Bimodal IT & Why It Matters To You

Hooper Labs
July 14, 2021

IT needs for organisations has become more urgent in recent years as companies scramble to adapt to a digital economy, i.e., an economy driven by technologies that help bridge the physical and virtual worlds, such as cloud, mobile, internet of things (IoT) and virtual reality.

As consumers and workforces increasingly operate in a virtual world, businesses are realizing they not only have to rethink their legacy IT systems but also their business processes, products, customer services, and business models.

Bimodal IT is a two-tiered IT operations model that allows for the creation of IT systems and processes that are stable and predictable as well as agile and fast

This business shift is widely referred to as “digital transformation” and requires a close partnership between business and IT. Bimodal IT is a two-tiered IT operations model that allows for the creation of IT systems and processes that are stable and predictable as well as agile and fast. The term was coined in 2014 by Gartner Inc.

According to Gartner, BiModal IT is the approach where you as an organisation maintain two separate but coherent styles of work: one focused on predictability; the other on exploration.

It focuses on building a layer which is experimental over top of the stable and predictable legacy systems. The top is exploratory, experimenting to solve new problems and optimized for areas of uncertainty. These initiatives often begin with a hypothesis that is tested and adapted during a process involving short iterations, potentially adopting a minimum viable product (MVP) approach.

Both layers, the top exploratory, and the bottom legacy layer are essential to creating substantial value and drive significant organizational change, and neither is static.

Combining a more predictable evolution of products and technologies (Legacy layer) with the new and innovative exploratory layer is the essence of an enterprise bimodal capability. Both play an essential role in the digital transformation.

Harvard Business School Emeritus Professor John Kotter, for example, described a similar approach to bimodal IT in a 2011 paper “Hierarchy and Network: Two Structures, One Organization,” published in the Harvard Business Review.

Kotter laid out a case for supporting two IT operating models, a hierarchical model which promotes consistency and optimization and “a more teaming, egalitarian, and adaptive Network” mode.

“Bimodal IT creates a rapid path for business app delivery”

Digital transformation projects look significantly different from traditional application development projects. As such, a bimodal IT strategy helps categorise applications based on their value to the business, thus determining the right resources (or mode) for development and fast-tracking strategic business innovation projects.

The fundamental difference between both layers is the goal. In the top ‘exploratory’ layer, the goal is agility vs in the bottom ‘legacy’ layer its reliability. The second major difference comes in the value they both generate for your organization.

Price for performance is the driver for the ‘legacy’ layer vs revenue, brand and customer experience is the key for ‘exploratory’ layer. More differences are showcased in the infograph below –

A quick and easy way for your Bimodal IT strategy, from Hooper Hooper’s no-code application development software creates a ‘fast lane’ within your bimodal IT strategy so that you can achieve your digital goals.

Our platform augments existing IT efforts so that a separate cross-functional team of business and IT people can quickly test new digital ideas and iterate toward the perfect business solution, reducing risk on your team while keeping potential business impact high.

Our success stems from our signature visual modelling capabilities and business logic workflows that make it easy for your teams to quickly create and test their solutions in the real world.

Learn more about Hooper and creating your business ecosystem using a rapid application development platform and how it fits within your bimodal IT strategy.

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Hooper Labs