In a previous article, I shared why IT teams need to better understand the needs of their business counterparts. Digitization is happening everywhere, and it’s imperative that IT participates in the discussion to help deliver the right solutions.
But currently, IT teams are tight on time and resources. Core system maintenance projects aren’t going away, and it’s unlikely that your team will grow significantly. You need a faster path forward, a way to more quickly deploy new digital solutions that delight customers and support your employees. But this requires a fundamental change to how you deliver digital applications.
Along this line, Gartner Research calls for a new strategy, focused on Bimodal IT. In addition to a traditional development team and approach, a Bimodal IT approach creates a ‘fast lane’ within the IT organization, reducing the time to market for high priority business applications.
These ‘rapid applications’ are unique and therefore cannot be managed in the same way as traditional development projects.
For example, the team and tools required for core system maintenance should be very different from those used to create self-service portals and other customer-facing apps. Despite the uniqueness of these rapid application projects, there are several characteristics to help IT identify them.
- The project is driven by the business and has fluid requirements (versus IT-led maintenance efforts which are well defined)
- The project will need to be delivered quickly to capitalize on a market opportunity or achieve competitive advantage (versus slow-moving projects geared towards commodity processes)
- The project will require frequent change, that will need to be implemented quickly in frequent iterations (versus long, linear waterfall projects)
Most often, a digitization project will fit the characteristics of a rapid app. The digital environment is new to many enterprises. And as such, creating requirements can be difficult. For many, you don’t know what you need, until you see it. And no one wants to invest time and money into building out a set of project requirements, only to find that they need to be revised.
Instead, look to fast track these digital app projects through the use of new people, processes, and technologies. By utilizing a bimodal IT strategy, IT teams can progress core system maintenance and development efforts alongside digitization and other rapid app initiatives. This concept is illustrated below.
But before you implement a bimodal IT strategy, you need to reassess and in many instances refresh your current structure.
Here’s what you need to get started:
Modernize your tools to eliminate infrastructure distractions: Our research indicates two modern development capabilities that are critical to app delivery success: having the ability to easily create and share working prototypes and utilizing an integrated deployment environment for publishing apps instantly to the cloud.
These capabilities are core components within rapid application development platforms. In addition to development and deployment components, a rapid application development platform will also support the design, management, and collaboration stages within the application lifecycle. The right platform facilitates a more iterative, flexible process that allows organizations to adapt to changing requirements, ideal for your bimodal fast lane.
Empower a new breed of developer talent: The use of visual modeling capabilities (available through rapid development platforms) over traditional coding language means that you can empower more individuals across the organization to participate in development projects. In many instances, the business users can even orchestrate their own applications within the governance set by IT.
In this instance, IT is empowering the business to create the necessary applications within the security, maintenance, and performance guidelines that they set. The right platform enables a wider variety of users with domain expertise to participate in the development process, increasing your developer population and the volume of rapid apps delivered.
Get closer to your business counterparts: Visual modeling tools and pre-built, reusable components provide productivity savings within the application delivery process. However, this alone is not enough. By facilitating closer collaboration between IT and Business, you increase the frequency of feedback which in turn ensures that your applications are built right, the first time.
The right platform provides project management features, visual development tools, and end user feedback mechanisms.
Get ahead by implementing a bimodal IT strategy
The market landscape has changed and your business needs to digitize in order to stay current and adapt to new demands. You have an opportunity to lead the business into the digital era. However, you need to act fast in order to show your business counterparts that you’re up for the challenge and able to deliver what they need.