IT world is witnessing a sea of changes, thanks to the disruptive technologies. However, despite all these advancements, implementation of these new gen technologies is still a challenge for many global CXO's. On one hand, they need to ensure that the existing IT operations run smoothly without hampering the flow of business. On the flipside, they need to get adapted to the digitally transformed world. Investing in a new gen technology advancements and leveraging it for digital transformation without impacting the existing legacy environment are the daunting challenges that global CXO’s currently experiencing. Bimodal IT is an answer to these enterprise challenges. The term Bimodal IT is coined by research firm Gartner. It is a new concept of managing two disparate IT environments in an enterprise. Mode 1 is the traditional IT environment emphasizing stability which ensures the smooth functioning of the day to day business technology operations. The mode 2 is the agile IT environment emphasizing speed and agility which ensures a smooth transformation into the digitally led new generation technologies. While the agile IT handles the growing demands of the advanced technologies and cloud platform, the traditional IT runs the show. Using these two modes in a balanced way enterprises better handle the competing priorities of maintaining mission-critical systems and adopt the steps for successful digital transformation.
Bimodal IT is expected to act as a bridge that better connects the two worlds the traditional and advanced IT and lead us to a better enterprise environment which supports change management, scalability and high quality performance. The Mode 1 in Bimodal IT environment will be involving traditional core applications in enterprises such as ERP, CRM and so on. Meanwhile, Mode 2 focuses on Micro services that are in the cloud. They will also be supporting the mobile apps or big data analytic workloads. The mode 2 will be working in a Devops or Agile delivery model which involves the quick release of applications through the build, test and deploy stages working in parallel. Mode 2 helps IT achieve the goals of building and releasing new applications swiftly. The governance and control levels of these two modes also vary. Compared to mode 1 the governance and controls are less stringent in mode2.
For implementing Bimodal Information Technology, enterprises need a capable driver/ sponsor who is very closely aligned with the business and have a clear understanding of what are the critical imperatives for the initiatives. Organizations must focus on choosing the right business use cases, getting the right talent and making the right investments in the right technology platforms. They should identify the right business partner and their challenge and address the technology challenge by experimenting in a small prototyping environment. The’ fail fast, learn fast’ mode of the Bimodal IT helps in better testing the new initiatives before making a huge investment.
Even though Bimodal IT approach will bring in greater flexibility for organizations to explore new advancements in technology at the same time keep the lights on in traditional IT environment, there are certain challenges with adopting Bimodal IT. Among this, the major challenge will be the lack of proper communication between the Mode 1 and Mode 2 environments. It is key to have an open communication, collaborative working style to align the priorities of both Mode 1 and Mode 2. The teams should also work co-operatively so that both the modes working in tandem for a better IT performance and faster time to market. Failure in embracing the mode 2 with open arms can also create challenges in Bimodal IT environments. It requires the cultural and behavioral readiness to accept the risks and rewards of the mode 2.
However, despite all the challenges stated here, recent surveys reveal that Bimodal IT is gaining popularity in global IT enterprises. Gartner's 2016 CIO survey found that almost 40 percent of CIOs are on the bimodal journey, with the majority of the remainder planning to follow in the next three years.