Yes – You Can Embrace Bi-Modal IT and Be Better for It

As the Digital Business Revolution rages on, we’re continuing to see businesses struggle to keep up. This blurring of the digital and physical world doesn’t show any signs of stopping, either. With the continued creation of new business designs, how does one balance the tried and true method with the exciting opportunities of innovation?

The problem that we see quite often is a misalignment between the dollars spent and the value returned. Gartner’s Pace Layered Application model shows us that IT is spending the preponderance of their budget on systems of record, even though it is the systems of Innovation and Differentiation that provide the most value and alignment to the business strategy.

This is where Bi-Modal IT comes into play, which is a term Gartner uses to describe the dual set of capabilities, activities and deliverables. It’s one of the tactics used to try and right size this conflict by dividing IT into two distinct paradigms.

bi-model-it

Take a look at the graphic above and think about this – New business models are arising daily, and it takes a different thought process and structure to keep up with the speed of change (Mode 2 on the right). For example at Daugherty, there is still a need to operate in Mode 1 (on the left), providing the rock solid reliable delivery necessary to ensure our customer’s customers are getting the value they expect. Our 30 year history is built on providing valuable, predictable, end-to-end project delivery. But, that does not conflict with our embracement of Mode 2 for systems of innovation.

For our clients, we have helped several of them move to a more agile, product-based way of thinking, where rapid deployment and feedback can provide a competitive advantage and deeper customer loyalty. This starts with a deeper alignment between the business and IT. When this happens, you can truly measure success and see the desired business outcomes that stem from this type of partnership.

The truth is that innovation is going to happen, and it will happen with or without IT’s knowledge and guidance. As we can all likely agree, IT should be the one providing the guidance and understanding of where and when to use cloud, PaaS, and SaaS, and providing the landscape and the ability to rapidly prototype and stand up proofs. However, the business has tools at hand to act as citizen innovators that are far more powerful than the old Shadow IT of the past.

While change can feel risky, an IT that embraces Mode 2 will be better positioned to ensure feasibility and sustainability of systems when prototypes and pilots turn into production systems. And yes, you can accomplish this without leaving behind the delivery excellence of Mode 1. With a Bi-Modal IT structure, it allows the business to be a partner with IT, not competitors.

Here are some things to keep in mind for embracing the culture of innovation, or Mode 2:

  • Failure is an option, and failing forward is a valid plan
  • Value driven decision support and alignment out weighs other factors
  • Consistent teams will have a sense of ownership and accountability
  • Focus on brand, experience, sentiment, and loyalty
  • Business driven, in many cases, exposes new tools and techniques
  • Be risk tolerant
  • Be Mobile, anywhere at any time
  • Low, organizational governance
  • Continuous learning