How to get started with bimodal IT

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The state of IT infrastructure and practices have evolved for almost two decades, and are continuing to advance in order to better serve user needs across the board. Organizations have gone from using waterfall development methods and on-site servers to agile software development testing methods and the cloud, for example. These transitions have not come easy for businesses, and many are still in the midst of migrating to new practices and virtual systems.

However, not everything can be housed on these types of platforms. In fact, there are many processes that still rely on legacy practices, and some companies are taking the change slowly in order to accommodate these older solutions. This gives organizations time to learn how new strategies work before rolling them out across the board. It's hard enough to manage one IT environment, but handling two is a significant challenge that can hurt businesses when not executed correctly. Here's where bimodal IT enters the picture to provide guidance on using two IT setups and ease the transition to advancing methods.

What is bimodal IT?

The first thing to do before you get started with bimodal IT is to understand what exactly it is and what types of challenges it might entail. TechTarget contributor Margaret Rouse noted that the bimodal structure isn't new to QA management, it's just that it has become especially relevant as businesses strive to keep up with consumer demands while still managing some legacy equipment and processes. Under bimodal IT, mode 1 encapsulates traditional IT, which focuses on efficiency and stability. Mode 2 is more about agile methods and speed of delivery, concerned with exploratory and nonlinear processes. With this kind of setup, the road to a fully digital infrastructure is no longer as cut and dry as it was assumed to be. Instead, organizations are changing at their own pace and are adopting the necessary test management tools and practices required to make the digital environment successful.

"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," CIO contributor Bernard Golden wrote.

Going bimodal

Now that you have a better picture about what bimodal IT actually is and what each mode entails, your team can start strategizing the best way to integrate this approach into your own infrastructure. First, you'll want to take stock of your current processes, software and hardware. If there are any that could be easily moved to the digital space, these will be perfect candidates to transfer first and live under the mode-2 umbrella. Meanwhile, workflows that depend on mode-1 activities can be managed as necessary and businesses can update these approaches at their leisure.

At the same time, it can be easy for organizations to fall prey to bimodal IT misconceptions that have become rampant over the years. It's important to dispel these myths and understand the best practices to follow in order to make bimodal IT a successful endeavor for your teams and business as a whole. Mendix contributor Edward Hadley noted that while you should create teams dedicated to each mode, these teams should not be isolated from one another. This type of collaboration will help in transferring critical applications across the bimodal environment and ensure that software continues to receive the necessary support. Software testing metrics can also be more easily communicated across this close-knit space to streamline the movement. At the same time, organizations need to realize that bimodal IT must be driven by strong leadership, as this infrastructure impacts the entire business. This will help create a bigger sense of ownership and foster more involvement with IT provisioning and evolution.

Bimodal IT has become more relevant lately as organizations look to keep up with agile processes and still support lingering legacy infrastructure. By understanding what this environment entails and its best practices, you can more successfully support bimodal IT and provision your teams appropriately.

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