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Is bimodal IT the answer to the digital revolution?

30 Aug 16

With the increasing pressure for organisations to adapt for the digital revolution, bimodal IT can help create substantial value and drive organisational change.

That’s according CenturyLink, who says many businesses struggle to implement bimodal IT, align it to the business and bring it into a single delivery model. 

“The acceleration of next-generation technology is causing a widening chasm between legacy and emerging technology,” says Stuart Mills, regional director, Australia and New Zealand, CenturyLink.

“Businesses are challenged by the investment and expertise needed to keep up the pace. Bimodal IT offers the opportunity for organisations to combine their existing IT systems and governance mechanisms, with the agility of new application development,” he explains.

Research firm Gartner recommends IT leaders develop a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) strategy using a bimodal approach, rather than adopting a hybrid cloud approach based solely on extending existing infrastructure investments, Mills says.

“The different infrastructure requirements of the two modes can make it difficult to implement. Organisations need to think how they will start the transition to bimodal IT.

"It’s possible to choose between limited, project based bimodal or a more radical company-wide approach,” he says.

“Ultimately, the culture and politics of the business will decide which course is taken.”

Mills says choosing the all-in path to bimodal IT requires the IT department to place its legacy systems in the background to keep the business running, and plunge into mode 2.

“There are often issues to contend with that will challenge embedded cultures and attitudes,” he says.

“Existing staff will need to be retrained, and staff with new skills sets will need to be hired. New tools that focus on managing automation rather than caring for servers individually will also need to be adopted,” Mills explains.

“Most importantly, the organisation will need to adopt new application development and deployment philosophies.” 

Mills says that while it sounds like an extreme makeover, the business benefits may be worth the dramatic change.

“Working with a service provider to implement the changes, whether in limited projects or company-wide, can help to tackle the bimodal approach,” says Mills.

“It can also reinvigorate the culture of an organisation, and concurrently develop new business values that match those of the agile and responsive digital revolution,” he says.

To overcome the potential issue of siloed people and processes created through bimodal IT, and its two-speed operation style, Mills says it is important to think of bimodal IT as a theoretical lens through which to consider the organisation’s IT requirements for the future. 

“The theory and application of bimodal IT can be used to think about the matters of adoption, integration, implementation, risk and innovation within the organisation,” Mills says.

“It can help businesses appreciate the challenges faced by IT departments. Ultimately, the organisation should avoid isolating its legacy IT and development teams; instead, adopt learnings from both groups to develop a blended IT operation model that suits the business’ needs,” he explains.

“This will ensure the organisation balances responsiveness and reliability to deliver an IT model that fits the budget and culture, in the age of digital transformation.” 

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