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Gartner vs. Forrester: Where Does the CIO Stand?

CMO Keith Alsheimer believes that IT too often places itself in the middle of fights that do not need to be won. “Open source vs. proprietary.  Java vs. .Net.  Linux vs. Unix,” etc. The current battle is between Gartner’s bimodal IT approach and Forrester’s opposing perspective. In an article for Information Age, Alsheimer discusses the conflict and what it should mean to the CIO.

The Division

Gartner’s division of IT into two artificial parts (Modes 1 and 2) may sound contrived, especially since the two parts are encouraged to communicate and collaborate as frequently as possible anyway. And at the rate of technological change, bimodal IT could probably already use a revision. However, what the bimodal approach is really trying to do is the same as what other methods attempt—to create more ability to lead effectively. Strong leaders simply create successful teams. If considered in this light, bimodal IT is not so wicked, and Alsheimer reveals himself as a pretty blatant proponent of it. Here is how he thinks of Modes 1 and 2:

…mode one isn’t about keeping the lights on – it’s possibly the hardest job of all because it requires the IT team to cut costs, improve efficiency and create a platform for agile development. That is an almost impossible task, especially in huge companies with disparate, complex legacy systems. Anyone who belittles this task is clearly not in IT.

Mode two is not the cool, counter-culture kids rebelling against their staid parents.  Their success depends on being able to integrate new technologies into their organisations, which add value and not another layer of complexity.

The CIO can convey as much when dictating the framework. So among other things, it seems Alsheimer’s stance is that bimodal IT can work when approached with the right attitude and placed in the appropriate business context by the CIO. Do you agree? You can view the entirety of his argument—which has a tendency to meander—here:

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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