Organizations face intense pressure to keep themselves at the leading edge of IT capabilities. Sometimes, however, the need for fast technology solutions forces them to make short-term programming and systems-architecture decisions. In doing so, they accrue and compound an invisible technical debt — the price they will one day need to pay to make it right.
As IT software and infrastructure age, and as more features are added to legacy systems, technical debt grows and puts additional fixed operating costs on the company, diverting precious investment in innovation and new capabilities. Over time, the challenge of connecting and updating these systems becomes overwhelming for IT teams, and undertaking strategic digital transformations as an organization becomes even more difficult.
Companies seeking to expand their businesses across the globe may find themselves hindered by an untenable IT environment — a patchwork of hundreds of different systems that slow collaboration and make it difficult to scale innovation.
From Technical Conundrum to C-Suite Challenge
How serious is the problem? The entire C-suite, including the CEO, now recognizes technical debt as not just a technical problem but an obstacle to progress on many fronts. According to an Accenture survey of more than 1,000 C-level executives, evenly split between IT and non-IT leaders, a significant majority say technical debt severely limits their IT function’s ability to innovate (70%), greatly limits their ability to migrate to new technologies (72%), and makes their IT function much less responsive to changes in the market (69%).
To make matters worse, there are no easy solutions to this problem, and indecision abounds. Some 67% of executives we surveyed said they would like to replace all of their core legacy systems. But 70% would like to keep their existing core systems as long as possible — and 50% wish they could have the best of both worlds. In other words, what leaders really want most is to enjoy all the benefits of new information technologies, such as being able to adapt quickly to new situations, while keeping their legacy systems humming.
Fortunately, there is a way for established companies to have the best of both worlds — and create a scalable, flexible, and resilient enterprise IT architecture. This solution is called “digital decoupling.”
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To Get Out of Debt, Decouple
Think about your older systems.