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Bi-modal IT - yes or no?

Maturing bi-modal IT can help executives sell cloud projects to the board

First posited by Gartner in 2014, bi-modal IT is presented as a shorthand for modern IT management. CIOs, so the analyst theory goes, should focus on two streams of work simultaneously - the first concerns traditional operational concerns, the second focuses on innovation.

Theory, of course, does not always match practice - so, in a modern era of digital business, how is bi-modal IT bearing up? In many ways, the results are mixed. Twelve months ago, we suggested that cloud computing was forcing CIOs and their business peers to re-evaluate their functions and that some form of layering, such as bi-modal IT, could help.

Evidence suggests reliance on the cloud has continued to increase, with on-demand IT fast-becoming the key mechanism to provision enterprise technology. Paul Pogonoski, director at Capgemini, says 2017 is a tipping point in terms of the cloud, saying business leaders recognise that new IT projects must take full advantage of the cloud.

To this end, bi-modal IT can help executives to receive buy-in for their digital transformation initiatives. Too many organisations still view IT as simply an operational service. Bi-modal IT can support executives as they present digital transformation as something separate and a line item worthy of new investment.

However, the best way to make use of bi-modal IT is probably to avoid using the term explicitly. Senior board members are bored of over-sold technology concepts. Rather than hype, they need value. CIOs should work alongside business sponsors and use the mechanics of bi-modal IT to build a business case for innovative services.

Just as cloud has reached a tipping point, so has bi-modal IT. There is now no need to talk about cloud projects in insolation, as on-demand IT is a business as normal activity. The same is true for bi-modal IT, which should be simply seen as mechanism to help CIOs make best use of available funding, rather than a way to manage IT in the long term.

Bi-modal IT is maturing to the point where it should not be viewed as a standalone leadership tactic. Just like the cloud, bi-modal IT is simply another tool in the CIO kitbag - and that's not a bad thing, as it provides another option to help technology leaders and their business peers to embrace digital transformation.



Earlier piece on bi-modal IT:


Expert evidence and Pogonoski:


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