Gartner Research

Bimodal IT: How to Be Digitally Agile Without Making a Mess

Published: 15 July 2014

ID: G00268866

Analyst(s): Simon Mingay , Mary Mesaglio


Effective IT execution often lacks urgency — and commitment to bearing the costs, and managing the demands, that an increase in speed and agility would bring. With bimodal IT, CIOs can overcome this inertia, help their departments meet the digital challenge, and ultimately bring the enterprise along.

Table Of Contents
  • Key Question
  • Opportunities and Challenges
  • How This Report Will Help


Executive Summary

  • The imperative of bimodal IT
  • Start with Project Bimodal
  • Amplify with Enterprise Bimodal

The Imperative Of Bimodal IT

  • The technology-enabled world demands that IT become bimodal
  • In most enterprises, scattered Mode 2 capabilities already exist
  • Case Study: The Government of Singapore links front-end services with back-end agencies and data
  • The value of bimodal goes beyond doing things faster
  • If IT doesn't act, the digital void will be filled anyway
  • Case Study: Priority Health adopts a bimodal IT strategy to comply with new laws
  • CIOs should start bimodal IT even before they feel ready

Start With Project Bimodal

  • The Mode 2 team: Find inquisitive people who thrive on change
  • Case Study: Creating a bimodal personality at Luxottica
  • Mastering a bimodal mindset
  • Leadership and political cover matter more than reporting lines
  • Mode 2 hinges on continuous process-based governance
  • Case Study: Carfax steers Mode 2 via powerful sense-and-respond capabilities
  • Governance varies with a Mode 2 project's category
  • Case Study: Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics cultivates ambidexterity
  • Adopt a non-waterfall development methodology
  • In Mode 2, the business relationship manager and the innovation manager are one
  • Case Study: MTR Corporation's bimodal IT team operates on two tracks

Amplify With Enterprise Bimodal

  • Executive planning and budgeting: Plan and fund projects in tranches, as value is proven
  • Synchronize the two modes at defined points
  • Case Study: Bimodality and the burden of transition at the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
  • Infrastructure and operations: Don't just push the bottleneck downstream
  • Architecture: Guard against technical debt
  • Sourcing: Build a wealth of partners
  • Conclusion

Further Reading

  • Related content
  • Gartner Executive Programs reports
  • Core research
  • Website

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