Press Release

ORLANDO, Fla., October 6, 2014 View All Press Releases

Gartner Says in the Digital World CIOs Need Bimodal IT: Rock Solid IT with Ability for Fluidity

Analysts Outline the Digital Humanist Manifesto to Help IT Organizations to Keep Up With Technological Advances During Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2014, October 5-9, in Orlando

CIOs need a rock solid and efficient IT operation that frees up time and resources for innovation, and just as important in digital business, they need to be fluid, according to Gartner, Inc. In digital business, IT leaders must be part solid and part fluid to succeed.

Gartner analysts examined the need for bimodal IT in a digital world during the opening keynote today at the sold out Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, which is taking place here through Thursday.

Being rock solid is not enough for IT leaders. The digital business asks for fluidity. Business moments are the opportunities that are personalized, that connect multiple services that trigger human behaviors, and need to respond to a wide variety of human behaviors.

“Last year we introduced the concept of bimodal IT. Originally, it was meant as a way to deal with agile development, but the concept has expanded greatly since then, and so has adoption,” said Daryl Plummer managing vice president and Gartner Fellow. “Forty-five percent of CIOs state they currently have a fast mode of operation, and we believe that by 2017 75 percent of IT organizations will have gone bi-modal in some way.”

Traditional IT has focused on operational excellence. IT has been like rocks in a river. In contrast, the digital world is in continuous flow. In “business moments”, businesses can leverage some “digitalized” process to create new opportunities. Those moments are supported by more fluid form of IT, more flexible and ready for anything.

“Fluidity is a fundamental quality of digital business because it operationalizes business moments,” Mr. Plummer said. “Institutionalizing business moments means you build ‘always on’ opportunities to leverage serendipity. You allow the unanticipated to happen through enabling the users of the technology to evolve the use of the technology all on their own. That separates digital business from all other business styles. It’s always on.”

With Innovation Comes Risk

Eighty-nine percent of CIOs say that the digital world is creating new types and levels of risk for their business. The complexity of digital business means that IT leaders will experience unintended consequences.

“In digital business, you must change your relationship with risk. Digital risk is not something to mitigate. Instead, embrace risk. Risk is a conscious leadership decision,” Mr. Plummer said. “Treat your ability to manage specific risks as a competency and capability. Focus, so you can see what risks are worth taking. Accepting risk is okay; ignoring risk is tragic.”

Digital Humanism

With all the talk about big data analytics, sensor technology, business process management, it’s sometimes forgotten that business moments are human moments. There’s a conflict between what an IT leader can do, and what they should do.

“Digital humanists believe that technology is there to put people at the center. To enable them to do things they want to do, or what they don’t know is possible. The virtue of technology comes out of being able to help people realize their ambitions,” said Richard Hunter vice president and Gartner Fellow. “The digital humanist thinks in terms of behaviors, emotions and interactions, not traditional processes.”

The Digital Humanist Manifesto

Gartner believes the emergence of digital business requires that IT leaders shift the balance toward digital humanism. Therefore, Gartner has created the Digital Humanist Manifesto. The manifesto includes three principals. They include:

Put People at the Center - All design should be human centered design. It starts with observing people. Don’t ask people for their requirements. Everybody, even colleagues in the rest of the business have trouble formulating them. Don’t ask people what they want, watch what they do. Observe.

Embrace Unpredictability – While embracing the unexpected is not a new concept, it is particularly relevant for digital business. The moment a company’s digital technology is out there, in the hands of the users, it will start to affect their behavior. What you can do as a leader is listen and get out of the way. The business results will be: new products, new brand ambassadors, new markets, and true competitive differentiation.

Protect Personal Space – Let people make their own decisions. The digital humanist adopts what is called “privacy by design”. They take privacy into account throughout the whole life cycle.

The rules include:

  • Everything you do is opt-in
  • The customer profile you keep is open to the customer
  • Do not use information for personalization that the customer didn’t share with you
  • Identify sensitive situations
  • Ultimate, apply the Golden Rule: How would you like to be treated as a customer, citizen and a human being

About Gartner Symposium/ITxpo

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the world's most important gathering of CIOs and senior IT executives. This event delivers independent and objective content with the authority and weight of the world's leading IT research and advisory organization, and provides access to the latest solutions from key technology providers. Gartner's annual Symposium/ITxpo events are key components of attendees' annual planning efforts. IT executives rely on Gartner Symposium/ITxpo to gain insight into how their organizations can use IT to address business challenges and improve operational efficiency.

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About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. The company delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the valuable partner to clients in approximately 10,000 distinct enterprises worldwide. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, and has 8,300 associates, including more than 1,800 research analysts and consultants, and clients in more than 90 countries. For more information, visit

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