BiModal IT vs DevOps

    BiModal IT is seen by many as the best response to the demand for better, faster, cheaper IT change. However there’s an alternative: DevOps.  Coming from digitally born organisations, DevOps aims to achieve the same faster, better, cheaper result via a different route. So what’s all the fuss about and which operating model should you choose…?

    Bimodal IT

    Bimodal IT is a model put forward by Gartner. The basic principles behind the bimodal IT model is effectively to establish two different streams of change delivered via different operating models.
    The first operating model focuses on front-end, customer facing, differentiating systems, often the digital e-commerce channels. It usually uses agile delivery methodologies such as scrum and has the primary purpose of delivering fast pace of change while accepting the increased risk this change creates. The second model focuses on the so-called engine room systems that generally need to change at a slower pace. Here the focus is on waterfall based delivery methodologies, stability and reliability of change. 

    One view is that the bimodal IT model is a response from traditional IT to deal with the desire of businesses to move at the same pace as digitally born businesses. In essence if you come at the “digital “problem from a traditional IT mindset the response/the answer is bimodal IT. There is an alternative view emerging – that of DevOps. 


    There are many different definitions of DevOps. My version is simply to consider DevOps as the combination of Change and Run. Now before I get flamed by the DevOps evangelists, I get that DevOps is more of a culture change, a mindset shift and an approach that is different to anything we’ve seen before…but for now let’s go with my definition. 

    I would argue that if you come at the “digital problem” from a digital/eCommerce perspective your response is more likely to be something like DevOps. 

    Now there are some out there that would argue that DevOps is not suitable for everything. Some would draw the line at ERP systems like SAP and state that SAP is monolithic in nature and not suitable for agile or a DevOps operating model. I disagree and I will explore this elsewhere in this blog. I would however agree that there are some systems in which a DevOps model is overkill – for example in some commodity services such as email. 

    So, in summary, traditional IT’s response to “digital” is BiModal IT whereas a digital response to traditional IT is DevOps. As always there is likely to be a middle ground which achieves the best of both worlds but this has yet to emerge and mature. 

    As always I’d love to hear your views. Please post your thoughts in the comments below…


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