Agencies grappling with tech debt amid digital push

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Public sector agencies are facing rising levels of tech debt as they seek to build new applications on legacy IT architecture, according to Pure Storage.

Agencies’ investments in digital transformation are being threatened by this growing tech debt, which is also impacting organisational performance and increasing cyber risk, the company said.

A recent McKinsey survey found that tech debt currently accounts for 40% of IT balance sheets for both public and private sector organisations.

Pure Storage VP and CTO for APAC and Japan Mark Jobbins said attempting to build digital transformation on a legacy IT architecture foundation risks creating an expensive and difficult-to-maintain IT infrastructure.

“Some tech debt is unavoidable because it is a cost of doing business as part of the transition from old to new technology. However, too much tech debt has severe financial, operational and security implications for businesses,” he said.

“Just like financial debt, organisations cannot afford to sustain tech debt in the long term. It is a critical business issue rather than purely a technology problem. As such, tech debt must be addressed in terms of its broader organisational impacts over the longer term.”

Jobbins said there are ways for organisations to cost-effectively reduce tech debt by adopting infrastructure-as-a-service and software-as-a-service solutions.

“This approach lets businesses scale and adapt to market changes with minimal risk. However, to achieve this, the infrastructure involved must be flexible and not locked into legacy technology,” he said.

“The senior leadership team must be involved as part of this process and should consider a risk-based approach for the business as a whole when it comes to technology investments.”

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