We live in an age of digital transformation. The success of any enterprise today depends heavily on how well it can transform and distribute services and products to customers around the globe. The global demand has risen above just providing utilitarian services and applications which are adaptable, fast and engaging have become the need of the hour. The IT sector has evolved heavily to keep up with the technologies that continue to transform the world. And to build a successful enterprise that delivers world-class applications, the conventional standard of focusing on stability and efficiency is not enough. Owing to the rapid development of mobile technologies, it is necessary to make applications easily adaptable and scalable to the larger market. From this viewpoint, Gartner Research developed the IT framework known as Bimodal IT.
Challenges Faced By The IT Enterprise Today
The IT sector is at the heart of the digital revolution happening around us. But as technologies continue to grow and evolve, there are challenges that need to be faced by the IT sector to cope up with the increased demand. Some of these challenges are:
- Developing fast, reliable, and scalable applications to meet the increasing demand of the customers
- Quick deployment of products and services around the globe
- Creating applications with cross-platform support because of the increase in the use of various platforms
- Leveraging the power of social media to offer a better, enhanced experience to the consumers
- Ensuring adaptability and cross-device support and a general outlook toward increasing scope and maximizing outreach
- Creating a seamless integration across all the applications to provide a user-focused experience
- Focusing on increased revenues in the face of the current economy and generating greater returns on investments
A greater emphasis on innovation and broadened perspectives
Bimodal IT aims to tackle some of the above problems through a change in the framework of the conventional practices in the IT sector today.
What Is Bimodal IT?
Bimodal IT, a term first coined by Gartner, refers to the practice of maintaining two separate but coherent and symbiotic modes of work, development, and deployment strategies within an organization. The first mode of work is focused on conventional and traditional practices, therefore making predictability the main focus. This mode represents the core traditional values and principles of the enterprise that are business-critical and these should not divest. The second mode of the two focuses on exploration, innovation, and experimentation. Both these modes are essential to creating and offering better services and driving factors toward the success of an enterprise.
In the traditional mode, enterprises emphasize on security and accuracy, thus maintain the standards of a successful enterprise. In the second mode, the enterprise focuses more on agility, speed, innovation, and adaptability, thus allowing it to function like a digital startup. At the core of the second mode is a style of diversionary and non-sequential workflow, allowing for better exploratory capabilities and quicker delivery. It aims at areas of uncertainty and represents the practices that generally result in innovation and change. The ability to move forward in uncertain areas, where a predefined plan isn’t possible is foundational to the success of any enterprise. However, the benefit of speed offered in mode 2 overshadows any difficulties arising from the uncertainties involved.
If enterprises choose to adopt a bimodal framework, they need to be able to decide the characteristics of the projects and business models that come under each mode. Some common characteristics of mode 1 tend to be focused on previous models adopted by the companies. Common mode 2 characteristics are technology and innovation-oriented, such as developing mobile technologies, deploying cloud services for agility, using analytics to identify key areas, and leveraging Internet of Things (IoT). These improve the enterprise’s agility and responsiveness, and the integration of these with mode 1 products and services lead to high-quality enterprises.
Roadblocks to Bimodal IT
The key challenge in adopting a bimodal framework lies in its requirement of a fundamental cultural change within the company. This cultural change is not going to happen overnight and bimodal IT is therefore not a quick-fix solution. Research estimates that any enterprise needs around 2 to 3 years of steady cultural change to successfully adopt a bimodal framework.
Both the modes should be valued and focused upon equally and enterprises should ensure that both the modes should be synergic and not adopt a rival-like strategy in hopes of outdoing the other. This again can be achieved only through a cultural change in the work ethic of the company. The collaboration and a strong vision of the stakeholders and leaders within the enterprise are also necessary for a bimodal strategy.
Security and safety also need to be tackled in a bimodal framework. The emphasis upon agility and speed by mode 2 can require a greater focus on information security. While handling data is a key component of developing adaptable and agile applications, this calls for a greater amount of security to be incorporated while pursuing the same. This focus on security needs to be built into the strategy right from the start and applications need to be developed around this focus, rather than treating security as a secondary issue and merely focusing on speed.
The bottom line is that although bimodal IT is an effective model to adopt in this era of continuous innovation, it can just as easily backfire on the company if not implemented in the right manner. Collaboration, rather than competition, should become the norm within the modes. The risks of unsuccessful deployment are enormous, experts warn. That being said, sustainable implementation of bimodal strategies combined with the right business solutions will no doubt drive innovation and technology forward.