How IT Leaders are Grappling with Tech Change: Bi-Modal and Beyond

Add complex technologies to a large organization with many people and ask for a change initiative. The result will be like watching a coiled python swallow its prey…very…very…slowly. In an article for ZDNet by Dion Hinchcliffe, the Bi-Modal IT configuration is explored as a way to expedite enterprise innovations.

Bi-Modal IT Operation – Agile IT

The solution proposed by Gartner analysis in 2014 is called Bi-Modal IT. Bi-Modal IT takes advantage of a more agile operational model involving lean processes, rapid feedback loops, and close integration with customers and operations to create faster turnover times. This advantage comes at the expense of predictability and, sometimes, efficiency.

Bi-Modal IT Operation – Hard IT

The other side of the Bi-Modal approach involves traditional IT with its bug-free, secure, and detailed linear advancement. Hinchcliff thinks this Bi-Modal approach is only the start, that it needs considerable tweaking. First attempts of the Bi-Modal approach found the disparities between the two sides to be too extreme. This led to the creation of “Tri-Modal” IT.

Tri-Modal IT Operation – Settlers

The middle stage of the Tri-Modal approach lends an element of fluidity to the process of evolving the IT outfit. With each mode designated according to its respective role (agile staff are “pioneers,” middle stage staff are the “settlers,” and hard IT are the “town planners”), the Tri-Modal operating stratagem reconciles the three stages of IT by using the third-wheel settlers as intermediaries:

Just as we’ve seen digital networks and online communities bring a revolution to communication and collaboration in the business world, the same has actually happened to the IT model itself. The living laboratory of the digital world has actually developed for us yet another set of new workable models that takes us into the next-generation of IT.

The proof, says Hinchcliff, of the decentralized nature of today’s technology is in the decentralization and fracturing of IT itself. If leaders can adapt quickly, these new models that speed along innovation will transform IT in its entirety.

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