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The two major IT pressure points today

Mobile has changed everything about IT. This is not hype; it’s a fact. Thanks to Generation X and the Millennials, mobile is pervasive and if businesses want to keep up and not lose market share, they need to address these two major IT pressure points:

  1. Digital transformation. 

  2. Faster delivery and change cycles

An approach called bimodal IT is a result of trying to overcome these pressure points. But, is bimodal IT the answer?

Pressure Point 1. Digital transformation

Devices such as smartphones, tablets, wearables and sensors with distinct user interfaces have changed how customers, partners and employees engage with the enterprise. Organizations need to transform themselves into agile, digital enterprises if they want to attract and retain customers and users. Applications are needed to enable seamless digital engagement on any type of device or interface. End users can then research, interact, order and get help by whatever means they have at their disposal. By enabling this versatile engagement, companies accelerate customer onboarding, expand new customer attraction and increase customer loyalty.

Traditional application development does not easily allow for apps to be created once and then deployed on all devices. Yet, this development is critical with the pervasiveness of mobile. There are now two generations of users and consumers for whom mobile is the way they work, engage, play—and even live. And because of this, they expect all applications they use to:

  • Have a great user experience.

  • Change seamlessly so they don’t notice.

  • Be as easy to use as Facebook or Twitter.

Companies have tried adding developers, learning more languages, tying development and operations groups together, and automating the development and delivery process. However, none of these can solve the demand for mobile apps and web apps that behave like mobile apps.

Pressure Point 2. Faster delivery and change cycles

Customers now want applications to be delivered in very short time frames. The millennial generation is beginning to move up in business and in their companies. They refuse to wait two years for a project to be completed, which is how long it takes to build applications with traditional technologies like Java or .NET. They want a new app done in less than 20 weeks and changes made almost instantly. They know it can be done because in 2012, Amazon was deploying new code every 11 seconds and recorded a maximum of 1,079 deployments in an hour. As a result, organizations and the IT industry are seeking ways to satisfy the demand for these dramatically shorter delivery cycles. 

Is bimodal IT the answer?

A new perspective on IT, which Gartner calls "bimodal IT," suggests that IT organizations should operate as two separate modes, traditional (mode 1) and agile (mode 2). In a bimodal structure, mode 1 applications are more static. When changed, they follow a more traditional method of modification. Mode 2 application requirements are bucketed into a more agile and iterative development model with new innovative tools and concepts.

Big consulting firms are creating new digital practices based on the bimodal IT perspective. These practices focus on helping companies redesign digital experiences from the front-end to the back-end. In fact, they've been acquiring design agencies to fast-track the acquisition of user experience skills. However, they've also made investments in training their people with technology such as Angular JS and Node JS.

Typically, they follow an open source approach using technologies like Angular JS, Node JS, Mongo DB and REST to develop full enterprise solutions that offer amazing user experiences.
This can reduce the delivery of that first version to the 20-week target. However, this requires excellent developers with big skillsets.

The questions about bimodal IT are legion. How will the customer maintain the apps when the consultants leave? Do they have people with the skills to change the apps?

A simple example is a company that has 20 to 50 apps to maintain. These apps must support four platforms and three different form factors. This situation and an abundance of siloes and skills needed to maintain these apps is compounded by mobile. Mobile requires continuous changes and faster and faster delivery. It is not unusual for the business to request that a change be made in a few hours.

All this requires a unique set of skills, and companies have trouble finding these developers. When they do, they soon find that such developers are in high demand and are likely to leave.

So, bimodal IT untethers agile development from back-end, traditional systems; however, without care it can be difficult to sustain. This can be done, however, with a platform that enables both mode 1 and mode 2 without any need to jump between platforms. That's where OutSystems Platform comes in.

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