12 Things Businesses And IT Teams Should Know About Digital Decoupling

Among the many tech strategies businesses are talking about right now is digital decoupling. A method of adding new technologies on top of legacy systems to increase their functionality, digital decoupling’s primary appeal for many business leaders may be due to the perception that it’s a simple method of updating the systems they already have in place.

Tech leaders agree that digital decoupling can be a smart strategy for businesses in many ways, but they caution that the method has potential areas of concern as well. Below, 12 members of Forbes Technology Council share both benefits and possible downsides to digital decoupling that businesses and IT teams should be aware of.

It’s A Cost-Effective Way To Improve Essential Business Systems

Digital decoupling provides a cost-effective solution to evolving the components of a business that directly drive business and revenue. It frequently provides a more effective and efficient interface for customers and simplifies incorporating new functionalities and tapping into new markets. – Neil Lampton, TIAG®

It Can Help Shift Focus From Integration To Innovation

IT infrastructure is often a “spaghetti mix” of entangled applications, application programming interfaces and systems of record. Adding new digital services entails a patchwork of contingencies and time-consuming integration efforts. By decoupling applications from SoRs, enterprises can rapidly scale up digital services, improve app performance and response times and focus engineering efforts on innovation instead of integration. – Adi PazGigaSpaces

It Doesn’t Eliminate The Need To Update Current Systems

Digital decoupling is a great way to solve technical issues when a business does not have the resources to build things from scratch. One of the downsides of it is the resulting mentality of “it’s working, so we’re done, right?” Many companies never go back and actually update those old systems. They end up with emergencies down the road because they neglected to do the work of upgrading systems. – Mercedes Soria,Knightscope

It Should Include A Plan For Deprecating Legacy Systems

Digital decoupling’s advantage is increased agility and the ability for businesses to innovate at speed without having to rebuild entire legacy systems. However, it is a methodology rather than architecture. Legacy systems should eventually be deprecated. Running two-speed IT is neither truly cost-effective nor agile in the long run. – Song Bac Toh, Tata Communications

It Can Enable Incremental Improvements That Ease Systemic Change

Changes can seem daunting when systems are laden with technical debt. Digital decoupling, however, can enable incremental improvements, leading to systemic change. The pace of change will be slower, but smoother, for both the legacy systems and the technical teams that run them. Easing into technical and cultural change can lead to a longer-lasting positive outcome for the business. – Nicholas Domnisch, EE Solutions

It Can Enable Faster Times To Market

Digital decoupling allows innovation with speed without the need to worry about connectivity to legacy environments. It helps the growth of microservices, DevOps and event-driven architecture, which allows faster time to market for businesses when releasing new features and technology. – Vivek Ahuja, rSTAR Technologies LLC

It Can Help IT Teams Productize Everything

Today’s IT teams should treat everything they build as a product. Digital decoupling enables them to adopt this mindset and work to optimize each product individually, with the potential to evolve one or more products into new revenue channels. In essence, digital decoupling can help IT teams productize everything, seize market gaps and create a multiplier effect for a business. – Victor Shilo, EastBanc Technologies

It Makes IT Systems More Flexible And Responsive

By eliminating point-to-point connections between applications, digital decoupling makes IT systems more flexible and responsive. Therefore, you can more easily achieve real-time insights with streaming analytics and the use of artificial intelligence/machine learning across hybrid cloud environments and the Internet of Things. However, managing decoupled systems does introduce challenges that require new tools such as event-driven architecture, event mesh and event portals. – Denis King,Solace

It Enables Faster Development Cycles

One key advantage of digital decoupling is that it fosters accelerated growth by enabling faster development cycles. This is because it allows for faster deployment of new features and services. Decoupling also accelerates the adoption of microservices, agile DevOps integration, data lakes, APIs and open platforms. Finally, it also helps companies adopt more open-source technologies. – Roman Taranov, Ruby Labs

It May Fragment Technology-To-Technology Communications

One downside of digital decoupling is the siloed fragmentation of technology-to-technology communications. Systems do not function as a unit, and this impacts the way IT and business teams operate. – Judit Sharon, OnPage Corporation

It May Introduce Security Concerns And Bugs

Digital decoupling is a phenomenal way to continue to leverage legacy systems on the back end while interfacing with modern interfaces. However, by adding an API layer to legacy systems, you’re also adding a layer of abstraction, which can introduce security concerns, bugs and new challenges. Adopt digital decoupling with care and precision to ensure you’re not introducing new headaches down the road. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC

It Must Be Combined With Discussions On Decision Making And Collaboration

When the head does not know what the hands are doing, the organization will suffer greatly. While digital decoupling of businesses and IT teams has great efficiency and operational benefits, it must be considered with care. Specifically, when planning and carrying out the decoupling, considering how productive decisions will be made and how collaboration will be facilitated is mission-critical. – Olga V. Mack, Parley Pro

Previously published on Forbes.