Application Development and Maintenance

Understanding the impact of technical debt

This CAI infographic highlights some of the most notable ways technical debt can impact an organization.

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The effects of rapid digitization

In the age of technology saturation and digital-first, companies are beginning to feel the impact of rapid digital transformation. In many cases, the impact is positive and seen in improved efficiency and productivity. However, there are also negative effects that must be tackled head-on, such as the rapid accrual of technical debt.

Technical debt is what happens after making software development or implementation decisions that prioritize speed over quality. Much like financial debt, technical debt requires paying off, but it can be much more complicated and time-consuming than making monthly “payments.”

The infographic below highlights some of the most notable ways technical debt can impact an organization.

500+

applications and services will be developed and deployed using cloud in 20231

58%

of organizations don’t have a strategy to tackle technical debt2

78% of organizations

have accrued more technical debt than ever before as a result of the pandemic and rapid digitization3

Recent events have caused a monumental push for companies to embrace digital transformation and rapidly digitize what were once in-person processes. For some, that meant they adopted new tools and systems well before the infrastructure was in place to properly implement them.

69%

of companies admit that technical debt has caused their digital transformation initiatives to slow down4

70%

of CIOs report feeling daunted by post-COVID 19 technical debt5

23% of developers’

daily work time is wasted due to technical debt6

When organizations are focused on paying off technical debt—patching, fixing broken code, documentation—they can’t move as quickly, which can hamstring an organization. Reactionary work, like the work technical debt creates, typically results in much longer completion cycles compared to forward progress.

52%

of developers believe their biggest hindrance is the maintenance of legacy systems and technical debt7

23%

the average technical debt for cloud management8

76% of developers

report the negative impact of technical debt on their morale9

When teams are focused primarily on identifying and fixing existing issues, it leaves little room to focus on improvements, updates, and future project phases. Constantly looking backward instead of innovating leaves organizations less adaptable and behind in the market, which has proven to be detrimental in today’s hyper-digital environment.

Strategically planning for technical debt can be the difference between playing catch-up and innovating for the future. To learn more about technical debt and its impact on your organization, read our white paper here.

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Endnotes

  1. "IDC FutureScape Outlines the Impact 'Digital Supremacy' Will Have on Enterprise Transformation and the IT Industry." Business Wire. October 29, 2019. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191029005144/en/IDC-FutureScape-Outlines-the-Impact-Digital-Supremacy-Will-Have-on-Enterprise-Transformation-and-the-IT-Industry.
  2. "78% of organizations have accrued more technical debt during the pandemic, says new Software AG Research." Software AG News Center. January 19, 2022. https://newscenter.softwareag.com/en/news-stories/press-releases/2022/0119_technical-debt-reality-check.html.
  3. "78% of organizations have accrued more technical debt during the pandemic, says new Software AG Research." Software AG News Center. January 19, 2022. https://newscenter.softwareag.com/en/news-stories/press-releases/2022/0119_technical-debt-reality-check.html.
  4. "78% of organizations have accrued more technical debt during the pandemic, says new Software AG Research." Software AG News Center. January 19, 2022. https://newscenter.softwareag.com/en/news-stories/press-releases/2022/0119_technical-debt-reality-check.html.
  5. Villars, Rick, et al. 2020. “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide IT Industry 2021 Predictions.” IDC: The Premier Global Market Intelligence Company. IDC Corporate. October 2020. https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=US46942020.
  6. Besker, Terese, Bosch, Jan, Martini, Antonio. "Technical Debt Cripples Software Developer Productivity - A longitudinal study on developers' daily software development work." ResearchGate. May 2018. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325790190_Technical_Debt_Cripples_Software_Developer_Productivity_-_A_longitudinal_study_on_developers'_daily_software_development_work.
  7. "The Developer Coefficient." Stripe. September 2018. https://stripe.com/files/reports/the-developer-coefficient.pdf.
  8. “Flexera 2022 State of the Cloud Report.” Flexera. 2022. https://path.flexera.com/cm/report-state-of-the-#page=1.
  9. "The Developer Coefficient." Stripe. September 2018. https://stripe.com/files/reports/the-developer-coefficient.pdf.

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