The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Technical debt and the coming year

technical debt.pngRecently there was a post in ComputerWeekly stating that Banks still handicapped by IT legacy, where they provided their findings about European financial institutions:

  • “75% are still using outdated core banking systems, affecting their ability to accelerate growth.
  • 80% said that outdated core banking systems were causing them to struggle to bring new products to market quickly.
  • 75% face difficulties getting access to timely data, and close to two-thirds feel that existing systems do not support regulatory change.
  • 55% are focusing on increasing wallet share within the existing client base, with only 20% trying to achieve growth through new customer acquisition.
  • 79% said that the complexity of IT, combined with insufficient expertise within the business, was a major barrier to core system replacement.”

This concept of technical debt has been talked about for about as long as I can remember. Its focus is that we are constrained by the systems in production. These systems can constrain us in multiple ways:

1)      They consumes funds for maintainance that could be applied to new investments

2)      The codified models may not align to the business needs of today, so they limit our flexibility to respond to shifts and they may even limit our ability to see the shift at all

3)      They constrain the workforce as well, since eventually the skills needed may no longer be readily available in the marketplace.


That’s one reason why organizations need both a strategic view of the alignment of the business, technology and investment through an enterprise architecture as well as a more tactical view through the application portfolio assessment. If they haven’t already, organizations should plan to measure technical debt in 2013 and plan for how to use this reality to their advantage. This can be especially important as organizations plan on implementing cloud, big data and other newer techniques.


In technology, today’s investment is tomorrow’s debt – plan on it.

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