Bi-Modal IT: The Business Case for ‘Mode 2’ IT

Dave Shepherd By Dave Shepherd August 25, 2015

In my last blog, I talked about some of the challenges and failings of ‘Mode 1’, Industrial IT in a market context that calls for greater agility and sophistication from our applications. So how does your business succeed or even compete with these challengers given your reliance on ‘Industrialised IT’? And how do you maintain and protect your as-is business models whilst winning in new markets and competing with digital competitors?’

The answer is what Gartner calls ‘Mode 2’ or exploratory IT.

I am seeing a plethora of transformation programmes, virtualisation initiatives, consolidation efforts and next generation digital strategies either being put in place, or that are happening in flight, in an effort to address these burning questions. Unfortunately I also see deadlines being missed, promises being broken and budgets being increased.

Business leaders are having their doubts and concerns around the ‘Industrialised or Traditional IT’ model reinforced while at the same time watching their once robust revenue streams be squeezed and re-imagined by new digital focused businesses. Why is this? Well, In-House IT departments have evolved to protect their business and, more importantly, the data that enables them to make decisions. Global regulation, compliance and security demands have shackled core IT applications and platforms. This has stifled innovation and stifled innovative business solutions before they ever really got started.

Many organisations now survive in ‘The Timid Middle’, stuck in-between the 2nd Platform (Traditional / Industrialised IT) and the 3rd Platform (Digital). As David Norton of Gartner says, “…this provides neither agility nor stability.”

So, the question is how we can bridge this gap given the continued requirement to deliver a stable, high performance and secure service to our businesses whilst our budgets are coming under continual pressure to be reduced and deliver increased value.

It is clear that investment decisions need to be scrutinised to ensure that they are steering a course that meets the business demand for the ‘Digital Era’ whilst ensuring continued service level agreements are met and compliance/regulatory frameworks are adhered to. So we need to identify the functions of the ‘Traditional/Industrialised IT’ that are in most need of investment, and understand the demands of the business, ensuring funds are not spent on non-strategic or outdated applications. This will let us develop a fact-based roadmap for transformation to the ‘Digital Era.’

This, of course, is easier said than done. I’ll talk about how to escape the timid middle in my final post in this series.

Dave Shepherd

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