In January I read this article from the BBC website which described how technical debt was building up in UK banks. I was surprised to find an article using what I thought was a "geeky" term in the mainstream press and I wrote a blog article on my own website describing three primary reasons for the build up of technical debt.
In my opinion this is related to three trends in IT:
- Increased system complexity
- Under-investment and a lack of modernisation
- Trends towards outsourcing of application development
I mentioned a few glitches in UK banks that had made their way into the press, damaging the bank's reputations and reducing customer confidence. At the time that I wrote my original article, examples included problems with Faster Payments, NatWest batch jobs and Knight Capital’s $440m trading loss.
I predicted further problems with UK banks and true to form they haven't disappointed. Natwest customers again faced outages on 7th March and LBG customers reported problems on 15th April due to "systems errors". Further investment in modernisation and testing is the only to keep these vast organisations on an even keel.