There’s been a culture of seeing technology as a standalone subject; murky water that businesses need to dip their toes into. However, it’s often treated as something so separate from the life of the whole organisation that it can cause technical debt.
This debt is created when software has been built to solve one issue that is in the foreground and is seen as an urgent fix. The infrastructure is built around that one problem without considering how it will impact each data point throughout the whole business.
If the architecture is standalone without consideration of future growth and with reduced ability to modify, the danger is that work will need to be carried out on the foundations and like a house, that creates an unstable base to build upon.
Isolation can cause an unrealistic view of the operations. If we consider other business areas, such as finance and marketing, it is always prudent to study what is going on from enquiry to end point and to make decisions based on that. If software implementation was treated as equitably as this, its resonance would be much more keenly felt.
So, how do you avoid being backed into this corner?
1. Take some time to have a full assessment of your software, even if you are largely happy with how each element works
2. Don’t feel rushed into solving one issue at the expense of a stable technical future
3. Process map your entire operations and link the points which have data input or output
4. Understand what APIs are available for any SAAS systems
5. As you would for a marketing plan, build your technology plan and create targets which will illustrate a complete cycle of software activity with no leaks or gaps
Moving the focus away from features of the software to your desired business outcomes will create the right mindset for finding the optimum value in the technology. Aim to link goals for finance, marketing, HR and product or service enhancement to the behaviour of the software. Aligning the stakeholders and leadership team towards the same goal will assist you to maintain awareness of the ongoing economic value and will ensure that each idea, thought or question will return to the consideration of the whole.