For any organization faced with a need to innovate in a digital world, a bimodal approach is essential. Bimodal is the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of developing and delivering business change, one (Mode 1) focused on stability and the other (Mode 2) focused on agility.
This strategy is particularly necessary for those enterprises not used to innovating their business and business model with technology, according to Simon Mingay, research vice president at Gartner
Gartner’s annual CIO survey indicates that close to four out of 10 enterprises have developed some level of bimodal capability. For organizations with someone fulfilling a chief digital officer (CDO) role, that number rises to half.
“However, many organizations aren’t using bimodal strategies to the fullest,” said Mr. Mingay. “Of the organizations already using a bimodal strategy, there are three main roadblocks that prevent them from becoming more bimodal.”
Culture is made up of the values, beliefs and norms of an organization. Cultural change is a complex and long-term undertaking, and bimodal is about culture change across the enterprise, not just within the IT organization.
“While the CIO has more influence over the IT organization than over the culture of the entire enterprise, they can still play an active role in highlighting and championing the wider issues,” said Mr. Mingay. “This can most effectively be done by creating experiences that will lead people to adjust their belief systems and by showing leadership, personal involvement and commitment to a bimodal approach.”
One of the key ways for the CIO to stack the cultural deck in favor of an easier bimodal introduction is to celebrate the value and contribution of both modes, and ensure equity in terms of reward, recognition, development and remuneration. “It’s crucial to not allow Mode 2 to act or be perceived as the “cool kids,’” said Mr. Mingay.
Of organizations currently adopting a bimodal approach, 13% say that they are constrained in their ability to expand the use of bimodal because they have competing priorities, with other important and/or more urgent things gaining their attention.
The usual leadership challenge of balancing important versus urgent activities applies to the development of bimodal. Getting that balance is contingent on an experienced leadership and management team working to a clear vision, with the trusted engagement of the other key business stakeholders.
To keep bimodal development moving, it’s important to create a two- to three-year vision about what capability the organization will need in the longer term.
Ten percent of organizations cite the constraints of their legacy environment as the primary limitation to them being able to further expand bimodal. While initial efforts to become bimodal focus on creating a Mode 2 capability, we know that when it gets to the point of scaling the Mode 2 capability, it is actually the renovation of the legacy environment that unleashes the full potential of bimodal. This renovation activity, and the opening up of the legacy environment, are not trivial activities. They are at the heart of why bimodal is about the investment in, and development of, both modes.
Gartner clients can read more in “The Most Common Barriers to Adopting Bimodal, and How to Overcome Them.” This report is part of the Gartner Special Report “Deliver on the Promise of Bimodal”, which is Gartner’s second series of research on bimodal, and looks at how enterprises can further develop and scale bimodal.
CIOs can learn more about bimodal IT at the Gartner CIO Leadership Forum, March 7-9 in London and the Gartner CIO & IT Executive Summits taking place June 6-7 in Munich, Germany, June 14-16 in Toronto, Canada and November 14-17 in Cancun, Mexico. Follow news and updates from the events on Twitter at #GartnerCIO.