Information technology (IT) has turned out to be innate to the evolution and success of every enterprise. The idea behind embracing Bimodal IT into the company’s processes is to differentiate the traditional IT team and the agile IT team. It has been long since we witnessed the rise of the technologies and their delivery methods with enterprises intensely focusing on digital transformation.
Use of technologies like Big Data and software like DevOps to meet the delivery challenges has transformed the whole IT from a conventional cost core to a radically life-changing and unconventional element in an organization.
As the burgeoning of the innovative technologies became a significant part of the business, leaders, and resources also needed to cope with the transformation. According to Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of Research, “CIOs can’t transform their old IT organization into a digital startup, but they can turn it into a Bi-modal IT organization. 45 percent of CIOs state they currently have a fast mode of operation, and we predict that 75 percent of IT organizations will be bi-modal in some way by 2017.”
“Bimodal IT“ originally coined by Gartner, is a term drafted to have the agility that can support the business with exploratory (new) digital innovation mode, and at the same time operate in the traditional mode. It is also referred as “two-speed IT” that develops and executes customer-facing applications.
Both have different structural and management principles. Traditional mode emphasizes on safety and accuracy, and exploratory mode highlights agility, non-sequential workflow, and speed. Where traditional mode deploys sequential approaches to run IT operations, while in Exploratory mode, customer experience and business outcomes are kept in the front and agile workflow is applied, e.g., scrum techniques.
Enterprises have embraced the two different kinds of management and development processes in order to have a superior connectivity with the digital world. If the traditional and exploratory mode is perfectly linked, then, as an enterprise, you will have a digital environment where you will be able to brace the whole management transformation and obtain high-quality performance.
“IT leaders must recognize the equal importance of both modes in delivering the digital strategy. The bimodal capability that marries the renovation of the IT core with the exploratory approach to developing new digital products and services is essential for an enterprise to survive and flourish in the digital era. Both modes will play a crucial role in innovation and in the digital transformation.”–Simon Mingay, research vice president at Gartner
Bimodal IT can help you enlist the collective brainpower from various categories and help enterprise select from the right audience such as employees, customers, partners, suppliers or the public.
Bimodal IT helps your organization to have a separate funding option based on fear, fact and faith-based categories of spending, as explained by Gartner. As in today’s digital world, we need to be always ready to grab new opportunities and mitigate threats. Here, the sole ROI-based viewpoint will not work to get funding approval.
It can help enterprises to have separate metrics to estimate the value of the business and the supply chain. This is essential for an enterprise to know how they are performing.
Adoption of Bimodal IT for remodeling the supply chain
A French multinational corporation, Schneider Electric (SE) is a global specialist in energy management and automation which is spread across more than 100 countries. Their approximate revenues were counted to be €24.7 billion and have 1,44,000 plus employees worldwide.
Schneider Electric designed a key transformation component strategy to globalize its supply chain and usher innovation along with the six regional operations to monitor the uninterrupted enhancement. Bimodal IT adoption hit Schneider Electric with a perfect balance in the supply chain process. Over 1,70,000 plus employees were a part of this project covering 230 factories and processing 1,30,000 orders every day.
It is a 3-year project plan where all the action plans are listed down in their objectives, which are put at two levels. To ensure all the objectives are met, the annual improvement plans are put within that by dedicated teams. To speed up the tempo of the transformation team, Schneider’s supply-chain leaders needed to do a monthly inspect of betterment in pushing innovation for the company.
Rajara, Chief supply officer at Schneider said, “The CSO participates every month for this particular reason to strategize what is important. Where do we need to invest money, is it going right, and what needs to go into Mode 1 in terms of deployment, or do we need to cancel? This is really the key area where the innovations are tested with the regions and the communication happens. This is an important step because every month we have this regular follow-up.”
Supply leaders ensured that all the appropriate useful skills are put together in one place. As per the Schneider’s ROI report, the company reinvested around 10% of its productivity gains back into transformation projects.
As per Gartner, “traditional IT is focused on “doing IT right” with a strong emphasis on efficiency and safety, approval-based governance and price-for-performance. Agile IT is focused on “doing IT fast”, supporting prototyping and iterative development, rapid delivery, continuous and process-based governance, and value to the business (being business-centric and close to the customer).”
According to Lydia Leong, Gartner analyst, “the organizations which have two modes of IT with different people, processes, and tools supporting each, are most successful. And someone can’t just simply add a little agility to get full-on agile IT as it requires fundamental transformation.” She adds, “at some point in time, the agile IT mode becomes strategic and begins to modernize and transform the rest of IT, but it’s actually good to allow the agile-mode team to discover transformative new approaches without being burdened by the existing legacy.”
Recognition of Bimodal IT Needs of a Start-Up
As per the Gartner report research by Bruce Robertson, General Electric (GE), a 125-year-old American multinational mix corporation designed FastWorks. Their approach was to render ‘Lean Startup’ principles and other disruptive strategies across its ecosystem. It included experiments to test Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) with customers early in the process. The team is able to simply modify the project based on what they learn with the customer, which is opposite to the traditional method. FastWorks motivates early customer discovery and collaboration, frequent testing of critical assumptions to validate or invalidate them, and making adjustments based on these customer-validated lessons.
From the time FastWorks was initiated, GE focused more on driving better & faster upshot for customers, in a situation that is unpredictable.
According to Johanna Wellington, CEO of GE-Fuel Cells, “MVP was a key data sheet that is validated by customers before significant development could commence. This is reminiscent of the Amazon approach called “Working Backwards,” where you create the customer-facing sales materials and press releases first. A related technique is “postcards from the future.”
As per the Gartner’s Report, business leaders at GE took actions to implement bimodal IT in their business transformation. They are:
Pushed for the business-level adoption of MVP and other lean startup techniques immediately for investment opportunities and projects already underway and those about to start.
Allocated time and resources for this type of experimentation to prove to your own enterprise that this new approach can work and then scaled it out widely as a new enterprise culture or mindset.
Established an enterprise capability to fasten up scaling the new techniques across the enterprise.
The FastWorks approach brought speed, experimentation, and scale of validated customer needs, markets and business models in the organization.
Bimodal IT concept is all based on cloud computing and other allied tools like agile development and DevOps to support the concept. By ignoring Bimodal IT, you are going to lose what you already have, which means you are letting your competitors devour your business. In order to avoid that, digital leaders need to embrace new processes and tools continuously and keep delivering faster, better and more flexible support to the new changes in their organization.
Tina Nunno, Research Vice President at Gartner said, “In digital business, you must change your relationship with risk. The digital risk is not something to mitigate. Instead, embrace risk. Taking risk is a conscious leadership decision. Treat your ability to manage specific risks as a competency and capability. Focus, so you can see what risks are worth taking. Accepting risk is okay; ignoring risk is tragic.”
Tags: Bimodal IT