If you have not read our earlier article on ‘What is BiModal IT and how is it important for your organization’, we highly recommend you to read that first. If you have already read, it means you somehow understand the basis of this idea and want to understand how it could be implemented for your organization.
Rethink your Legacy layer
A common misconception or confusion that organizations have when starting with a bimodal IT strategy, according to Gartner, is that Mode 1 IT processes and cultures do not need to change. But while scaling mode 2, you need to make some changes to mode 1 which is the legacy layer. As organizations move to a bimodal approach, they must renovate their legacy IT systems, the Gartner report stressed, because these systems are often fragile. CIOs need to work closely with the infrastructure and operations team to enforce strict change management practices.
Legacy systems are a good place to start when moving to bimodal IT. Leadership should determine which legacy systems are core to the digital ecosystem that will be the foundation for business transformation. They may decide to outsource noncore systems or move them to software as a service (SaaS). Systems that are core to business transformation are typically modernized, architected or replaced. According to Gartner, Companies aiming to be digital leaders in their industries or ones that are directly threatened by digital competitors, spend “tens or hundreds of millions of dollars on core systems renovation” over a one-to-two-year time frame instead of the more typical three-to-five-year span.
Leadership should determine which legacy systems are core to the digital ecosystem that will be the foundation for business transformation.
Cultural obstacles are often cited as the single biggest threat to launching a bimodal strategy. In addition to renovating core IT systems, Leadership, therefore, must be prepared to directly address the cultural factors that can jeopardize a bimodal strategy.
Outbound vs. Inbound
Starting small is the key to BiModal IT. Learn by doing it, not by reading out. Organizations should choose some projects they believe will be best managed by Mode 2. In its early advice on bimodal IT, Gartner stated that Mode 1 tends to involve systems of record, that is, back-end systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP). Mode 2 is anchored in systems of innovation or projects and front office applications that have an effect on customer experience and often rely on technologies such as cloud, big data and analytics, and IoT.
When coming up with innovation projects suited for Mode 2, it is important to not get bogged down in idea generation and management, Gartner warns, but to start incubating ideas quickly to test their viability, which will require funds, resources and a framework for measuring innovation.Also, when making the distinction between Mode 1 and Mode 2 projects, IT leadership should keep in mind that some of the new practices and technologies developed and deployed in customer-facing Mode 2 projects, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, augmented reality and IoT, will eventually be cycled back to Mode 1 as organizations scale their bimodal strategies
Agile, lean, DevOps
Mode 2, which puts a premium on IT agility and speed and emphasizes learning through iteration, incorporates principles and skills associated with other development approaches that many CIOs have implemented. These approaches include:
- Agile, the software development methodology which anticipates the need for flexibility when delivering a product.
- Lean management, which stresses the need for continuous improvement and the elimination of unnecessary or repetitive business processes.
- DevOps, the blending of tasks performed by a company’s application development and systems operations teams.
Lean management, which stresses the need for continuous improvement and the elimination of unnecessary or repetitive business processes.* DevOps, the blending of tasks performed by a company’s application development and systems operations teams.
When leadership scale bimodal beyond IT, the way the enterprise thinks and behaves changes — in fact, the entire operating mode changes, affecting internal processes across the organization.
The governance strategy for BiModal IT
Moving to an operating model based on joint business-IT functioning, Gartner warns, will be a hard challenge for many organizations and will not happen overnight. At many organizations, processes were developed for control, not business agility; these processes support a hierarchal structure and top-down decision-making, not the flat organizations and self-organizing teams that many experts believe are key to agility, innovation and digital transformation.
At many organizations, processes were developed for control, not business agility
Changing these processes to enable bimodal IT will require the involvement of senior leadership and will raise some issues, including changes to how IT is funded and changes to how program and portfolio management teams have traditionally operated, Gartner states. It will require a careful analysis of governance procedures that add bureaucracy but not much value. New bimodal governance processes should be aimed at enabling self-organizing teams with fewer management layers. Given the important role of teams in a bimodal IT approach, performance policies will also need to shift from a sole focus on individual performance to team outcomes.
BiModal IT ready Teams
The bimodal effect on organizations, for more delegated decision-making, and more team and individual autonomy means that CIOs will need to find and develop people who can operate in such an environment. Gartner believes that employees have “innate competencies that favor Mode 1 or Mode 2,” with Mode 2 skills and traits being less prevalent in traditional IT organizations than Mode 1.
Leadership will need to figure out how to acquire Mode 2 capabilities; Gartner recommends they start by creating detailed “talent profiles” for bimodal jobs and using universities and nontraditional sources to build talent pipelines. As organizations scale bimodal IT, Gartner emphasizes the need for “versatilists,” or IT people who can take on a “broader set of roles.”
What bimodal IT means for the leadership
Business’s need for two-speed & two-layer systems, whether it is called bimodal or something else, is changing the traditional leadership roles, propelling leaders who are up to the challenge of digital transformation into a more business-centric role than perhaps ever before in the history of the job. Conversely, some companies are finding that using IT to compete in the digital domain calls for a different kind of IT expert than the CIO who is traditionally responsible for delivering bullet-proof, day-to-day IT operations. People who can implement quick solutions and play them on the field are the level of skills you now need for your organization.
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 modeling capabilities and business logic workflows that make it easy for your teams to quickly create and test their solutions in the real world. There are three core components that contribute to:
Support across the entire application lifecycle enabling speed and agility throughout the design, build, deploy, iterate, and manage stages of the cycle.
Abstraction from code enabling a wider variety of users with the domain expertise to participate in the development process, increasing your developer population as well as their overall productivity.
Collaboration tools enabling better project management and feedback cycles so that your projects stay on track and you deliver the highest-quality apps.
Learn more about Hooper and creating your business ecosystem using a rapid application development platform and how it fits within your bimodal IT strategy.