The burden of technical debt caused by Covid-19

Technical debt accumulated during the Covid-19 pandemic looks set to shadow CIOs for a number of years.

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According to analysts at Gartner, technical debt ­– which is often created when speed of delivery is prioritised over implementing the most suitable tech solution – will shadow CIOs through to 2023, causing financial stress, hobbling their ability to recover and forcing cloud migrations.

Responding to the pandemic

Some challenges you choose and some are chosen for you says Joe Pucciarelli, IDC group vice president and IT executive advisor. He notes that when the pandemic caused lockdowns around the globe, IT leaders had no choice but to make command decisions that led to a growth in technical debt.

Tough decisions had to be made ­ – and quickly – but they were made with an understanding of the consequences, and were explained to everybody involved. “It’s not like the CIOs went into the back room and made all these clandestine decisions, it was quite the opposite,” says Pucciarelli. “All the executives sat at the table and had frank and candid conversations around how to keep their business intact. They said the devil with the details, we have to keep functioning, so let’s do what we need to do right now and we’ll fix it later.”

Almost overnight they had to find a way to ensure that employees could work remotely; providing new equipment or enabling access to corporate systems from people’s personal devices. The latter, for example, accelerated the need for new ways for end point devices to connect to core systems in a secure and reliable way.

“I applaud them for making those command decisions, but more than half of organisations we surveyed said they struggled with their response to the pandemic. They really had to stretch in order to achieve their objective of keeping employees online,” Pucciarelli says.

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