Bimodal IT Blueprint: Quick Tips for Mastering Mode 1 and Exploring Mode 2January 29, 2016 No Comments
Featured article by Nick Miklowski, Sales Executive at PMG
CIOs approach the concept of operating a bimodal IT department with the best intentions, but best-laid plans can often go awry. According to Gartner, 75 percent of IT departments will be bimodal by 2017. On the other hand, Gartner also predicts half of those will be functioning in complete chaos. So, why the disarray?
IT has long been bogged down in the tactical day-to-day and hasn’t had much experience working on exploratory projects that drive innovation and improvement for the business. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Brocade stated that more than half of CIOs spend greater than 50 percent of their time reactively responding to network downtime/availability. In other words, CIOs are focusing on keeping the lights on and their employee’s perceived value is based on how quickly fires are put out. This doesn’t align well with why people typically choose careers in technology, or what a company wants delivered from its IT department.
The value proposition of bimodal IT is that it enables the department to improve routine activities while moving into the fast lane for IT delivery to the business. To provide some clarity between modes, mode 1 looks at the end goal of an IT project and lends to more cost reducing, process improvement objectives. Mode 2 is focused on growing profit.
If CIOs are unfamiliar with how to adequately balance both worlds, becoming bimodal can feel a little like you’re driving without a GPS. The following are some best practices to help you master mode 1 – sustaining the predictable – and further explore mode 2 – agile creativity.
Brand Your Business Processes Accordingly
In order to have a successful bimodal approach, it’s important first for CIOs to define what each mode is and set guidelines that outline which business processes fall into each category. This type of organization allows IT to establish a consistent understanding of bimodal for the business and enables the department to know what the expectations are from leadership.
Every company and IT department operates differently, but generally processes or projects designated as mode 2 should be considered market differentiators. Typically, they provide features, capabilities and usage that is new to the market. As such, mode 2 requires constant improvements, an iterative, experimental style, not to mention a “fail fast” mentality. A business’ main goal is to drive revenue and mode 2 projects can typically grow the top line.
Mode 1 should be reserved for system maintenance, stability and efficiency. Mode 1 is very risk averse as a result of the nature of the systems it touches – i.e. financial applications, HR systems, infrastructure, and the like. Mode 1 projects typically involve a slower cycle.
This doesn’t necessarily mean they are any less innovative or strategic. Internal projects centered on orchestrating business processes across multiple systems, removing manual activities, reducing emails and spreadsheet maintenance, and improving uptime are all value-add initiatives. Looking for new ways to incorporate integration, automation, and analysis can keep mode 1 interesting and innovative.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
With advancements in integration capabilities and low-code automation technology, CIOs can streamline many mode 1 needs and allocate more resources toward mode 2 trailblazing. This is why there has been a rise in companies looking to implement flexible, configurable platforms that support both modes.
Utilizing intuitive technology puts more power back in the hands of the business user allowing them to manage their own mode 1 needs without much IT intervention – freeing up more time for IT. New technology also can strengthen mode 2. Tools that provide analytical insights and greater business intelligence, for example, equip IT with the capabilities it needs to serve as an internal consultant for the business. These days, there is no lack of data. The true value comes from knowing how to leverage that information to improve the business.
When Plans Meet Action
At the crux of bimodal there is an opportunity for IT to transition from maintenance to strategist. The trick to getting to that point is a CIO’s blueprint for long-term bimodal success. By mapping out processes, prioritizing goals and introducing technology to better facilitate mode 1 and enhance mode 2, IT can ultimately gain more visibility as a vital part of the business.Featured Articles