IT service desk teams complete complex and critical tasks on a regular basis, and the pressure is mounting to start working faster, smarter and in a more customer-centric way. A new ideal presented by Gartner - bimodal IT - puts an emphasis on the need for IT service management innovation.
What is bimodal IT?
To be bimodal is simply to be capable of operating in two distinct modes. In terms of IT, this means being able to function in a normal way and in a fast mode. The reason is simple - CIOs can't expect to transition entirely away from legacy operational schemes and technologies. Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president and global head of research at Gartner, explained that transforming an IT organization into the equivalent of a digital startup is unrealistic. Achieving the level of efficiency and flexibility needed is not possible considering all of the legacy systems and processes that are critical to operations.
While a complete a transformation isn't possible, CIOs can go bimodal. This would entail identifying aspects of operations that can be handled as a digital startup and putting the corresponding systems and support resources into a different mode than the rest of the configuration. Gartner's research indicates that approximately 45 percent of CIOs already have the ability to operate in a bimodal way. Significant growth is expected moving forward, however, as 75 percent of IT organizations will likely be bimodal as of 2017.
Moving to bimodal functionality
Gartner explained that going bimodal is critical as organizations face major technology challenges, particularly in the way that they balance processes across multiple areas of operations. In particular, spending trends point to the mounting challenge to go bimodal. In many cases, innovation is driven by business users and technology teams must respond, something that is evident in spending. While IT spending is climbing, more and more resources are being devoted to business units, to the point that approximately 50 percent of IT spending will come from business units as early as 2017. This makes the ability to support a digital startup mentality critical, even if it can't happen across the entire IT organization.
"Digital startups sit inside your organization, in your marketing department, in HR, in logistics and in sales," said Sondergaard. "As IT leaders, you must design, resource and deploy for a world that's digital first. In this new model, every business unit is a technology startup. Now is your opportunity to create that team. Partner with the digital startups inside your organization and prove that you can move fast too. Embrace the outside change."
Responding to bimodal capabilities
Going bimodal needs to be extended out to every phase of IT operations, including the service desk. If your workers are going to operate at the pace of a digital startup, you need to deliver services and support them in a similarly responsive way. This is particularly critical as organizations face the mounting threat of consumerization. If organizations are unable to provide or adequately support solutions that meet business users' needs, those individuals will likely look for an alternative option. The fast-paced, innovative digital startup culture accentuates this trend and creates a situation in which organizations must work hard to prevent against the adverse results of consumerization.
Investing in advanced service desk tools that improve functionality in areas like incident and problem management is a first step in being able to support bimodal functionality. However, you can also benefit substantially from service catalogs and self-service portals that let users fully embrace a digital startup mentality and free support teams to keep pace with their demands.