Three-quarters of IT organisations to be bimodal by 2017 says Gartner

Analyst company sees more IT departments developing agile, creative capabilities

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Three-quarters of IT organisations to be bimodal by 2017 says Gartner Organisations need to develop bimodal IT capabilities to be able to react to the demands of digital business, says Sondergaard.
By  Mark Sutton Published  May 19, 2015

Around half of all IT organisations worldwide have developed ‘bimodal' capabilities, according to Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president and global head of research Gartner.

Speaking today at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2015 in Dubai, Sondergaard said that more and more businesses are reacting to the demands of digitisation of processes by developing two modes of IT work - an operational mode which provisions typical IT services and ‘keeps the lights on', and a more agile mode that is able to react to the needs of different business departments and behaves more like a start-up.

The rise of bimodal IT capabilities can be seen in the growing number of Chief Digital Officers and similar roles within organisations, who are typically responsible for reactive and digital business. While Gartner predicts that 75% of IT organisations will have some bimodal capabilities within the next two years, Sondergaard said it is important to strike a balance between the two modes.

"The challenge is how to get businesses to operate, running what they do now, and also making sure that they innovate, they are agile, they are creative - they are a completely different set of skills. What most CEOs are struggling with is how do I put together an organisational structure, leadership skills, talent and compensation models that recognise that I need both," he said.

"It is a leadership competency that needs to be developed inside IT, and also inside business. It is not easy, most people at this conference will need to convince their CEOs that they need to think differently."

Sondergaard also discussed the digitalisation of business, and the growing importance of data and analytics capabilities to all business functions. The shift to digital was seen first in marketing functions, where marketing departments have often started utilising their own IT tools to analyse their data. The shift is now being seen in other functions, such as HR, logistics, sales, and finance, he added, and it is in this scenario where the bimodal IT function needs to be agile enough to respond and co-ordinate with other departments to ensure they have the tools they need to extract the value from the data.

"Data is the oil of the 21st century, but on top of that oil we are creating the new economy. The new economy is essentially algorithms, artificial intelligence built into software, augmented decision capabilities and an API set that differentiates companies," Sondergaard said.

"The world of the future is essentially an algorithm economy. Differentiation in that world is about who owns algorithms or eco-systems of algorithms. That is what has differentiated companies in the previous 15 years. What differentiates Google is not that it captures an enormous amount of data, it is the Google algorithms that allow them to present that data.

"The value of every company will therefore ultimately be defined by its algorithms, its artificial intelligence software code, its augmented decision capabilities in software and the APIs that link you to the customer. That is what will define corporate value for the next 15 years.

The Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2015 is taking place until 21st May, and is expected to attract around 500 CIOs and IT leaders. The event includes keynote addresses from thought leaders and networking sessions. Communications vendor Avaya is also hosting a Learning Lab at the symposium, to highlight networking and customer engagement technologies for digital business transformation.

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