According to Gartner, “Bimodal IT is getting a lot of focus as CIOs and IT leaders strive to build IT organizations capable of responding to the threats and opportunities of the digital economy, while maintaining and enhancing traditional infrastructure and services…Mode 1 is traditional IT; Mode 2 is agile IT.” (1)
We agree. Enterprises are in a digital transformation tug of war: business and competitive pressures are driving lines of business to deliver more, faster, yet IT is on the hook to maintain enterprise-class SLAs with the current app and infrastructure load.
Competitive pressures means that businesses need to leverage mobile apps to enable new capabilities for engaging customers, redefining business processes, driving up productivity, cutting costs, and generating new revenue sources. If you don’t embrace mobile, you risk being disrupted and left behind by competitors and new market entrants.
So what’s driving this disruption? The big reason is context. Location services, beacons, push notifications, camera, other sensors (e.g. GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope), and new data types are all available for mobile and are completely new to the business world. While web apps have largely provided frontend access to a system of record, mobile is real time, whenever your customers want it and wherever they may be.
How does this translate into business and IT needs?
|Line of Business needs||IT Needs|
|Digital innovation is driving new use cases||Provide consistent, mobile-friendly way to access enterprise data and identity|
|Shortage of internal mobile skills requires on-boarding of external resources||Enable flexibility for how apps are built, delivered, and managed|
|Apps require new optimized mobile services that don’t exist in the enterprise today||Deliver reusable services for new mobile features|
|Supporting a fragmented BYOD world adds complexity to development, QA, and security requirements||Meet security and compliance standards in a BYOD world|
|Unknown scale requirements driving need for elastic infrastructure||Handle varying scale requirements for all apps|
The problem is that today’s enterprise infrastructure and processes were built for web apps. Mobile is different – and “business agility” is not the same as agile development. Web development, while sometimes using an agile methodology, is very tightly coupled for both development and the infrastructure that supports the app. The existing on-premise software architecture and delivery models designed for web apps don’t provide the speed, cost model, and feature set needed to sustain successful mobile-first initiatives. As a result, enterprises need bimodal (sometimes called “2-speed”) IT.
|Mode 1||Mode 2|
|Industrial speed||Digital speed|
|Good at conventional processes||Good at innovation|
|SOA, ESB, & SAML||REST & OAuth|
The end result is that today’s enterprise architecture, built for the web, is holding businesses back.
So what’s required to support this new mobile context?
- A consistent set of mobile client features that stay current and enable any native, hybrid, or web app use case
- Standard services for data, push notifications, location, analytics and business logic to reduce time to market
- Consistent and secure ways to access enterprise data and identity systems
- New security and compliance capabilities to manage a BYOD world
- On-demand elastic scale to support millions of users
At a high level, this creates loosely coupled layers that allow frontend and backend developers to operate together, but at their own paces. The frontend developer may operate at the “fluid” pace needed for agile app development, while the backend developer can operate at the “rock solid” pace necessary for maintaining security, stability, and performance. This is how your develop with mBaaS.
Given the skills shortage in most enterprises today, this loosely coupled approach gives businesses the ability to outsource frontend app development while still allowing IT to maintain control and security.
- Three Steps to Successfully Implementing Bimodal-Aware IT Governance,
Heather Colella, Tina Nunno, Andy Rowsell-Jones, Mary Mesaglio, 11/6/2014.
- Gartner Says CIOs Need Bimodal IT to Succeed in Digital Business Gartner,
Symposium/ITxpo 2014, November 9-13, Barcelona, in Spain.
- Mobile Meets Cloud, webinar, Van Baker, May 22, 2014.