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Bi-modal IT is not enough to support the digital enterprise

ENM staff | July 12, 2016
Bi-modal IT erroneously and counter-productively asserts that technology must be kept in silos, asserts IDC.

While the terms digitisation and digitalisation are often used interchangeably, the difference between them is growing clearer as technology disruption increasingly impacts the business landscape, according to IDC.

Digitisation was the onus of businesses at the very beginning of the IT revolution, when the prerogative was simply to migrate analog to digital, while automation sought to expedite work processes and streamline results.

Meanwhile, digitalisation requires technology to be integrated with organisational, operational, and business model innovations to enable the business to change the way they operate and/or create revenue streams.

As such, the digital transformation (DX) economy demands CIOs to protect business' viability while fully exploring the potential of technology as a change agent. While several schools of thought have emerged, suggesting the best, balanced path forward to digital transformation, few are as misaligned with digital transformation as bi-modal or two-speed IT, according to IDC.

IDC stated that bi-modal IT erroneously and counter-productively asserts that technology must be kept in silos; while one practice is focused on delivering IT services, maintaining stability and efficiency, the other takes on more experimental approach to deliver innovation. This approach naively promises a low-risk way to try out new ideas and new IT business processes whilst keeping the proverbial lights on.

In understanding the demands of true digital transformation, it must be stated that continuous innovation needs to be scaled to the rest of the organisation; cross-departmental integration and agility is now the biggest currency by which IT departments are now benchmarked. However, bi-modal IT erodes this by keeping transformation in silos, said IDC. 

For true innovation to take place, every CIO must now take action to ensure the IT organisation is the go-to partner in the digital transformation of the business. The CIO must set the pace for digital transformation, without placing limits on what can be transformed, how this happens and who is involved, asserted IDC.

Bi-modal IT at best only partially captures the need for closer collaboration between IT innovation and IT operations, but it misses out on a critical component for success: the ability to continuously integrate change and business transformation without disrupting business performance across multiple departments with multiple stakeholders, IDC added.

To help CIOs balance their diverse priorities while still priming the organisation for innovation, IDC has developed a framework called Leading in Three Dimensions (L3D) that helps CIOs partner with and educate the business on a DX journey. L3D treats the delivery of DX-added business value as a continuous process of linking three critical IT leadership dimensions:

  • Innovate - Partner with the business to create digital innovations.
  • Integrate - Transition new technologies into stable business services.
  • Incorporate - Evolve existing technology platforms continuously by infusing new skills, techniques, and culture.

 

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