Disruption Day: An IT Paradox

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In my last post, I looked into the emergence of ‘Bimodal IT’ as enterprises juggle traditional IT infrastructure with new, exploratory structures for the web-based, hyper-scale IT needed in the digital era.

The real challenge for enterprises in this context is not simply in the delivery of these resources – many have managed that. Deploying PaaS or Hadoop is just the delivery of another platform for enterprise IT teams.

The real challenge is in developing and delivering a plan that sees a more strategic migration of business applications to the ‘mode’ of IT that best suits its needs.

What I mean by this is; if you take, for the sake of argument, a business that has 100 applications used both within the enterprise and directly by its customers. And all 100 of those live in ‘mode 1’ IT at the moment. An organisation embarking on a true transformation programme should look at those 100 applications; prioritise the ones that might be suited for migration to web scale, and within those, determine the features that should be migrated and those that should be deprecated.

This challenge sounds enormous; but of course, only needs to be tackled one step at a time. Each application in turn, each function in turn, prioritised by different criteria based on urgency of need, age of the application or infrastructure, customer demands, etc.

The key for establishing where to start, though, is the conversation we have with our customers when we embark on transformation programs. In a workshop, we get an understanding of how the customers’ IT is operating today and start building a tactical plan to give the business some control and understanding of its Bimodal IT context, moving the right applications and functions to the platform appropriate for its needs.

The alternative? Businesses that don’t embark with a transformation programme here will get caught in the timid middle – neither committing to the new digital world order nor ignoring it. They will likely continue to live on in frustration with ‘mode 1’ IT, even as its staff put organisational data at risk in public cloud resources for their exploratory IT. And those businesses will not remain competitive for long.

Do you run a Bimodal IT context? Do you have a strategy for managing it? Would be interested to read your thoughts in the comments.

Originally posted on InFocus, the EMC Global Services blog.

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