Tech Trends: Tech Debt – What’s the True Cost of Your Outdated Technology?

Jan 14, 2020

Tech debt? What exactly is “tech debt?” Contrary to the name, it has nothing to do with loans or credit. Tech debt is simply an organization’s cumulative and ongoing investments to maintain legacy, and often outdated, software, hardware and systems. To a CFO, utilizing existing systems and patching together IT framework may keep IT budgets down; however, there are additional costs that are more than just a line item on a budget. It is not uncommon for organizations to spend time and resources propping up 15-year-old servers, solely to support 12-year-old software. Unlike most financial debt that has a defined term with predictable payments, outdated technology costs compound year-over-year and those costs manifest in several ways—many times with no end in sight. Holding on to aging software, hardware and systems presents issues beyond slow computers—companies could face security risks, increased maintenance costs and lower employee and customer satisfaction.

Security Risks
According to a study by Avast, 60 percent of Microsoft users are running outdated Windows installations, and many are receiving reduced or no support for their operating systems. Running outdated operating systems leaves companies extremely vulnerable—unsupported operating systems are a hacker’s dream.

As of January 14, 2020, Microsoft stopped providing security updates and technical support for computers running on Windows 7. Presently, 79 percent of organizations still have at least one Windows 7 system on their network, according to SpiceWorks. What does that mean? Risk.

A proper software, hardware and system lifecycle and refresh plan can aid in proper IT budget planning, and mitigating risk presented by outdated IT assets. Obsolescence opens the door to a real risk for companies.

Inconsistent IT Investments
Technology purchases are not much different than other procurement processes. Without a clear plan in place, a company may face unforeseen costs and unnecessary logistical headaches. While the desire to cut costs by preserving existing tech may initially provide the desired savings, it can steer an organization down a path of inconsistent IT harmony and a long-term expense trajectory. Creating a clear investment and upgrade plan allows for system refreshes, employee training and implementation on an established schedule. With the availability of flexible subscription-based as-a-service offerings and leases, creating a clear IT investment schedule is easier than ever.

Employee Satisfaction
In a global study commissioned by Lenovo, it found that 41 percent of employees cite that they are missing key technology tools for flexible working, and 38 percent of employees stated that technology issues are a major distraction at work, i.e. long loading times and slow file transfers. As mobile and remote work become more commonplace, updated and operation technology is shifting from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘need to have.’

DLL’s dedicated Tech Solutions business unit specializes in flexible IT payment programs and lifecycle asset management strategies that can help to minimize tech debt and reduce unnecessary IT expense spikes, all while creating a better future for an organization. Want to learn more about how DLL can support your IT investment strategy? Click here to contact us today!