Every Day Is Tax Day When Your Data Architecture Is Too Complex

Cara Heimbaugh

Mid-April marks the deadline for filing income taxes in the United States. It’s a moment when the reality of your earnings for the year are made clear and you can see where your money comes from — and where it’s going.

Our personal lives are not the only realm where taxation occurs. At MongoDB, we have seen how organizations with overly complex data architectures — whether a legacy system or a sprawl of cloud-native components, or a hybrid with messes on both sides — are paying a price: a tax on innovation.

DIRT: The data and innovation recurring tax

The data and innovation recurring tax, or DIRT, is fundamentally rooted in data, because huge amounts of data must be generated to support legacy database technologies. Modern applications use features such as real-time data to create rich user experiences, so developers must cobble together niche databases with cumbersome pipelines to move data between them. Or, organizations move some of their applications and data to the cloud, grabbing a bunch of off-the-shelf software that doesn’t work or play well together.

The time developers spend creating workarounds? That’s a tax on innovation. Instead of working on new features that the business needs and customers will love, teams are stuck supporting complex, brittle architectures. And this is not a one-and-done tax. DIRT applies to every new project, making each one a little more difficult to manage and maintain as new components, frameworks, and protocols are added.

Read more about the innovation tax in our white paper DIRT and the High Cost of Complexity.

Complexity is the enemy of innovation

When you pay income tax, you have some idea about how that money will be spent. Taxes support initiatives. But what does DIRT support? Nothing, except a spaghetti architecture that isn’t a sustainable foundation for your organization’s future. If your database is experiencing the symptoms of complexity now, what will the experience be like in one, five, or a dozen years?

Complexity is a drain, plain and simple. The good news is, reducing complexity can turn that drain into a fountain. Removing DIRT improves the developer experience and hastens your time to market. It also leaves you with more opportunities to innovate — and more money to support those innovations.

Complexity costs money — but how can you tell if your database is too complex? Our guide 10 Signs Your Data Architecture Is Holding You Back details the ways a creaky data architecture is taxing your team.

We know that innovation is what separates the businesses of today from the businesses of tomorrow. Every day you are not innovating, some other organization is. This Tax Day, don’t let your legacy database and the price tag that comes with it hold you back.