Technical Debt: Your Hidden DevOps Nightmare - Part 1
January 16, 2019

Brandon Carroll
TEKsystems Global Services

Technical debt is a phrase that you may have heard once or twice before. For those who haven't, it's typically defined as what results when legacy platforms or highly integrated and dependent systems and processes inhibit large enterprise organizations from meeting the needs of internal business stakeholders. In many cases, the core objectives that drive real, monetizable business value (e.g., customer acquisition, customer retention and new revenue opportunities) are not aligned to the esoteric IT goals of "automation" and "Agile development." This creates a fundamental disconnect between business and IT.

CICD (Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery) and DevOps are mere buzzwords that enterprises are seemingly adopting to address this issue — with mixed results at best. There's a fundamental focus in enterprise IT today on technology-driven solutions to clear technical debt and "automate things." However, enterprise IT often forgets their due diligence in working directly with the business to define the integrated solutions that'll modernize the application portfolio, drive agility and scalability, and increase release velocity — i.e., setting the table to drive out necessary features and functionality to a consumer base faster in a secure, defect-free manner.

To better align business and IT objectives, enterprise organizations should focus on the core "problems" that individual business units face today in driving out real consumer value. Until the roadblocks and inhibitors — and, ultimately, the resultant technical debt — are removed from the equation, large enterprise organizations will continue struggling to succeed in real transformation initiatives.

To better define a potential solution, organizations should first define the "problems" across the affected business units.

The Business Problem

Businesses need to stay competitive by constantly driving new revenue opportunities and improving the customer experience. Delivering new features, functionality and an enhanced user experience is critical for any consumer-facing application. These goals are highly dependent on speed to market, requiring more frequent software releases. This becomes an issue when cumbersome legacy systems and monolithic processes can't deliver necessary technical solutions as quickly as the business demands, negatively affecting the company's ability to compete or introduce new products and solutions into the marketplace.

The Development Problem

Large, monolithic applications are no longer feasible to support the ever-changing market demands of mobility and new feature or functionality delivery. Product and development teams must respond to business requests faster with high-quality deployments. Yet IT organizations are dealing with the underlying dependencies and voluminous integration points with legacy data sets and platforms.

The result? A nightmare scenario where IT becomes the bottleneck to business and development goals. Traditional ways of working on the IT side don't align with the speed-to-market objectives development teams need to meet. While software releases may be "small" as organizations become more agile, they are fraught with risk as QA and security are either forsaken or delay the release of new functionality to consumers that the business demands.

The IT Problem

Enterprise IT organizations are increasingly realizing that they must deliver secure infrastructure at a cadence that meets business and development needs. The inherent technical debt associated with highly dependent, integrated legacy platforms, siloed management structures and antiquated provisioning processes stands in the way of meeting core business objectives.

When underlying platforms and infrastructure have so many dependencies and integration points, configuration management becomes all but impossible in lower-level environments and, ultimately, production environments. This leads to delayed releases and deployments because, like security and QA, they have become production release blockers.

As most enterprise organizations have separate QA and security groups not aligned to the business, development and IT goals, "faster" is the enemy of quality and security, which delays or inhibits the overall business goals.

Read Technical Debt: Your Hidden DevOps Nightmare - Part 2, offering a plan to align business goals with IT solutions.

Brandon Carroll is Director, Transformation, DevOps and Cloud Services, for TEKsystems Global Services
Share this

Industry News

September 23, 2021

Shortcut, the collaborative home for modern software teams, announced new Team-to-Workflow functionality.

September 23, 2021

Portainer announced the launch of its Portainer Business Charmed Operator, allowing for seamless integration with Canonical’s Charmed Kubernetes distribution.

September 22, 2021

Parasoft announced the launch and extension of its static application security testing (SAST) and API testing platform with penetration testing, shifting security testing into developer workflows.

September 22, 2021

Synopsys announced a new partnership with The Chertoff Group, a global advisory services firm that applies security expertise, technology insights, and policy intelligence to help clients build resilient organizations, gain competitive advantage, and accelerate growth.

September 21, 2021

ShiftLeft announced that its unified code security platform, ShiftLeft CORE, is now available on the AWS Marketplace.

September 21, 2021

JFrog announced its JFrog Artifactory and JFrog Xray solutions are now accredited in Iron Bank and available via Platform One.

September 21, 2021

GitKraken acquired BigBrassBand and its popular Git Integration for Jira.

September 20, 2021

D2iQ announced version 2.0 of the D2iQ Kubernetes Platform (DKP).

September 20, 2021

Platform9 joined Intel's Open Retail Initiative (ORI) and launched a new software-defined store solution.

September 20, 2021

FireMon has acquired DisruptOps.

September 16, 2021

SnapLogic released the latest version of its new SnapLogic Flows solution.

September 16, 2021

Postman launched a new version of its API Management platform.

September 16, 2021

Progress announced its R3 2021 release of Progress Telerik and Progress Kendo UI.

September 15, 2021

Progress announced the availability of Progress Sitefinity DX 14.0.

September 15, 2021

Launchable, the intelligence platform layer for all software testing, announced their latest addition to the platform, Flaky Tests Insights (beta).