Month: September 2019

Majority of UK businesses are failing to address technical debt, says Claranet research

Work needs to be done to better manage technical debt levels and reduce the barriers to change and improvement.

New research by technology services provider Claranet has revealed that technical debt is a significant issue for 84 per cent of organisations – limiting their ability to respond quickly to customer demand with new software feature releases. This figure shows that despite tech debt being a very common issue, business leaders have not yet taken the necessary steps to manage this. The result is a significant drag on business agility and competitiveness.

The research was carried out by Vanson Bourne and surveyed 100 IT decision-makers from UK-based businesses with more than 1,000 employees. Despite widespread recognition of tech debt challenges, more than eight in ten respondents (84 per cent) do not have an active reduction programme in place, and close to a fifth (19 per cent) want to reduce their legacy technology but do not have a clear plan of action on how to do this.

For Michel Robert, Managing Director at Claranet UK, this highlights how more needs to be done to effectively address the issue.

He said:

Limiting technical debt is all about maintaining the quality of your code. Poor quality can lead to systems that are difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to change and potentially less secure. That’s not a position any business wants to find itself in, especially when fast, iterative improvements are often needed to serve customers most effectively.

With many companies now working to a complex Hybrid Cloud strategy and starting to benefit from an Infrastructure as Code approach, the issue of technical debt goes beyond the development team.”

Our research has shown that many businesses are severely restrained by technical debt, and a big reason for this appears to be that many non-technical staff are unaware of the time and effort that needs to go into refactoring applications and resources at a later date. There’s a clear need to raise awareness in this area and to also encourage closer collaboration between technical teams working in Development, Operations, and Security, and to state the business case for non-technical colleagues.”

This lack of awareness is confirmed by the finding that almost half of respondents (48 per cent) said their non-technical colleagues do not understand the financial impact that technical debt can have on the organisation, with 45 per cent reporting they only have a rudimentary understanding of the concept.

Robert added:

There’s clearly a significant disconnect between the technical teams and the wider business when it comes to understanding the importance of maintaining the quality of code and how to manage it. Part of the solution to this problem is to create a quality-focused culture.”

He concluded:

Adopting a philosophy like DevSecOps, and taking an “as-code” approach to security and infrastructure, can help unite teams around a common purpose of maintaining quality systems. Do it right and businesses will be in a better position to quickly adapt to market conditions, stay secure, and build a stronger competitive advantage.”

Lipoedema Surgery

This post was written by my Wife, Emma.

Our Daughter Megan is now 21 but was only 15 when we first became aware that her legs were shaped very differently to mine and my younger Daughter’s legs. Megan began to hate her legs and would always cover them up with the clothes she was wearing. She was sure that exercising and dieting would sort out her issue, so after losing three stone and seeing no change in her legs she became very disheartened.  Our GP said exercise would sort it, but it didn’t. She was at the gym 3-4 times a week while losing the weight! Megan found that as the lipoedema fat grew, her legs would physically ache and hurt, bruise and the lower part of her calves discoloured purple, due to minimal blood flow. Even massaging them hurt.  At this stage, we did not know what was causing it. A ‘ trying on’ session in a clothes shop upset Megan so much that she started investigating further why her legs were like they were.  Until then, she had just accepted it. Very soon she realised it wasn’t her fault and more and more research was required. 

Lipoedema is a chronic condition whereby fat cells abnormally build up in the hips, buttocks, legs and occasionally arms of women (and, far more rarely, men), resulting in often painful pockets of fat that do not go away with exercise or dietary changes. The condition varies in appearance from woman to woman, but every woman with lipoedema suffers from a frustrating lack of awareness among the public and medical community alike.

Lipoedema has had little research, is rarely taught and is poorly understood; as a result, often misdiagnosed as obesity or lymphoedema (swelling that occurs due to the lymphatic system not working correctly), and only limited treatment options are available.

Lipoedema treatments are not very accessible at all. Women usually must know what it is they want and either find it themselves or put it forward as a suggestion to their GP (and you read earlier what our GP said!)

Megan’s consultation with her surgeon in Berlin

Megan’s legs

An option is liposuction which reduces the size of lipoedema areas and lessens the associated pain, but this has many problems. Liposuction is available on the NHS if the patient has lymphoedema – Megan doesn’t, several women have been successful there, but usually only because they were quite extreme cases.

It’s virtually impossible, however, to get funding for tumescent liposuction on the NHS, and to my knowledge, no one diagnosed with just lipoedema has gone down that route. Meaning a growing number of women are forced to fund it themselves, and many choose to go abroad where there are more choice and more experienced surgeons.
The advice given to Megan is that if her lipoedema is untreated, she will be in a wheelchair by the time she is 35.

As a family, we have decided that our only option for Megan to have the quality of life she deserves is to take her abroad to have surgery. She could have the surgery here in the Uk, but it is over DOUBLE the cost. 

During the Summer I went with Megan to see a surgeon in Berlin – Dr Czarnecka. She confirmed that Megan’s lipoedema was quite advanced for her age and that it would only get worse. She advised four operations over the course of a year to eliminate the lipoedema fat from her legs, bum, lower stomach and arms. The medical procedures (Operations) although painful are essential. Schedules for her first three operations are November 2019, February 2020 and June 2020 with the fourth operation in Sept 2020.

The cost of the operations will be £24,000. Jay and I will fund the flights, hotels, subsistence and aftercare (Manual Lymphatic Drainage

If you could support Megan by making a donation and/or sharing it with friends, family, or colleagues we would hugely appreciate it.

I know that money can be tight, so please know that even £5 helps us get closer to our goal.

Let me know if you have any questions and we will be happy to answer them.

Thank you from Megan, Emma, Jay and Bethan xxxxx

What can happen if left untreated