“Bimodal IT is the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability, the other on agility.” Andy Kyte, Gartner.
The term ‘bimodal IT’ was coined by Gartner in 2014. The approach is to maintain the balance between the agility to support the business with exploratory (new) digital innovation mode, and simultaneously operate in traditional mode.
Mode 1, the traditional IT systems, which emphasis on safety and accuracy should be managed and operated as it is. Whereas, Mode 2, the Exploratory mode emphasizes on the agility, non-sequential, and speed and using an agile development process.
It is a new paradigm for CIOs and for IT as a whole. It is a combination of both old and new development processes and techniques, that have different structure and have different management principles. Mode 1 deploys sequential approaches to run IT operations, and mode 2 is more focused in customer experience, business outcomes, and agile workflow.
What does it mean for CIO?
Gartner’s bimodal IT is a proposal to understand how IT must be organized to meet business requirements and at the same time build an agile technology for consumers. The CIO must understand applying bimodal IT requires new tools and processes to respond to the demand. CIOs and IT as a whole should also comprehend that bimodal IT is a part that tells IT capabilities and how to move forward to achieve their business goals. IT industry like Facebook, have understood the term bimodal IT and are looking to emulate the leaders, which is bringing innovation and giving tough competition to their rivals.
Giant companies like Amazon, Uber, etc., have already adapted the development process and launched the iterative software updates to compete in the market. They have also kept the established or traditional mode going with the new interactive updates and deliver well-tested, stable updates to its customers.
As the CIO of an organization, you must decide whether bimodal IT is a feasible solution. As it happened many times bimodal IT didn’t work out. CIOs must appoint developers who can flourish in this approach and deliver what is expected. They should be able to run both the modes simultaneously and drives value out of them. Simply building an app to interact with your users will not derive any value to your business, it should allow users to perform some actions. For example, online orders, along with online ordering users should be able to track their order, chat with the support group, cancel the order or even check their refund status. Which means CIO should make sure that mode 2 is integrated well with mode 1 and employees are working together for the business success.
So, Gartner has identified a burgeoning demand for IT, and prescribed that the success of an IT teams is in the balance, so CIOs should start with a small Mode 2 development project and see if that approach brings positive response and then expanding their bimodal efforts.
When bimodal IT is implemented
It’s a challenge for a CIO to run the processes, meet the departmental needs and at the same time keeping the company’s budget in mind. They are the digital leaders and bimodal IT gives them an opportunity to implement innovation in processes to improve efficiency. When CIO implements bimodal IT in the processes, they will be able to embrace digital humanism. An innovation that improves the efficiency, means technology that help CIO to collect customer data, customer feedback, analyze it, and find out a solution to the problems.
According to Gartner, 89% of CIOs think implementing bimodal IT can be a risk to their organization. As a matter of fact, it’s always risky to implement any new technology and CIOs as an IT leader, is needed to take the risk and stay focused to pull the company’s goals.