Reducing Technical Debt from Rapid Cloud Adoption

The pandemic dramatically accelerated digital transformation. Most businesses embarked on handing their applications and data over to the cloud. These businesses can buy an “evergreen” service, and they no longer need to grapple with the costs of infrastructure upgrades. While this cloud adoption delivers real business change, it has brought about a new type of technical debt.

Simply put, this cloud boom has brought about additional costs, especially regarding the rework brought about by choosing an easier solution. Both mature and newer cloud users have to make architectural and technology choices that are tactical and costly to roll back as they now have to manage account structures and VPC networks. There’s also the risk of using older and costlier cloud resources. Moreover, there’s the risk of ending up with cloud tooling that gets quickly dated. Overall, unbridled technical debt has the potential to halt digital transformation.

Here’s a breakdown of ways your enterprise can reduce technical debt from rapid cloud adoption.

Identify Your Technical Debt 

Oftentimes, companies will incur technical debt without recognizing it. This lack of foresight results in your business gathering overwhelming technical debt. You want to start by clearly assessing your current environment. This should help you identify the workloads beset by technical debt. Overall, the sooner you identify your technical debt, the more likely you are to avoid even greater issues resulting from the technical debt.

Consider Consolidating Your Security Tools 

Managing security tools as you embark on cloud migration is integral. Unfortunately, we see most technical teams try to juggle different security tools for the different parts of their architecture. This is counterintuitive, especially when it comes to technical security debt. Consider adopting a toolset that better equips your team to monitor and manage the security issues across your on-premise and cloud-based environment.

Determine Your Level of Adoption

Your level of cloud adoption will determine the strategy you employ to settle your technical debt. Once you determine your level of adoption, you can then decide whether you need to replace your entire system. This comes in particularly handy in a situation whereby you’ve got legacy systems, as these are overly complex. The issues within these systems cannot simply be resolved by applying patches or nitpicking on particular issues. Overall, while replacing the entire system might be time-consuming and costly, it is an effective means of significantly reducing existing technical debt. Moreover, after having determined your level of adoption, you want to try to refactor in stages. You want to focus on each sprint which consequently reduces it. While it might be expensive, it will pay off in the long run.

Repay Your Technical Debt More Regularly 

Right off the gate, it is prudent to mention that paying off your technical debt on a regular basis is the surest way to mitigate it. The technical leaders within the different departments should collaborate to ensure that the assessment is incorporated into the different agendas. You can then plan repair sprints as needed. Note that it is not financially sound to tackle it at a go. As such, you’ve got to prioritize the top risks and address these first.

Pre-establish Your Future State 

You want to, beforehand, define your future state’s technical environment. If you fail to do so, you risk a situation where you create greater technical debt as you migrate to the cloud. By identifying your needs beforehand, you are better placed to avoid the impact of it.

Plan Reasonable Migrations 

The easiest way for you to accumulate technical debt is by migrating a lot of your resources in too short a timeframe. You want to bring in consultants to help you develop a roadmap for the migration. That way, you can ensure that your expectations when it comes to migration align with a reasonable timeline. A businessman preparing for a business meeting with sticky notes on the transparent board in his office.

Align Technical Debt Prioritization with Business Objectives 

A primary source of technical debt is often business forces. As such, the management should be built on the business’s values and priorities. Unfortunately, there’s constant tension between technical and business perspectives.  To combat this, you want to proactively optimize your architecture for business purposes. It would be best if you were ruthless in how you used the cloud platform and place a higher threshold on the offerings.

Expect the Need for Refresh 

You ought to be aware that you are expected to carry out a continuous clean-up exercise. Consider revisiting, simplifying and optimizing your cloud deployment on the regular.

Final Thoughts 

The pandemic accelerated the adoption of the cloud. The consequence has been amplified technical debt, which slows down both migration and core business processes. This seems to exacerbate a situation where most businesses are already overspending to meet cloud migration deadlines. In hindsight, the latter is the poster child for incurring it moving forward. Overall, it would seem that in a bid to stay abreast with the cloud boom, most businesses currently have inconsistent strategies and are involved in significant missteps that bring about greater technical debt.

As for what’s needed to address it, there are largely two approaches. The first is to identify the existing applications and equipment that are consuming significant resources just to keep them up and running. This requires that you critically examine legacy devices and systems and consider modernizing or replacing these. The other set of strategies involve proactively embarking on strategies that prevent technical debt in the first place. Consider, for instance, hiring support staff with advanced skill sets in cloud technology. By having these professionals on board, you streamline your cloud strategy and have support in place to help understand the risks and potential value. Overall, the goal is to have your organization be resilient and well-positioned to leverage technical debt positively. The consequence is that your business becomes more agile and responsive to your customers, employees, and prevailing market conditions.

Agile IT has been migrating, securing and managing cloud environments for nearly two decades. We invite you to get in touch with us today as we can help identify misconfigurations and security gaps and help maximize your Microsoft cloud investment with services you are already paying for with your Microsoft Licensing.

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