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Insufficiently integrated software leads to sky-high hidden IT costs

Some companies still primarily see IT as a cost item. Because if you spend many thousands of Euros each month on your IT solution, then you expect efficient business processes and satisfied users. However, this is seldom the reality. The money is often spent on maintaining insufficiently integrated software. The result? Inefficiency, dissatisfaction and high hidden IT costs.

I think that at some time everyone has been frustrated about the IT facilities of their employer. The software used does not meet the requirements, modern cloud solutions are not allowed, and the negative spiral is complete if there is no budget for modernization.

In such circumstances the so-called ‘technology debt’ continues to increase. You spend vast sums of money on maintaining an IT landscape with which nobody is satisfied, and that furthermore results in an extremely labor intensive and inefficient business process. In short: the IT budget is wasted and there is nothing left over for modernization and innovation. Change is then absolutely essential, because without change your company will be irrevocably overtaken by the competition. Gartner stated for 2015 that the technology debt of companies worldwide amounts to no less than 1 trillion dollars. An enormous sum that illustrates the extent of this problem.

Escape from Excel & Access

At companies where no initiatives are taken to modernize the IT environment, employees often take matters into their own hands. To compensate for the poor (or nonexistent) integrated systems they start working with Excel, Access or all kinds of peripheral applications, and subsequently develop their own emergency solutions. Empirical studies show that between 50 and 80 percent of all companies worldwide still make use of stand-alone spreadsheets for business critical applications. These self-built solutions create all kinds of problems and restrictions. In addition, they require that the data from the source systems has to be exported and transformed into the correct format in Excel, Access or other peripheral applications. This is a mainly a manual process, which costs a lot of time, results in errors, and furthermore the data has to be re-entered several times, which often leads to data inconsistency and corrupt data. Apart from this, it is also unsafe to handle business data in this manner. These emergency solutions may indeed slightly improve the process, but they also lead to new problems. This results in more manual work, multiple copies of data, and it increases the complexity and the error sensitivity of the process. The only way to escape from this situation is to completely focus on the integration of your business processes. But how do you do that as efficiently as possible?

A Low-Code foundation

In my opinion, the best way to resolve the technology debt of companies is by replacing the legacy-software and investing in a modern low-code software platform. This is a sustainable solution that will become not either technically nor functionally outdated. With such a foundation it is possible to build customized business applications, without any programming being necessary. In addition, with low-code it is not necessary change the entire business process in one large big-bang project. It is even advisable to start on a small scale. For example, with a specific process, the one where the largest pain/inefficiency is felt by the organization. It will then be quite easy to make a valid business case for investment in a low-code platform. And after that first process has been dealt with, then over time more and more processes and applications can be modeled in the low-code platform. This allows you to gradually re-engineer and modernize the business applications in a manageable and efficient manner, with a low impact on the organization. Furthermore, the main benefit is that all applications are built within one integrated environment, so that by definition you avoid the inefficiency of the former situation, and the business software can grow with the company without any problems. This smart way of developing business software also provides flexibility. This is because, even though a lot of business software appears to be very flexible, in reality it isn’t. This applies equally for traditional customization as for packaged software. The integration of new technology in a low-code platform, changes in your business process or satisfying new legislation suddenly becomes an attainable objective in this new situation. Low-code software not only allows you to pay off your technology debt, but you are truly ready for the future.