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Digital transformation: Bimodel IT?


Bimodel IT is a two-tiered IT operations model which was introduced by Gartner around 2014. It defines the two tiers as “Mode 1, traditional and sequential, emphasizing safety and accuracy, also referred to as exploitation. Mode 2 is exploratory, nonlinear, emphasizing agility and speed.

Each mode will require a different management approach. Processes, organizational structures and people will be different. The pitfall of this model is to just start splitting the IT-systems into these different modes. Splitting the IT-landscape in legacy systems, CRM, ERP, mobile apps,… . Two separate IT groups working at different speeds will not lead to organizational performance. This problem is already raised in many academic reviews on ambidexterity in organizations. It is the balance between exploration and exploitation which will lead to organizational performance.

This shows the need for a proper IT governance, organization structures, hybrid models combining best of both worlds. Forcing an organization into a ‘exploratory’ mode will result in organizational issues, impacting the performance of the organization. Don’t forget that ‘innovative’ companies like Apple have supporting processes which focus on efficiency otherwise they don’t manage the selling and delivery of million products each year. They succeed in combining the two modes and are not only ‘innovative’ as they bring their products into the world.

Digital transformations will handle the questions how to reach this equilibrium, where to start? Focus first on the transformation of the legacy systems? Shift to SAAS-models? Which IT project governance to use? One size doesn’t fit all, therefore the management of an organization needs to be aware of these choices, a proper enterprise architecture will guide in this process. Key is the alignment of the business strategy with the IT-strategy. Digital transformation is not only introducing a mobile app into the organizations or start working in Scrum teams. It is about focusing on the right organizational change within the company.

– Nico Schaetsaert

23 december 2021

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