I’m sure you’ve heard of the recent high profile discussions about how to bring much-needed innovation to mature companies that are carrying the comforting ballast of old fashioned infrastructure. That infrastructure is the greatest impediment to agility and innovation (unless you count the people and culture that go along with it). I first heard about “bimodal” at a local Gartner program a few weeks ago and found the concept both thrilling and disturbing.
The idea of bimodel divorces the reliable and stable back-office (Mode 1 “Core”) from all that is innovative (Mode 2 “Innovation”). This means that innovation is explicitly separate, with new, presumably agile, infrastructure to create new lines of business for generating new revenue streams, and to provide more contemporary modes of interacting with consumers and employees.I’m a little concerned that a bi-modal declaration promotes an easy way out for Mode 1 laggards. Their management no longer have to worry about modernizing or even interacting with Mode 2. In approaching the problem this way, we are continuing to be enablers of the infrastructure and its management who are addicted and afraid to even try to wean from their brittle, ancient technologies and methodologies. I suspect that part of the reason that we got to this point is their continued abdication of decisions and recommendations to vendors and consultants on the dead side of bimodal. With advancement generally limited to creative marketing and re-messaging the same 20-year-old technologies and ideas, the name-brand consultants in enterprise IT nominally grab the buzz but only deliver it on the periphery.
I definitely agree that relying on the Mode 1 (reliable, stable) IT is highly unlikely to bring significant innovation, and I also believe that the best way to get real innovation underway is to completely separate it out, with different people, skill sets, management, and objectives. But if we imagine how this will play out, there is likely to be a complete bifurcation where the innovative side never is able to leverage the back-office functions. They will inevitably invent their own (less reliable and less stable) versions of back-office. What happens then? Mode 1 eventually dies on the vine? We regress to pre-1980 basics? Business in general accepts worse performance on the backend functions?
(You didn't really try clicking that button, did you?)
It’s probably obvious that my take is that BOTH modes should advance aggressively, ‘though I do believe the innovative side should be unencumbered by the Old World. Mode 1 management should take this as a gauntlet to push hard to replace their integration infrastructure with Agile Integration Software, such as Stone Bond’s Enterprise Enabler®, which is a proven enterprise-ready framework that boosts agility, interacts with both Mode 1 and Mode 2 applications and data, and offers up to 90% reduction in time to production along with a huge reduction in tech debt. That is what is needed for companies to survive and enjoy a competitive advantage in the coming years.You Mode 1 people do have a choice. You can continue as is and sit by waiting for your inevitable demise, or you can be the hero that solidly bridges Mode 2 and Mode 1. We are seeing this successfully implemented by forward-looking CIOs. So, find a leader and press GO!