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Integration excellence is essential to bimodal IT

March 16, 2016

In an interesting example of synchronicity, an article in CIO.com and a Gartner webinar nicely complemented each other. The CIO article featured a report by KPMG that warned CIOs of an impending ‘tsunami’ of technology change and disruption. The webinar discussed how “Bimodal IT Is the Best Way to Deliver Application Rationalization“. What relates these items is the critical question they address: How can organizations transform their business quickly enough in an age of disruption? The answer from Gartner analyst Andy Kyte is that it requires a two-speed, or bimodal, approach to IT, but with a new competence.

What is disruptive IT?

In a similar way that PCs and client-server architecture disrupted IT in previous decades, there are a number of emerging technologies gaining momentum that have the potential to be the next IT disruptors. Technologies like cloud and mobile computing, and Internet of Things, are continuing to stimulate technology progress and are a source of disruptive innovation. These forces of IT change are driving CIOs and IT managers to review their application strategies to enable IT to support an increasing pace of business change.


The bimodal approach

Gartner proposes the bimodal IT approach as the solution to balancing the need to maintain existing transactional systems of record with the dynamic, ongoing process of adopting emerging technologies, which they call systems of differentiation and innovation.

“Bimodal IT is the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability, the other on agility.” Andy Kyte, Gartner.

Mode 1, the traditional IT systems, should be managed and operated in the same way they have been done in the past – focusing on security, efficiency and certainty, using waterfall project methodology. Mode 2 provides the new systems, with emphasis on speed, agility and uncertainty, and using an agile development process.

But both modes need a new competence – integration. For Mode 1, an integration competency provides the means to be agile when it’s needed without going to Mode 2 for support. For Mode 2, integration is required to access and use data from the Mode 1 systems.


Gartner have been promoting bimodal for at least a year, but this is first time the crucial role of integration competence for bimodal was highlighted so strongly, although Massimo Pezzini issued a CIO call to action earlier.

The integration options

These are your integrations options.

  • Build your own integrations, but this gets expensive and difficult to manage are integrations increase.
  • Use an ESB: the problem with ESBs is that they are legacy systems, using tight integrations of applications, and are not always scalable.
  • Use the integration functionality of your ERP provider: that will constrain you to that vendor’s integration technology, will limit your integrations to what the vendor supports, and re-entrenches your business with that vendor.
  • Review and update your integration strategy and implement a modern cloud-based integration platform that can efficiently and quickly handle the needs of combinations of on-premise, cloud, and mobile integrations.

By using an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) you can start an integration competency from a small base, managing the costs and growing expertise as the needs increase. Gartner recommend selecting integration providers with an open mind. We have organizations around the world contacting us for an integration evaluation, and you can sign up for a 14-day trial to start a proof-of-concept.

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