Duplicate Tech: A Bottom-Line Issue Worth Resolving

There are numerous benefits to streamlining IT and eliminating duplicate technologies, writes Namratha Peddisetty.

5 Min Read
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Tech duplication is a bigger problem than many realize. Redundant applications, replicate technology, or duplicate IT systems — no matter what it is called, maintaining multiple technologies that perform the same or similar functions is wasteful. This inefficiency stems from various causes, including organizational reorganization, organic growth, inadequate IT governance, poor communication between departments, or mergers and acquisitions. Tech duplication strains financial resources, complicates system integration, increases maintenance costs, and can lead to inconsistent data and reduced operational efficiency.

Eliminating duplications and determining the best IT system are crucial for optimizing IT operations, ensuring a streamlined, cost-effective technology portfolio, and supporting long-term organizational success.

Causes and Costs of Duplicate Technologies

In larger organizations, departmental silos and inadequate oversight from company leadership often lead to the proliferation of duplicate or shadow technologies, resulting in duplicate data. Additional causes are new tools, new use cases for technologies, and inadequate IT governance. This fragmentation complicates the creation of an integrated, end-to-end architecture where data seamlessly flows through all necessary systems. It can also contribute to an inability to automate tasks using artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation (RPA), and other new and emerging technologies. The use of redundant technologies necessitates custom software to bridge gaps, incurring significant costs in financial, human, and time resources. Additionally, disparate tools result in each team developing unique processes, undermining standardization and operational cohesiveness.

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Maintaining multiple technologies inflates maintenance expenses and complicates the identification and resolution of IT system failures. The patchwork nature of combined technologies can hinder processes and cause data fragmentation or loss. Moreover, differing cybersecurity capabilities among technologies can expose the organization to increased risk of cyberattacks, as older or less secure systems may be more vulnerable to breaches.

Retaining multiple technologies may initially seem prudent in a merger or acquisition, but ultimately it proves detrimental. The drawbacks — from duplicated data and disconnected processes to inefficiencies and security vulnerabilities — far outweigh any perceived benefits, highlighting the critical need for streamlined, unified IT systems.

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Benefits of Eliminating Redundant Technologies

Eliminating duplicate technology offers many benefits, including improved operational efficiency and cost reduction, despite the initial investment required to transition to a unified platform. The Department of Homeland Security Duplication Reduction Act of 2015 recognized the cost savings by avoiding "duplication or fragmentation" of IT systems, singling out the sprawling Federal Emergency Management System (FEMA). The Homeland Security Committee concluded that "there are not sufficient IT governance controls in place." This same scenario may also occur in private industries with multiple locations or as the result of mergers and acquisitions. By consolidating overlapping systems, organizations can streamline process and maintenance functions, reduce licensing fees, and simplify IT management.

Eliminating Duplication

There are compelling reasons to remove the dead weight of duplicate technologies and adopt a singular technology. The first step in eliminating tech redundancy is to evaluate existing technologies to determine which tools best align with current and future business needs. A collaborative approach with all relevant stakeholders is recommended to ensure the chosen solution supports organizational goals and avoids unnecessary repetition.

For example, organizations can select the best IT system from an existing portfolio or find a single technology that meets all department requirements. This strategic alignment minimizes redundancy, enhances integration, and fosters a more cohesive IT environment. When silos and replicate or shadow technologies are eradicated between departments, the organization is more agile and productive, operating costs are reduced, data flow and cybersecurity are improved, and glitches that impact the end-user experience are minimized.

Consider prioritizing external customer-related technologies over internal systems, as the customer experience drives revenue and long-term organizational success. For example, when duplicate technologies are involved, one customer could have two separate IDs in two different systems. Eliminating replicate technology and consolidating the information provides a holistic view of the customer and assists marketing efforts with algorithms that can better identify user trends and push out offers that appeal to customers' stored profiles.

It's also crucial for companies to establish an IT governance group responsible for developing and implementing changes. Before any new technology is added, the governance team should review it to determine if the addition of or migration to a new tool is advantageous and necessary.

Companies can also employ an application portfolio summit tool, which provides an inventory of software within an organization and related metrics to gauge their effectiveness via a scoring algorithm. Those metrics can assist the IT governance group in decision-making about any updates or changes needed, providing a better snapshot of the IT system. For example, one company focused on cost reduction and risk mitigation opportunities, leading to improved IT standardization and a more streamlined and efficient portfolio.

The Future of Duplicate Tech Elimination

Looking ahead, advancements in AI, machine learning, deep learning, and deep language processing could further facilitate tech deduplication. Before employing AI and ML for that purpose, however, it is imperative for IT staff to do its own housecleaning, combing through the tech stack to identify duplicate technologies (which could include legacy software) and removing clutter. Doing this will make the automation of processes using AI and other methodologies less cumbersome and more effective.

With the elimination of redundant technologies, AI may also be a boon when it comes to tech consolidation, as going forward identifying redundancies and overlaps can be automated. Over time, these algorithms will learn from previous deduplication efforts to improve accuracy, and AI will highlight areas where integration and IT optimization lead to cost savings and enhanced productivity.

With seemingly no end to the growth of new technologies, it's essential to take full advantage of how new and emerging technologies can eliminate dataset redundancies to achieve more streamlined, efficient, and cost-effective IT ecosystems. By leveraging these assets, businesses can enhance their operational agility, increase scalability, enhance profitability, and foster a more cohesive technological landscape.

About the Author:

Namratha Peddisetty is a marketing technology product manager with 11 years of experience in business development and consulting. She is an expert in waterfall and Agile methodologies and has successfully implemented digital products across a wide range of industries. Namratha holds an MBA in finance and operations from India's SRM Institute of Science and Technology. Connect with Namratha on LinkedIn.

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