Imagine you have moved into a new house from the Victorian Era. Prior to any repairs, you spend the first month moving in and getting settled. You can upgrade later, surely. Everything still works perfectly fine. At the end of the month, you’re faced with an astronomical electric and heating bill.
Perhaps you’ve never faced this situation in your home, but you can imagine the hidden cost it would incur. While you might not feel a loss in your modern living room, you may be experiencing losses in your business. This is the reality of technical debt.
Technical debt is the hidden cost of inefficient software in your business. Many tech systems require complex systems to work, but they can only work if those systems are well-designed. The crux of technical debt is cruft, the drafty windows of your technical systems. Any code that is badly designed or unnecessarily complex can be considered cruft and affects performance on a holistic level. Systems moving through this confusing code exert more effort, and any software changes take more time, incurring a sort of technical debt.
Cruft and technical debt in general come in two distinct variations, but both cost a business greatly if not quickly eliminated. The first is intentional, a temporary debt usually caused by pushing software quickly to market to get ahead or obtain easy feedback. While temporary, this debt can be ignored in the face of other responsibilities in an organization, and quickly pile up to create a bigger problem that takes much longer to fix.
The second type is more insidious, unintentional debt. This is rooted in deeper organizational problems in a tech team, like poor management or inexperienced software developers. Especially if caused by management, unintentional debt can trickle down into other parts of a company and require serious overhauls or restructuring.
A prime example of technical debt crippling a company is Frankenstein code. This type of code base can be worked on for years on and off, often by many different people. With the code constantly trading hands and patches being added, it loses cleanliness. Since a code base is a foundation for everything built on top of it, Frankenstein code can make it much harder to update software or create creative software innovations. Expanding the house metaphor, it’s difficult to remodel a kitchen if your house’s foundation is near collapse. There’s a name for the art of clean base code in the technology industry — software architecture.
Technical debt saps resources. Either type of debt can divert manpower, money, and time from bigger product launches or innovation. It also saps effectiveness. If technical debt continues, it can slow down other processes. Eventually, the level of cruft in code can be so high it can significantly affect an organization’s output rate.
Much of cruft and technical debt may be hidden in an unexpected place— across the ocean. Because it is easier and often more cost-effective to outsource software, especially compared to making proprietary systems, substandard software and hardware are practically ubiquitous. Even with higher overhead upfront, BlackPearl Technology produces our Interceptor line of products at our manufacturing facility in Bromont, Canada. We hold ourselves to a high standard of quality with an industrial-grade SBC and all its modules. No software, no matter how well designed, can function without a hardware foundation.
When a hardware is well designed, it’s still necessary to have good software architecture. A clean base can seriously upgrade a whole system’s performance. Outsourcing overseas is an option, but as we’ve touched upon, it may yield unsatisfactory results. Right here in North America, our sister company BlackPearl offers software development services. Our super-qualified team can deliver all your software needs, creating a clean framework that can be easily built off. Everything in your software can be streamlined using BlackPearl services, leaving you to work on the things that matter most— innovation and output.
Learn more about BlackPearl’s battery of services here: https://blackpearltechnology.com.