A two-speed IT strategy for the digital era

As the business world gets rapidly digitized, the practice of “bimodal IT” is gaining popularity. For CIOs who want to keep up with the latest trends in technology, it is important to understand what the term, coined by Gartner, actually means. Bimodal IT is the practice of maintaining two distinct modes — Mode 1 and Mode 2 — of IT delivery. Mode 1 is more traditional, with a focus on stability, while Mode 2 is more exploratory, with a focus on agility.

In this webcast presentation, Kurt Marko, analyst at MarkoInsights, discusses how the era of digitization is driving the idea of two-speed IT. Read on to find out about the important differences between the two modes, the role of cloud services in a bimodal IT strategy, and why IT shops need to be able to develop digital IT products in an uncertain environment.

Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of the first of four excerpts of Marko’s webcast presentation on two-speed IT. It has been edited for clarity and length.

The term “bimodal IT” was coined by Gartner in 2014. And like many of the buzzwords that Gartner coins, it quickly became a very commonly used phrase, and, of course, they were instrumental in promoting that through their venues or their conferences and white papers.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of people ended up hearing the term “bimodal” — and it does seem sort of stark when you hear it — and it sounds like a psychological disorder. But it’s not any of that, and it’s not nearly as threatening as some people seem to make it out to be. But hopefully after the next 20 or 30 minutes, you’ll understand why.

It really defines two modes of IT where, as I say, they are creatively named Mode 1 and Mode 2. But they’re basically categories to describe different characteristics for IT systems and applications, the operating characteristics, the business requirements, the business environment even.

What is the first mode of two-speed IT?

And the notion is Mode 1 would be what most people would consider traditional IT: your big business systems, your ERP, your finance, your HR, those mission-critical systems that really have defined IT for decades. And IT as a discipline grew up around these systems. In fact, actually the way I got into IT out ofproduct development and engineering was as IT was becoming formalized as a discipline, and it looked like it was an attractive opportunity for me both professionally and just intellectually.

But … many, many businesses have become IT-centric, where IT, instead of being just an operator of critical infrastructure, is now an instrumental part of the business itself.

Kurt Markoanalyst, MarkoInsights

And IT became synonymous with conservative, keep it running, but let’s not take too many risks because the business could be at stake if we mess up. And that worked fine for many, many years. Unfortunately, as the business environments have changed dramatically, through the internet, there have been many catalysts, internet, mobility, consumerization of technology. But … many, many businesses have become IT-centric, where IT, instead of being just an operator of critical infrastructure, is now an instrumental part of the business itself.

What is the second mode of bimodal IT?

And this is where Mode 2 comes in, and it’s a concept Gartner calls the digitization of business. We’ll look at that in a bit. But this type of environment is characterized by digital applications that really take their cue almost from the mobile and the internet world, where things have to be fast, agile, fail-fast, continuous delivery, you have new ideas that need to be tested and implemented at at least a very initial stage rapidly. And it focuses on cloud services and design as vehicles for the deployment. Often, it includes mobile as the target application platform.

And this is partly where some of the confusion about bimodal IT has come in because cloud services are really instrumental in these Mode 2 applications, because they allow developers and businesses to both create rapidly and deploy at any scale desired. And so many people consider Mode 2 synonymous with cloud, Mode 1 synonymous with on premises. That’s not the case, and we’ll get into some of the subtleties of why in a bit..

Two-speed IT delivery model driven by digital economy

As I mentioned, digital business is driving this notion of two-speed IT. And that’s really what this whole Mode 2-Mode 1 dichotomy is about. It’s about having a set of applications that are run conservatively, but it’s important to understand they’re not on life support. And [then there is] another set of applications which need to be developed, deployed very rapidly but where failure is an option and getting it right the first time or getting it perfect isn’t an absolute requirement.

Explaining this rationale for bimodal IT, Gartner talks about this notion of different eras of IT. And the Mode 1 is characterized by this industrial manufacturing line, kind of the Henry Ford era of IT, where it’s about minimizing risk, planning, being predictable, doing it right, maintaining control, reliability, stability.

However, in this era, this digital business era, which they call a third era, there are very different business drivers and that prompts different behaviors. And they characterize the challenges and the activities that IT and businesses need to be capable of the following five [things]:

  • Absorbing new business models rapidly. Being able to adapt to a changing digital environment.
    Being able to scale up and down rapidly again, and this gets to some of thecloud discussion, but the notion that a successful product may grow demand, like a hockey stick, or it may have very seasonal demands.
    You have to be able to react both over time and to events as they call them, “business moments,” whether you have a promotional campaign that’s going to coincide with the Super Bowl or the Oscars or some big event that you’re focusing on, or you have a product that gets mentioned on Oprah Winfrey and suddenly demand has shot through the roof.
    You also have to be able to support different business models. And as we know, the internet and the digital business era we’re in now, whether it’s sharing services like Uber, and Airbnb, or different distribution channels for media like Spotify or digital content books, you have to be able to support different ways of monetizing your digital assets.
  • And you have to be able do this in an environment where you don’t necessarily understand ahead of time what’s going to work and what’s not. And so you have to be comfortable in developing digital IT products in this environment of uncertainty.

Source: searchcio.techtarget.com-A two-speed IT strategy for the digital era


Why the enterprise mobility management market needs a rethink

A high-stakes battle has emerged in the rapidly-changing market for enterprise mobility management, also known as EMM.

Three of the market’s biggest names — Microsoft, MobileIron and VMware — have each made a string of moves over the past month that reveal polarising strategies. At one end are companies that primarily bundle EMM into a wider proprietary set of software; at the other, those more focused on specialism in mobility and teaming up with “best of breed” partners.

The implications of these contrasting approaches reach far beyond EMM as we think of it today and force us to rethink the market’s definition. Here I’ll examine some of these recent announcements and explain what they mean to the market.

MobileIron’s Mobile First 2015

At its annual Mobile First conference in June, MobileIron made several announcements that reveal how its direction and identity are changing and broadening how we think of EMM.

As the only publicly-listed standalone EMM provider, MobileIron is often thought of solely as a device management firm that has evolved into managing mobile apps and content. But in my view, MobileIron’s moving much more rapidly beyond these roots into the information security space. Central to this shift is Sentry, perhaps its most important source of intellectual property.

Sentry manages, encrypts, and secures traffic between a mobile device and back-end enterprise systems. Sentry’s role has grown as customers have moved to the cloud and started deploying mobile apps beyond e-mail. Customer data is therefore starting to flow between, and live on, multiple Internet and proprietary enterprise systems, as well as travelling on public networks.

Sentry is attempting to step into this domain, becoming a mobile-aware information security gateway that uses technologies such as per-app virtual private networks to govern and secure mobile enterprise data. In effect, information security has been the focus of many of MobileIron’s announcements in 2015, making the company quite different from how we’ve traditionally viewed it and the wider EMM market.

MobileIron has taken a different approach to several of its competitors when it comes to bringing its products to market. Its focus on mobility, specialism, neutrality and partnering with leading names in adjacent technology areas are big parts of its differentiation, enabling MobileIron to compete as requirements broaden beyond the areas it controls. The company is currently unprofitable and under scrutiny after a difficult first quarter; it will be hoping this route to market will help it manage expenditure.

The company’s App Connect ecosystem, which has gathered over 200 partnerships, helps to position MobileIron as the central mobile security “brain” for several systems, including Ping and Okta for identity management, FireEye for threat protection, Splunk for analytics and Cisco Systems for network access controls.

At Mobile First 2015, CEO Bob Tinker described this partner approach as the “anti-stack”. Specialism is arguably necessary to address current IT security requirements, which are inherently based on mobility. The challenge will be for MobileIron to articulate to new customers and to Wall Street why this precision matters, especially as much larger competitors are also changing the market by bundling EMM with their own core products at a lower cost.

VMware launches Identity Manager

VMware is one of these competitors. On 17 June, it launched Identity Manager, a unified identity management solution providing single sign-on for Web, cloud and native mobile applications across multiple VMware environments, including AirWatch, its EMM product.

Since its acquisition of AirWatch in February 2014, VMware has rapidly integrated the acquired technology into its set of virtualisation, data centre and networking products. Identity Manager builds on this strategy and extends the identity management assets VMware bought from TriCipher in 2010 to its cloud infrastructure as well as to AirWatch. The product is available for sale through several AirWatch commercial bundles.

The strategy of integrating AirWatch software, as well as launching new products like Identity Manager that unify its environments, appears to be accelerating VMware’s end-user computing business and AirWatch itself. The success was reflected in its recent quarterly results.

It is a strategy that, like MobileIron’s evolution into information security, is also reshaping how we think of the EMM market as customers weigh the benefits of having data centre, desktop virtualisation, mobility management and unified identity management solutions all under one roof.

Most importantly, VMware’s integration strategy sets it apart from rivals and lets it commercially outmanoeuvre MobileIron while offsetting incursions from Microsoft, its main competitor. Microsoft, much like VMware, competes in EMM with an increasing number of bundled products within its portfolio.

Microsoft bundles Advanced Threat Analytics

Microsoft’s EMM strategy is based on its Enterprise Mobility Suite, which is a subscription service bundle made up of several Microsoft products including Azure Active Directory Premium, its identity management service, Azure Rights Management, its document protection technology, and Intune, Microsoft’s device and application management solution.

On 23 June Microsoft quietly announced that it was extending this bundle to include Advanced Threat Analytics, a threat-monitoring and machine-learning technology launched at Ignite in May 2015. It hasn’t revealed timings and prices yet.

Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite has made waves in EMM since launching in 2014, largely because of its focus on identity management. Now that VWware has entered the market, the announcement of integrated threat analysis further advances Microsoft’s bundle. In January, I said Microsoft was a top five enterprise mobility provider to watch in 2015. In March the company announced it had over 20,000 customers for Enterprise Mobility Suite, although it’s unclear how many of them have actually deployed it, rather than only purchasing it under an enterprise licence agreement.

As a latecomer to the EMM space, Microsoft’s momentum is down to two main factors. First is Redmond’s focus on commercially bundling EMM across the Microsoft range of software. As SAP has shown with mobile device management purchases in the past, bundling EMM may prove attractive for customers with large-scale licence agreements that can purchase EMM with other stuff at a lower cost. The launch of Enterprise Cloud Suite, which includes Enterprise Mobility Suite alongside Office 365 and Windows Enterprise licences (and now Advanced Threat Analytics), is an example of this strategy.

Second, and most importantly, Microsoft’s Office group has intentionally locked the management of Office on mobile devices more tightly to Enterprise Mobility Suite rather than entirely opening it up to third parties like MobileIron and VMware. Holding back some Office management APIs naturally boosts the competitive advantage of Microsoft’s own product and supports the claim that it “protects Office better”.

Whether this abuses its market power or not, Microsoft’s bundling strategy is rapidly reshaping the EMM space. This is because the adjacent technologies that help Microsoft compete, such as identity and rights management, productivity software, traditional Windows management and now threat monitoring, all force EMM buyers to make even tougher decisions over the next 12 months.

What does it mean?

The past few weeks of announcements from three of the EMM market’s leading players reveal increasingly polarising strategies between those that bundle EMM into a wider set of proprietary software and those that do not. Buyers will have even harder, more-complex decisions to make, weighing up the pros and cons of being locked into a single provider or opting to manage multiple, often smaller, specialist providers.

Bundled solutions have the advantages of cost efficiency and simplification, which have proven valuable to IT departments in the past for more standardised client-server computing. But only time will tell whether they fully translate to address the huge diversity of mobile computing and the demands of employees. Buyers will have to remember that it is often employees driving mobility in enterprises, as our survey shows.

Above all, EMM is changing and requires us to rethink its definition as an increasingly diverse array of adjacent technologies are starting to change where the market’s heading. Thanks to the strategies of major players, future avenues include information security, identity management, management of PCs and Internet of things devices, productivity software, platform as a service and analytics.

The winners will shape the future of enterprise information security and computing management in the coming years, and form the foundation for new enterprise IT value. Those are the stakes; perhaps this is the new definition worth considering.

Source: appstechnews-Why the enterprise mobility management market needs a rethink By Nicholas McQuire

What Gartner’s Bimodal IT Model Means to Enterprise CIOs

Gartner has identified a crucial tension in the proliferating demands on IT and prescribed a model to enable IT to respond to them with what it calls bimodal IT, a combination of old-style and modern IT practices. However, setting up two organizations won’t necessarily resolve the tension, and may, in fact, exacerbate it.

In 2014, Gartner introduced a prescriptive organization model for enterprise IT called “Bimodal IT.” It posits that IT organizations of the future will have two separate flavors, if you will: Type 1 is traditional IT, focused on stability and efficiency, while Type 2 is an experimental, agile organization focused on time-to-market, rapid application evolution, and, in particular, tight alignment with business units.

Here is one description of bimodal IT from a Gartner conference attendee — unfortunately, Gartner has not yet chosen to publish a full description of the concept that can be accessed by non-subscribers, although a good overview of it can be gleaned from the firm’s report outline.

While there was a flurry of discussion about this model and its meaning when it was launched mid-year, I believe that many commentators reacted to its surface features and failed to grasp its profound implications for IT organizations and especially IT leadership.

If one accepts Gartner’s perspective, it dictates a future for enterprise IT far different than most participants and vendors currently proclaim. Here are some things that, thus far, have not been made clear in the previous discussions about bimodal IT:

Bimodal is the ‘How’ But the ‘What’ is Profound

Gartner’s bimodal IT recommendation is a statement of how IT must be organized to meet the burgeoning requirements being forced upon it by business units. While there is discussion about what the Type 2 IT organization will build, it is usually focused on the consumer of the technology — the business units and what they want to accomplish with agile, fast-to-market applications.

The bimodal model is correct that a different set of expectations and approaches is probably necessary for IT to respond to this demand, but it does not address the fundamental and enormous change in technology and process required to deliver Type 2 applications. Stated straightforwardly, Type 2 IT is a DevOps world, and it will require new tools and processes.

Some IT organizations have cottoned on to this and are seeking to emulate the leaders on the frontier of the industry: Facebook, Etsy, and a raft of others. This is what has led to the birth of the Innovation Lab movement, and is the root cause of the coming war for developers.

The bottom line is that the organizational recommendations associated with bimodal IT are only a portion of what needs to be done to move IT capabilities to where they will need to be in the future; said another way, bimodal IT is necessary but not sufficient for what enterprise IT will look like going forward.

Gartner Has Thrown in the Towel on Traditional IT

Another way to understand bimodal IT, of course, is that Gartner has decided that traditional enterprise IT can’t change enough — or, at any rate, change fast enough, to meet what’s it being asked for.

Bimodal IT echoes a presentation I saw several years ago from Will Forrest of McKinsey, who said thatCEOs are so tired of how poorly their IT organizations are performing that they’re setting up separate organizations to pursue new opportunities.

The implication is clear — traditional IT is on borrowed time and faces a future where it is consigned to unimportance. It may, in fact, be too late for enterprise IT to do anything about this.

My comment at a recent Gartner conference when bimodal IT was presented was “sounds like the death knell for private cloud computing.” Lydia Leong of Gartner reinforced that at her AWS Reinvent presentation when she said that developers often refuse to use private clouds built by IT in favor of public environments like AWS. On the other hand, I recently saw an article quoting another Gartner analyst who said that the best way to begin using public cloud computing is to start with a private cloud, which implies that Gartner itself is not of a single mind on the topic of bimodal IT.

The implication of bimodal IT is that traditional IT is facing an awful future — one where it’s consigned to keeping the lights on for legacy applications but precluded from participating in what’s viewed as critical to the future of the company at large. In this world, IT is like an animal backed into a corner with no hope of escape — and any time an animal feels cornered it strikes back in an attempt to survive. In other words, bimodal IT sounds rather clinical and neat, but the reality is unlikely to be simple and civil.

This is one place that I believe Gartner fails to comprehend what this bimodal reality brings — or at least prefers to not address it explicitly to avoid frightening its clients. As this bimodal reality sets in, one can expect many companies to experience huge conflict as the two camps engage in pitched battles for influence, resources, and power. The topic may be technology, but the participants are human, and the result is going to be like any other domain where people fight over limited resources.

Bimodal IT is Too Neat a Distinction

It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that the bimodal IT model neatly mirrors the bifurcated application types described as “systems of record” and “systems of engagement,” with Type 1 IT responsible for systems that keep track of transactions, and Type 2 responsible for externally-facing applications that interact with important constituencies.

In this formulation, each type can stick to its knitting and focus on delivering what it’s asked for. However, as I just noted, it’s likely that these two different IT groups will joust with one another for power; more importantly, despite the neat separation implied by the model, the fact is that they will need to cooperate.

For Type 2 applications to really deliver value, they need to interact with transactional systems; after all, I don’t just want to have a mobile application that lets me interact with a loan officer, I want to use it to submit my documents, track my loan progress, and even sign off on the loan. This means the Type 2 application I’m using has to integrate with a back-office Type 1 application, which, in the Gartner formulation, means the two IT organizations will need to work together.

So in addition to the conflict described in the last section, there will also be, for want of a better term, coopetition as the two groups warily collaborate, perhaps under the watchful eye of a senior executive with enough clout to force them to, if not play together nicely, at least work together sullenly.

And the border of cooperation will, one can predict, prove to be an ongoing site of conflict, as the two IT types bring their perspective to bear as to how the interaction should proceed. The Type 2 IT organization will lobby for fast changes and more functionality more quickly, while the Type 1 IT organization will focus on stability and uptime.

In conclusion, one can say that Gartner has accurately identified a crucial tension in the proliferating demands on IT, and prescribed a model to enable IT to respond to them. However, setting up two organizations won’t necessarily resolve the tension, and may, in fact, exacerbate it as the two groups vie for resources and influence.

Because we are entering a time in which IT is much more crucial to the quotidian operations of all businesses, we should expect to see more and more companies experiment with different modes of operations in an effort to respond better and faster to what the market demands. To quote Bette Davis in “All About Eve,” you should “fasten your seatbelts because it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

Source: CIO.com-What Gartner’s Bimodal IT Model Means to Enterprise CIOs by By Bernard Golden