “Our research and experience shows this is a problem that will only continue to compound, unless businesses embrace new approaches to combat the effects of technical debt.”

With enterprises attempting to rebuild themselves following the challenges of 2020, debt has become a major obstacle to recovery and innovation, particularly for those focused on growth.

Technical debt has emerged across all industries due to the development of solutions that are implemented quickly to enhance speed rather than optimizing for the future. The OutSystems report highlights the challenges enterprises experience in addressing the factors that contribute to debt, such as constant change in the marketplace, pressure to meet deadlines, and outdated technology.

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Some of the key findings of the report are:

  • Technical debt, according to the majority of IT leaders (69%), is a fundamental constraint on their ability to innovate, with 61% admitting it has a detrimental effect on their company’s performance and 64% believing it would continue to have a negative impact in the future.
  • Businesses of all sizes across all industries pay a massive opportunity cost when they divert money, time and other resources away from innovation and toward debt. Today, 41% of enterprises spend approximately one-third of their IT budget addressing technical debt.
  • As per IT leaders, there is no single factor that is responsible for this massive technical debt. They agree that too many development languages/frameworks (52%), accepting known defects to meet release deadlines (43%) and turnover within the development team (49%), as major factors hampering the innovation of the company. Moreover, organizations continue to delay addressing debt, further exacerbating the issue. Only about 20% of enterprises agree that they are able to address tech debt issues at the moment, while 36% report they’ll be able to manage it in the future.

The immediate step that enterprises can take is to partner with vendors that can streamline their financial transactions. They can help organizations to eliminate technical debt in a seamless manner while also empowering them to focus their efforts and resources on innovation in a meaningful way.

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Vishal Muktewar is a Senior Correspondent at On Dot Media. He reports news that focuses on the latest trends and innovations happening in the B2B industry. An IT engineer by profession, Vishal has worked at Insights Success before joining Ondot. His love for stories has driven him to take up a career in enterprise journalism. He effectively uses his knowledge of technology and flair for writing, for crafting features, articles and interactions for technology enterprise media platforms.