Written on 18th May 2022 - 2 minutes

Technical Debt within the retail sector: how to identify and solve 

Technical Debt within the retail sector - blog cover

The retail sector is known for its fast pace and swift transformations with constant pressures from competitors making sure you are keeping up-to-date with online demand. This forces IT fixes to be quick solutions rather than looking at a long-term digital transformation plan. Alongside this, the speed of technology is continuing to increase and this can cause organisations to fall behind preventing business growth. 

Many retailers accumulate tech debt in the name of speed or growth, ending up with a random set of tools that may solve one problem but in turn, open the door to multiple other problems. We previously explored technical debt and how it can manifest in multiple ways and provided a technical debt checklist. 

Technical debt within the retail sector has increased due to consumers substantially changing their behaviour and expectations. The catalyst here is consumers’ expectations. With an increase of retail transactions successfully performed online, lack of demand is contributing to the death of the high street. The positive is that online shopping actually eases the journey to address and tackle technical debt by enabling us to pay better attention to how data is coming through a business whilst improving the customer experience. 

The key to reducing technical debt is creating a retail protection plan that is based on the functions and needs while accounting for the business’s current and future plans. The most serious problem with technical debt is using legacy software which creates problems with security and any future updates. It’s important to visualise workflows and see how the business needs to move forward for both today and the future while continuing to look for solutions that work to implement and enhance departments. 


Technical Debt in retail

Examples of technical debt across the retail sector: 


  • Not having a correct reporting solution so departments are relying on analysts to extract data from operational systems and manually create reports. This will incur operational costs to support and impact effective decision-making. 
  • All data is not aligned and manually being added to spreadsheets, highlighting quality concerns and potential human errors 

Solving the retail technical debt 


Anything that is picked up should be addressed and the root cause looked into to enable businesses to make better decisions and implement technical solutions. A systems health check and roadmap can then be implemented to tackle solutions in priority order. 

Unaddressed technical debt can have huge negative implications and can escalate quite quickly, meaning you need to bring additional resources in to help address it. Any technical debt project should be organised with urgency  to strategically identify how you can make changes to mitigate long term costs and make better business decisions 

Are you concerned about the potential technical debt you’ve accrued? Get in contact with us to discuss your requirements and how we can offer the best software solutions that ensure you are as productive, and profitable as possible. 

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