Technical debt refers to the decisions a company makes today that enable it to complete an IT initiative but that, over time, cause additional costs due to the need for rework to improve the initiative’s scalability or strength. Some technical debt may be necessary, such as when developing a proof of concept or using open technologies that have little documentation, and sometimes it’s the simple outgrowth of an organization’s IT response to market changes.
In either case, technical debt is not desirable. Companies should address their technical debt early to avoid losses in productivity, reductions in agility, and the long-term costs of needing more effort/staff in the future to fix an IT challenge that’s become more complex over time. Technical debts can get introduced in an SDLC in multiple ways, mostly due to business needs, technology dependencies, timelines, or process gaps.
MuleSoft can be a valuable resource as enterprises seek to reduce their technical debt. This integration platform, in which Wipro has extensive expertise, enables corporate IT teams to address their technical debt in five core ways.
1. API-Led Connectivity
People in the middleware world are quite familiar with “spaghetti.” As companies add new technologies, channels, and platforms, the complexities within the technology stack increase exponentially (see below). Spaghetti architecture is generally the byproduct of P2P implementation, developer shortcuts, or prioritizing projects rather than API design thinking. By adopting API-led connectivity, companies can:
- Facilitate long-term thinking and understand the big picture
- Create a clear layer of concerns, helping to isolate technical debts and reduce the need for regression testing
- Reuse existing functionality to meet business demands with faster turnaround times
Omit developer shortcuts that could lead to additional technical debt
2. Enable Exchange and Collaboration
MuleSoft is unique in its ability to enable collaboration across the IT landscape, empowering teams to exchange and share frameworks, accelerators, best practices, and accepted patterns. It also promotes discoverability of already-available functionality and work products, driving reusability and controlled governance. In addition, the documentation of published APIs provides the necessary information to promote usability and API acceptability.
3. Access a Robust Knowledge Ecosystem
MuleSoft’s knowledge ecosystem has grown over the years to include official MuleSoft Product Support; developer forums and seminars; training sites; and knowledge portals such as catalyst.mulesoft.com, which is updated continuously. This ecosystem helps companies not only improve product usage and implementation, but also to identify workarounds for problems early in development rather than creating additional technical debt that will need to be fixed later.
4. Product Maturity
Business requirements are not platform driven, meaning the platform must grow and align to support those requirements. In doing so, platforms need to mature to assist in reducing technical debts. MuleSoft has matured its capabilities in several areas.
- Monitoring: The Manager interface allows enterprises to gain real-time visibility and govern APIs and integrations through a single interface. This helps in early detection of processing bottlenecks, scale needs, failure points, and optimization opportunities, and it helps companies better understand the health of their application network.
- Visualization: The Anypoint platform makes the available data readable and actionable, empowering companies to make decisions more easily.
- Connectors: Historically, developers have created a lot of customer connectors for end systems that eventually become technical debts in the system. MuleSoft has invested heavily in this space to help developers overcome the hurdle.
- Security: MuleSoft provides compliance with ISO 27001, SOC 2, PCI DSS, and GDPR. It also assists with prebuilt and custom policies to control access and unlock data with API gateways and more.
- Test Suites: Testing is an essential part of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). While many products provide testing capabilities, MUnit (the Mule Application Testing Framework) is fully integrated with Maven, allowing projects to easily build automated tests for integration and APIs. This provides developers a way to test the implementation and enhancements, eventually unearthing issues through pre-built test cases and reducing technical debts.
- Channels: Businesses expect their channels to grow alongside their company. A platform’s ability to accept new channels is imperative, because simply adding software to cater to new needs increases the environment’s complexity. MuleSoft offers APIs, ESB, monitoring, and more on a single platform, reducing the overall platform’s software complexity.
- Intuitive UI: The drag and drop capability of the MuleSoft studio makes code readability simple, reduces the learning curve, and helps transform data automatically using ML-based recommendations. This reduces dependency on developers and assists in debugging, which further reduces technical debt.
- Hybrid Integration Platform: MuleSoft allows projects and organizations to deploy applications anywhere – on-premises, on the cloud, or both. It promises a 99.99% availability on CloudHub.
5. Alignment with the Center for Enablement (C4E) Concept
A Center for Enablement is an organization’s core for scale and guidance, impacts its ability to guide and deliver, and sets the path for the platform’s future in the organization. Although MuleSoft does not provide this, its alignment to the concept is unique.
Technical debt often has ties to technical pitfalls, lags or gaps in implementation. By taking proactive steps early in development, companies can minimize, localize, or remove their debts to position themselves for long-term success. MuleSoft can greatly reduce the technical debt lifecycle and reduce its impact. With the right offerings and accelerators, like those at Wipro, companies can “do it once and do it right,” and improve their overall effort efficiency by 25% across the SDLC.