We hear it so often when it comes to working with clients and their network and infrastructure refresh discussions. “We’re going to wait till next quarter to do that work” or “we’ll wait till it’s broken then well fix”. These have somehow taken root in the executives speak of small to medium businesses with the assumption their IT or technical staff can just ‘flip a switch’ and get everything back online to run a business. I’m unsure if this is based on the prevalence and availability of technology in every aspects of our jobs and personal lives or the perpetuation that the ‘cloud’ is always available and will save a company when they run into trouble. This is not only an error that has monetary consequences it could have dire consequences on your company’s ability to server your clients.
Technology debt is when you “borrow” time to avoid having to pay for software or hardware refresh, upgrades or new equipment now and believe you can tackle that issues at a later date (when it’s broken for example). But inevitably as with any debt when you try to put off your payments there will be interest on that loan, creating liability for your organization.
The key to understanding how this type of ‘do it later mentality’ will affect your ability to run your business is to completely understand what makes your business run. The inevitability of managing or leading an organization is that you are marred down with what the numbers are, where are the clients, are they happy and where are we going to get more/new clients. No one is stopping to think will we be able to serve all these clients with the tools we have today.
There is also a sweeping belief that the only thing important today is social and or network marketing. While I completely understand the need to allocated wisely budgets for marketing and growing a business I do not understand organizations who in tandem do not accept that the whole basis for their ability to market effectively is around their technological capabilities. They live together as one …a happy marriage.
If you own the business and you don’t know the condition of that foundation you are running today you are in serious jeopardy of letting that foundation crumble when you least expect it. I also put responsibility on the technical staff of an organization. There is a sense that if you push back on management to demand what you need you’ll somehow be on the streets looking for a new job. That may be the case in some scenarios but do you really want to be around when that foundation crumbles and your left holding the pieces, and what will it cost you long term
Jennifer Smith, PEI