CIOIT-Business Alignment

Saying Goodbye to Bimodal IT

The quest to meld stability and agility is a war yet to be won. Major players in business have been hyping bimodal IT as the solution, but what if this pursuit is a fool’s errand? Despite the advancement and promises made from bimodal IT, Mark A. Campbell, writing for CIO Insight, still believes this innovation will fall short.

Where the Logic Stops

What is bimodal IT? According to Gartner, this IT practice helps to manage two distinct modes of IT delivery, one with attention paid to stability and the other focused on agility. However, this could amount to beating a dead horse. Gartner does have an excellent track record for recognizing and enacting plans in regards to the IT industry, so bimodal may have some merit. However, according to Campbell, this is an “impractical invention.”

Bimodal IT promises that it is a new approach, when in actuality it is addressing an old problem. The struggle between stability and agility goes back to the days of wooden clubs and the invention of the wheel. Agility versus stability is also not the true problem because the issues run much deeper. A multi-model approach needs to be developed and bimodal IT is simply not performing to that. To top it all off, bimodal IT is not a sustainable solution, and it does not offer a long-term resolution. For instance, there is what Campbell calls “slender lock-in” from lack of sustainability:

New and emerging applications are wedged into one of two narrow modes and forever locked into a modus operandi that will undoubtedly prove to be ill-suited in the long-term. Bimodal IT closes the avenues for evolving Mode 1 legacy applications into more nimble Mode 2 offerings or, conversely hardening agile prototypes into stable back-end offerings.

Gartner offers a great answer; it just is not developed far enough in the areas of concern it needs to address. Instead, Campbell suggests forcing innovation to the heart of the business and pursuing creative alternatives by any means necessary. IT is surrounded by companies that have effectively implemented a program to better integrate agility and stability. IT can make it happen too.

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