Tech Debt: What it is and how to avoid it

Jenna Trott

5 min read | JANUARY 17, 2023

Tech Debt: What it is and how to avoid it
So, you made the decision to invest in a technology solution to simplify your work, and everything was going great at the start but now you’re experiencing cumbersome business processes, company-wide inefficiencies, and are just shy of full-blown operational chaos. If you’re finding yourself experiencing any of these issues, you may be suffering from technical debt. The reality is, tech is here to stay and as our world continues to technologically evolve, more businesses will find themselves in tech debt – but what exactly is that? And how can it be prevented?
What is Tech Debt?

When you first decided to invest in a new tech solution, it’s likely that you did so in an attempt to remedy a pre-existing problem or inefficiency on an incredibly rushed timeline, as the problem was immediate and needed to be done. And if we had to take a guess, it’d be that it did correct the challenges you were facing. Unfortunately, many businesses select solutions that are reactionary – meaning that they experience a very specific and immediate problem that’s remedied with a short term solution, otherwise known as “Band-aid solutions.” While this solution works great for a short period of time, it often masks a deeper, more elemental problem within the organization. Thus, the company is pushed into procuring additional costs from reworking the tech solution that was the easiest and fastest method but limited in its abilities, rather than selecting a perhaps more vigorous, perhaps more time consuming, implementation method that would have produced a more sustainable, long-term solution.

Causes of Salesforce Tech Debt

Salesforce is an excellent solution for so many companies of varying sizes and industries, which is why it is so widely implemented and integrated. However, it can become inevitable to succumb to technical debt due to its robust capabilities and frequently updated features. Customized solutions that were once built to function in a specific way may no longer be practical as business needs and Salesforce capabilities evolve. Other causes of Salesforce debt include:

  • Salesforce retiring functionalities (think: Salesforce Flows, which replaced builders/workflow rules, or the shift to Lightning).
  • When a company no longer needs a certain customization, but leaves it alone as it’s “working just fine”, thereby resulting in inefficiencies.
  • Taking shortcuts in the initial implementation/integration process in order to meet immediate needs and/or a compressed timeline.
Paying the Price of Tech Debt

Like with any form of debt, it starts small but can accumulate into a big problem. Worst case scenario would be to scrap your entire tech investment, be it Salesforce or not, and start from square one again. Ultimately, this would completely disrupt your business, resulting in unprecedented setbacks on project timelines, procuring additional costs to manage delays in projects, user inefficiencies and operational dysfunctions, and even cause the company to halt business proceedings until a more functional solution is implemented. The goal is to avoid this altogether, but even if you’re beginning to feel the symptoms of outdated or incompatible tech, it’s better to start paying your debt now than years down the line. Consider the recent blunder by Southwest Airlines, where an overreliance on outdated and “rickety” technology ultimately crippled their operations and their reputation. Now, in addition to spending unforeseeable costs on investing in a new tech infrastructure, they’re inevitably going to have to pay the price of unhappy travelers’ incurred expenses as well.

Start Taking Control of Your Tech Debt

Anything with “debt” in it sounds scary, but particularly so when the future of your business is seemingly on the line. But the good news is that it can be overcome with frequent discussions, planning and budgeting. Begin by assessing current business processes. What do you feel is working well? What processes have you found to become too involved and cumbersome? Meet with your customers/users and employees, who often feel first hand the effects of tech debt. If you’re currently using Salesforce but are finding it difficult to stay ahead of new releases and feature changes, we highly recommend looking into hiring a Salesforce professional who is experienced with doing custom system solutions. Otherwise it can become much like building a home with no blueprint: riddled with errors and susceptible to collapse. This can be avoided with the help of a Salesforce Managed Services professional; which offers simple, cost-effective, and customizable support options that align with your short to long-term business needs. This would not only enable your team to grow your business upon a strong foundation, but it would also allow you to focus less on maintaining system momentum to avoid tech debt, and more on serving your customers and clients.

Success Starts Here

Don’t go it alone. Our team of certified experts know Salesforce inside and out. This means that when they come to you, no stone is left unturned and they’re able to solve any conflict with agility and accuracy. Regardless of where you are in the digital transformation journey, Access Global Group will provide customized solutions that align with your goals so you can focus on not only reaching them, but going far beyond what you thought was possible.

Our unique project methodology of customer centricity allows us to provide intuitive solutions that are acutely catered to your organization’s needs. And as your premier Summit Salesforce Partners and Consulting Services/Managed Services experts with over 15 years in the industry, we’ll use our technical expertise to meet your unique needs and generate real change within your organization.

Don’t take our word for it – hear what our customers have to say on G2 and the Salesforce AppExchange!

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