The future of IT is bimodal: Gartner

In a recent conference, Gartner explains why the future of enterprise IT is bimodal. Here’s what this emerging buzzword is all about and its relevance.

Anil Chopra
New Update
Bimodal IT

NEW DELHI, INDIA: On one side, IT is not able to respond fast enough to growing business demands, and on the other, organizations are seeing new and unimaginable competition emerge in the new digital era. As a result, organizations are resorting to different paths to transform themselves and combat this digital disruption. According to Gartner, the solution lies in enterprise IT going bimodal, where IT is split into traditional and fast moving IT. Here’s what we understand from it after interacting with Partha Iyengar, Gartner India’s chief.


What is Bimodal IT?

A new model prescribed by Gartner for enterprise IT organization of the future. It states that moving forward, enterprise IT would be split into two parts. Mode 1 would comprise of the traditional, slow moving IT, which would manage existing IT infrastructure and ensure it remains stable and secure with full governance and compliance measures.

Mode 2 on the other hand will be more agile and experimental. It would use agile methodologies and new technologies to meet new business demands. Owing to its nature, it would be more tightly aligned with business and help the organization with faster go-to-market.


Why’s it needed?

There are enough studies to indicate that traditional IT is not able to keep up with growing business demands. That’s also a key reason for the emergence of shadow IT, especially the rogue part of it, where the business head, like the CMO goes ahead and implements a technology on his own because IT can’t offer the solution fast enough. CIOs also try and meet these demands by experimenting with new technologies, but most of this action happens in silos. Gartner has formalized the entire process and calls it bimodal IT. The concept prescribes a path that enterprises could follow on how to evaluate the need for bimodal, how to create a strategy around it, how to move along the bimodal path, what are the key ingredients, etc.

What is Gartner’s Approach to Bimodal IT?


Gartner has defined a five phased approach for bimodal IT. The first phase is about starting fast and not get into analysis paralysis. If the organization has to roll out a marketing campaign in three months, then IT can’t take six months to do the requirement analysis. Bimodal IT becomes the need of the hour here so you start fast and propose the plan. The second phase is to launch the plan by moving into a flurry of small changes, running a few PoCs and delivering some early results, so that it can quickly move into the execution phase. The third phase is really about being able to execute and iterate quickly in small cycles so that the project is released in months instead of years. In phase IV, you start analyzing all the learnings from the first three phases and refine it so that it can be made scalable. Finally, in the last phase, you take it enterprise wide.

How can IT move faster by becoming bimodal?

Mode 2 of bimodal is really about ignoring the fundamental building blocks of traditional IT, which resides in mode 1. You quickly identify what needs to be done, whom it’s to be done for, don’t look at too much of governance, but straightaway start using agile and DevOps that bypasses the staged process of development, testing, production, etc. Instead, you develop something and constantly test and move into operations and continue doing iterations in very small cycles.

All this of course raises a lot of ominous questions like whether traditional IT is gradually coming to an end, who’ll control the new IT, how to balance a slow moving and agile IT, will it help end shadow IT, etc.

We've attempted to answer these questions here.