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Bimodal IT model: Strategies vary for modes 1 and 2

In this era of digitization, more CIOs are considering implementing a bimodal IT strategy to help them deliver successful business outcomes. The bimodal IT model encompasses two simultaneous application development and IT management processes -- one traditional and the other innovative. Mode 1 focuses on basic IT functions, developing stable and reliable applications, while Mode 2 is more exploratory and focuses on agility. It encourages some risk-taking and experimentation in the organization to generate new revenue sources.

In this webcast presentation, Kurt Marko, analyst at MarkoInsights, discusses the major takeaways from the bimodal IT model. Read on to find out about the priorities, strategies for each mode, how to make Mode 1 applications more reliable and incorporate more expertise into developing Mode 2 applications. He also discusses the role cloud services can play with both these modes of IT delivery.

Editor's note: The following is a transcript of the fourth and final excerpt of Marko's webcast presentation on the bimodal IT model. It has been edited for clarity and length.

Kurt Marko: One of the key points that I would like for you to take away from this is that bimodal, while it is a way of organizing IT, it's more importantly a way to think about your IT strategies. And it's a useful technique for assessing your application inventory, your IT projects and your strategies, and buttoning them in to areas where the Mode 1-type activities are, where the goal and the requirements are to shore up your mission-critical workloads and to enhance reliability and stability.

And the Mode 2-type of activities where you really want to incorporate new Agile development processes, techniques, DevOps, continuous delivery, in order to stimulate new business and digital business development.

So, the Mode 2 way of, the Mode 2 structure if you will, it allows or it creates a low-risk way for trying new ideas and for trying new IT business processes. So looking at another key point to take away from this is we're going to look at opportunities for IT in each of the modes. So, as you assess strategies for each bucket of your IT portfolio. So, for Mode 1 activities, the mission has to be looking at bolstering their reliability, their resilience, their scalability of those mission-critical applications and infrastructure.

So, you'll want to assess, and one way of doing that, as we mentioned, is to take some cues from cloud design techniques. So, assess distributed, scale-out architectures that many of the cloud shops are using, but not so much with an idea of moving them to an Amazon. But with looking at how those sorts of architectures might be applied to your Mode 1 portfolio in ways that further enhance the reliability and scalability, and perhaps even efficiency of those applications.

The bimodal IT model and the cloud

Along with that, you'll want to look at building a hybrid cloud infrastructure. This will be useful not only for Mode 1 applications in the future, but it also can provide a platform for development and testing for some of those Mode 2 developers. So that, when they become a more important part of your IT, you'll be able to pull some of that in-house.

So, for Mode 1, you'll want to prioritize your investment, identify those systems that are really on long-term life support where the emphasis is just going to be on maintenance, versus those that are having a midlife crisis where you need some intervention, and you need some reinvigoration, as Gartner would put it. And there, you'll want to see the degree to which you can apply some of these cloud architectures and cloud infrastructure to do that.

In Mode 2, you'll want to start with public cloud and shift to private if and when it's warranted and available.
Kurt Markoanalyst, MarkoInsights

So, finally, we're looking at Mode 2 opportunities. This is where your greenfield applications and business ideas are going to come in. But these really are going to be focused on cloud-based applications and infrastructures, and you're going to want to be building design skills that utilize cloud architectures and microservice way of thinking about building applications.

In Mode 2, you'll want to start with public cloud and shift to private if and when it's warranted and available. But probably more important is just really starting to build expertise in a more rapid way of bringing products to market. So this includes Agile development methodologies, DevOps, development and deployment processes -- and probably a new culture that may be more risk-tolerant, may be a little more free-spirited, but one that does encourage innovation.

You'll want to catalyze some of those digital business experiments, those ideas that come from your line-of-business partners. And this is where the Mode 2 structure will help cut through some of the red tape and bring those ideas to fruition much more rapidly.

Skill sets for two-speed IT

But to that end, you're going to need to incorporate some new or build new skill sets in your Mode 2 side of the organization. Some of these are not all inclusive, but it will include things like mobile application and development, expertise for the client side, IoT [internet of things] for getting some experience in capturing large streams of data and analyzing it from different devices, whether they're consumer devices, industrial devices, what have you. There are some very unique skill sets and products out there available for the challenge of that data flood from IoT.

See other excerpts from this webcast presentation on two-speed IT

Part 1: Bimodal IT strategy explained.

Part 2: Mode 1 vs. Mode 2.

Part 3: Myths vs. facts.

Another area or another thing to look at is incorporating continuous delivery methodologies where you focus less on big-bang product releases and more on little bite-size, incremental improvements.

And another point of Mode 2 IT is often they will include multidisciplinary teams that extend beyond the traditional IT pro resource pool and include teams with expertise and mobile UIs, the whole application user experience, maybe different groups with expertise in cloud services and back ends. And also you'll probably want some people from, with more traditional IT operations, expertise, as well as liaisons to business units and their developers, whether they're in product divisions or in more IT systems organizations.

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What kind of expertise and experience do you look for in teams responsible for developing Mode 2 applications of the bimodal IT model?
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