Evolving to bimodal IT – become agile, stay stable

Muggie van Staden MD Obsidian

One of the tell-tale signs of ICT evolution within emerging markets is the advent of bimodal IT, or the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery – one focused on stability, the other on agility.
Gartner predicts that by 2017, 75% of IT organisations will have a bimodal approach.
Obsidian Systems, in conjunction with its industry partner Atlassian, are hosting Expert Accelerator Days to delve into how teams work optimally – especially those that are responsible for various stages of various modes of IT integration and application.
Teams, along with virtualised operating system and cloud serving as ‘hardware’, are the cornerstones of bimodal IT in practice. These teams require a group of people with a full set of complementary skill required to complete a task, job or project.
As a general rule the first mode is regarded as traditional and sequential, emphasising safety and accuracy. The other, mode 2, is exploratory and non-linear – emphasising agility and speed.
The key message behind bimodal IT in the context of IT management and digitisation, is that it is possible to maintain stability while being innovative.
Each mode of bimodal IT has a different, but equally essential role in supporting a stable and agile enterprise environment.
To truly leverage the dynamics of digitisation and capitalise on the evolution of IT, it is important to understand the differences between these two influential modes.
Key characteristics of traditional IT include the fact that it involves projects related to core system hardware and maintenance, and is focused on providing stability and efficiency, while adhering to more traditional development cycles.
Mode 2 involves projects that provide innovation and agility to the business. Its focus is on providing fast turnaround, while working on frequent development cycles.
Each mode needs the other in order to thrive. Without a reliable core system, innovation-flavoured projects can’t be nimble, and may not get off the ground at all.
Whereas fast-moving innovation projects build organisational “muscle memory” that help stability-focused projects to progress in an agile fashion.
There can be no doubt that bimodal IT is a reality of the emerging agile and progressive digital business. The extent to which businesses leverage this influence will depend on the extent to which they can leverage virtual open source resources.
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