I’ve devoted a lot of thought over my career in trying to figure out how enterprise IT departments can better facilitate both innovation as well as consistent delivery to business as usual systems. The two seem worlds apart.
Working inside an IT department that don’t have a point of reference to separately understand both innovation and business as usual must be what Superman feels like walking around as Clark Kent all day. Limited, tethered and frustrated.
I really enjoyed this article from Tom McCall at Gartner on bimodal IT departments. In the article Tom explains the need that IT departments have to separate tasks surrounding innovation from business as usual. As Tom puts it:
“Enterprises must learn to operate in two essential modes, known as Bimodal IT, because they can’t lose sight of the need to maintain operations while they innovate with digital possibilities”
A recent post on Mendix.com defines the difference between the modes found within a typical BiModal IT department:
Business as Usual
Business as usual, or mode 1, activities remind me of Clark Kent. They include the stabilising or efficiency making of existing systems and frameworks. Delivery cycles are usually unhurried and are characterised by heavy and widespread analysis (AKA analysis paralysis).
Activities surrounding the separate innovation track involve the self organised creation of business value functionality. Development is fast paced, iterations are therefore short and mid project pivots are frequent.
Mendix is perfectly suited for Innovation activities
Mendix provides the 3 elements needed to take full advantage of an innovative environment when partaking in a bimodal strategy:
1. Built-in DevOps
Mendix make DevOps viable through several built in aspects. The App Store offers Unit Test frameworks, deploying to the cloud removes complexity associated with deployments and database abstraction means that every database change is handled by Mendix itself. Furthermore, the Mendix cloud comes with standard environment logging and checks to provide further automated stability to any application using the platform.
2. Rapid Development
Case studies point to the rapid properties of a typical Mendix project. Developing apps from starting blocks to production happen in hours instead of weeks. That means development orbits unpredictable business events rather than forcing business events into a scheduled development calendar.
3. Revolves around business events
The heart of system logic is captured within Microflows on the Mendix platform. These easy to understand activity flow diagrams combined with innovations such as the Mendix Model share mean that business can partake in the constructing the solution. Domain experts from business effectively craft the system along side moddlers, a recipe that results in high quality solutions.
By using a Bimodal strategy enterprise IT departments can effectively manage business as usual systems while placing an un-disrupting, fast track focus on projects that provide immediate innovation and business value.