5 Ways for CIOs to Overcome Technical Debt

November 19, 2018 Myles Suer

Businessman facing a big stone wall

The job of the CIO has changed. No longer are CIOs simply asked to be trusted operators who provide commoditized services to the business.

Digital competency is now broadly recognized as core to business success. As a result, CIOs are being asked to work as trailblazers and change agents. They need to partner with other senior executives to guide organizations through digital transformations to new markets, new business models and new levels of success.

CIOs have always been tech savvy. Now they’re asked to be business savvy. They need to be fluent in translating the value of technologies for the business — whatever that might help the organization steal a step on competitors — or even better, leave them in the dust.

But CIO’s face a serious challenge in this new role. They need to overcome technical debt.

Join us Wednesday, November 28 for a Boomi Webinar, “How CIOs Can Drive Digital Transformation in Their Organizations.” Hear first-hand from CIO consultant and author Isaac Sacolick. Learn his insights about the changing role for CIOs.

Technical debt, as one CIO in the #CIOChat put it, is “the conglomeration of bad design, bad code and corner-cutting that accrued over the years so we could get something out the door.”

IT organizations are often asked to “get it done.” Technical debt is what accumulates when “it’s done” by the most convenient means possible with minimal planning, little efficiency and little reproducibility.

That might have been expedient at the time, but overcoming technical debt to move forward with digital innovation consumes budgets, time, attention and labor.

It’s hard to pounce on a new opportunity when you’re mired in a tangle of old code connecting your mission-critical applications together.

Clearing Technical Debt to Make Way for Digital Transformation

To succeed in their new role as innovators and visionaries, CIOs need to tackle technical debt. This debt takes many forms.

Brittle, point-to-point integrations

Too many organizations have built too many integrations with custom, point-to-point code. These integrations are rarely reusable. Connections were built as “one-offs,” and now those ad hoc efforts require a small army of developers and QA testers to keep them going.

A lack of data governance

Those custom, point-to-point connections make it difficult to ensure data quality. Is data consistent across applications and business types? Has the organization identified which application or data repository should serve as the “golden record” for each data type? It’s difficult, if not impossible, to implement new business models, launch new products and transform an organization if critical data is inconsistent or missing.

An incomplete and inconsistent view

Business leaders can’t seize opportunities if they don’t understand them. Agility and transformation require data and data analytics. Data must be able to flow quickly and easily to whoever needs it. Business executives and technology leaders need a complete, up-to-date view of customers, products and other key aspects of the organization’s business.

Poor capabilities for sharing data

Technical debt often creates data silos and leaves an IT organization without any time or resources for opening those silos — not only to internal applications but also to applications used by trusted external users such as partners and customers. Enterprises have difficulty serving customers and collaborating with partners without fast, efficient data sharing.

Limited, cumbersome workflow automation

Workflow automation used to require extensive amounts of custom programming to implement business logic and move data from one application to another. Today, organizations can’t afford not to automate workflows. But they can’t rely on custom code for doing so.

It’s urgent that CIOs address these issues. The organizations that fail to innovate will find themselves outpaced by competitors. An organization’s success — and, in some cases, its economic survival — depend on its ability to innovate and successfully undertake digital transformation.

Learn More About Overcoming Technical Debt

Learn more about the challenges of technical debt and how to guide successful transformation initiatives in your company. Read our executive brief, “Conquering Technical Debt: 5 Ways CIOs Can Drive Digital Transformation.”

About the Author

Myles Suer is Dell Boomi's enterprise marketing manager.

More Content by Myles Suer
Previous Article
Integration Is the Foundation for Modernizing Aged Care in Australia
Integration Is the Foundation for Modernizing Aged Care in Australia

Care providers for the elderly face common challenges in digitizing their organizations. Tight budgets and ...

Next Article
To Lead Digital Transformation, CIOs Need Data Governance and Agile Development
To Lead Digital Transformation, CIOs Need Data Governance and Agile Development

Gone are the days of the CIO as an order taker. The CIO now sits at the center of organizational transforma...