Which place does your company rank in the AI adoption curve for AI? To find out, take our AI survey.A product or environment may become obsolete as new technology emerges. Consider your personal devices. Are there any apps that you don't know you have?This is an exciting time for continuous improvement. Rapid advancements and the flexibility offered by microservices allow you to create highly customized IT environments. Leaders can quickly find the right solution for their business and bring it to market quicker than ever before if they recognize its needs. Application sprawl is the continuous adoption of new technologies while not getting rid of existing ones. Application sprawl is like quicksand. It will prevent you from moving ahead.These are the most common reasons to abandon an application:Societal changes. A change in the business model, or consumer preferences can cause one application to be replaced by another. Even political circumstances can make things obsolete, such as a change in the sales tax or a new regulation changing data policies that makes applications non-compliant or unsafe.Changes in social circumstances, such as changes in business models or consumer preferences, can cause one application to be replaced by another. Even political circumstances can make things obsolete, such as a change in the sales tax or a new regulation changing data policies that makes applications non-compliant or unsafe. Rapid innovation: This simply means that new capabilities and better solutions are created. Businesses will naturally gravitate towards newer, more efficient solutions if the CRM software has better targeting functionality than the older version.Simply put, new capabilities lead to better solutions. Businesses will naturally gravitate towards newer, more efficient solutions if the CRM software has better targeting functionality than older versions. Technological advancement: Technology advances like AI, machine-learning, RPA and IoT allow businesses to do more with fewer resources, rendering older applications redundant or unnecessary. This is more than simply using older software; these technologies offer new capabilities and advancements that were not possible before.If there is a cycle of constant abandonment, it is usually a sign that the organization is forward-thinking. However, this must be balanced by strong management and organization. IT leaders who are not able to retire old technologies or IT leaders can quickly feel like they are drowning under the weight of all of their applications. It is important to remove old applications from your system every time you create a new one. This will increase IT burden, create discord within the company, decrease its ability to adapt to changing business requirements, and expose it to security threats.IT is under increasing pressure. IT departments have more work to do due to the rapid growth of applications. This increased workload requires that team members concentrate on the most urgent issues first. This leaves less time for innovation and planning. If the IT team feels overwhelmed by their environment they will naturally stop adding new features and halt innovation.Discord increases. Overburdened IT can lead to discord in other departments. Many people have the ability to buy and implement the solution that they need without having to inform IT. This is becoming more common. Although they might have similar needs, departments that work in silos may choose different solutions. It can lead to confusion among general business employees who may not know the best or most current applications. They spend too much time on different applications, which can lead to inefficiency and decreased productivity. As tenured employees move on, this causes problems for productivity and efficiency.Technology sprawl is a barrier to progress. Technology sprawl does not only affect applications but also features within them. If features and applications are not deleted, the technology spreads over time, creating headaches for IT who must manage dependencies on outdated technology. They become dependent on the technology and not forward progress. A failure to discard can hold back modernization such as cloud migration.Security threats Applications that are not in use are removed from the priority list for monitoring and updates. This is especially true if the app was not known to the IT department at the time. Hackers have now a great way to get into your IT stack via back doors or forgotten applications that weren't being maintained with the most current security measures.You need to keep your mind open and prevent data leaks or breaches. Retirement is a difficult process that can cause downtime, data loss, and impact on other applications. This kind of work can slow down a company's time to market and is often put off until another day.Many IT shops also believe that the upfront cost and time commitment to retirement is too high compared to the cost of letting an older app run in the background. However, you will soon realize that you are losing your mind and you will be in trouble.Businesses should start to look at ways to track applications, such as through an app directory. This will allow for continuous retirement of the application lifecycle. The commitment of an organization to retire obsolete technology is crucial to future growth and innovation as IT environments become more complex. It isn't something that IT cultures have celebrated, but it is a part of IT culture. Continuous retirement can help you bring less code, fewer features or fewer apps to your internal customers.We are seeing incredible potential for the future businesses as we see new applications, capabilities and solutions, all at a rapid pace. Businesses should keep up this pace, which is understandable. It is important to keep the company on track and not let application sprawl slow down. It is natural to look for new technologies, especially if they promise to increase revenue or performance. Continuous retirement is necessary in order to counter the admirable business model that focuses on continuous improvement. There are too many risks for business productivity, innovation, security, and safety to ignore.Aater Suleman serves as Vice President, Cloud Transformation, at NTT DATA Services. Flux7, a NTT DATA Company, is also his co-founder. He speaks frequently at conferences such as AWS re-Invent, Dockercon TechWell and OReilly. He also conducts workshops for corporate clients on digital transformation. He is a Forbes Technology Council Contributor and a University of Austin Professor.