Bimodal IT is mostly BS and will lead to failure, says IDC

For those CIOs on the bimodal IT bandwagon IDC sees trouble ahead and possibly a 2019 train wreck.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Research firm IDC is arguing that by 2019 about 80 percent of CIOs that focused on so-called bimodal IT "will accumulate a crippling technical debt resulting in spiraling complexity, costs, and lost credibility."

So how do you really feel IDC?

Here's how Gartner defines bimodal IT:

Bimodal IT is the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the other on agility. Mode 1 is traditional and sequential, emphasizing safety and accuracy. Mode 2 is exploratory and nonlinear, emphasizing agility and speed.

In other words, enterprises are expected to run IT operations in two-speed silos. Half the infrastructure is legacy with the other half being the agile approach that innovates and drives revenue.

There are a few interesting threads to ponder in IDC's prediction. For starters, IDC's prediction was part of its 2017 CIO outlook. Some of the predictions were not that surprising--especially around digital transformation. But the bimodal item caught my eye.

More: IT leaders inundated with bimodal IT meme | Department of Corrections goes bi-modal to slash reoffending | Gartner's digital transformation, IT crystal ball for 2017: Reading between the lines

Bimodal IT as a term has become a meme that won't die. It's also worth noting that Gartner has pushed the bimodal talk about as far as it can. Perhaps IDC just wants to poke Gartner in the eye.

But what IDC is really arguing is that the concept of bimodal is fundamentally flawed and will implode. Since vendors, companies and even the federal government seem to be on the bimodal bandwagon, IDC is basically predicting a train wreck ahead.

As Dion Hinchcliffe recently noted, bimodal IT is either the next big thing or a flawed template that'll result in failure. IDC has picked its side and any CXO might want to bone up on the concept a bit more before any all-or-nothing bets.

IDC's other predictions for CIOs include:

  • Prediction 1: By 2019, 40% of IT projects will create new digital services and revenue streams that monetize data.
  • Prediction 2: By 2018, 65% of IT organizations will create new customer-facing and ecosystem-facing services to meet the business DX needs.
  • Prediction 3: Lack of vision, credibility, or ability to influence will keep 40% of CIOs from attaining leadership roles in enterprise DX by 2017.
  • Prediction 4: By 2019, 75% of CIOs will recognize the limitations of traditional IT and embrace a leadership approach that embodies a virtuous cycle of innovation (Leading in 3D).
  • Prediction 5: 40% of CIOs will advance DX initiatives by building organizational linkages with line of business (LOB) technology teams and across IT organizational silos, empowering changes in thinking, culture, and practices by 2018.
  • Prediction 6: By 2019, 80% of bimodal IT organizations will accumulate a crippling technical debt resulting in spiraling complexity, costs, and lost credibility.
  • Prediction 7: 45% of CIOs will shift primary focus from physical to digital and move away from BPM and optimization by 2018 to deliver scale, predictability, and speed.
  • Prediction 8: By 2018, 45% of CIOs will focus on platformization, using DevOps for rapid development, cost reduction, and enterprise agility.
  • Prediction 9: By 2019, 70% of IT organizations will shift their culture to a startup-like work environment by embracing Agile practices and open source communities
  • Prediction 10: By 2017, 80% of CIOs will help drive global risk portfolios that enable adaptive responses to security, compliance, business, or catastrophic threats.
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