Never mind the……Bimodal IT

I’m not a fan of Gartner’s Bimodal IT definition. There, I said it. I’m taking a contra view from the big research behemoth.

If you’re not familiar with the research, then you can find it by following this link.

In a nutshell “Mode 1” focusses on Traditional IT whereby stability and performance are of primary importance. Then “Mode 2” can be categorised as agile systems, perhaps cloud native mobile apps which can leverage IaaS, PaaS, DevOps and Continuous Engineering. Eating up cloud resources on demand, without the need for a data centre.

But not every company can be ‘just’ Mode 2. Of course startups fall into this category but that’s because they haven’t had time to build their legacy systems yet. But they will!

If we are going to use the “modal” metaphor, then maybe Trimodal is something worth considering by bringing together the best of both Mode 1 and Mode 2 in order to create something new.

Most companies which have both modes generally manage a Mode 1 system which is usually a System of Record (customer DB, transaction processing etc) and they are also developing new Mode 2 mobile/web apps that to need access the data.

Separating these two modes, as is Gartner’s latest suggestion, is in my opinion a bad idea. You will in fact cut off access to a wealth of stored value and continue to do IT badly in the old Mode 1 world.

You can still have agility in Mode 1 by embracing DevOps across the entire IT Organisation, extending your PaaS across both modes and creating a series of API’s into the legacy systems for the new front ends to exploit.

For instance a traditional Bank could challenge the more agile Challenger Banks by harnessing the power of legacy systems (creating Legacy as a Service LaaS) by opening up the core processing systems via API’s to the new cloud native, super agile, middle/front end development. They wouldn’t need to develop all the complex account processing “in the cloud” as it already exists in the system of record.

However, I must admit that in this banking example, it will never happen. Not because of the technology issues but because of bureaucracy and cultural issues in the Banks which is unfortunately why traditional banking is broken.

So many of the “disruptor” businesses of recent years have rocked traditional businesses by exploiting their love of huge internal bureaucracy and complete lack of a digital agenda. But believe me, it will get worse if you cut off access to the experience of the people who work in Mode 1.

Therefore my idea is to scrap the Bimodal conversation and build a symbiotic technology world through DevOps and PaaS whilst creating “LaaS” API’s to open up your legacy systems.

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