The IT (information technology) infrastructure that got you where you are today will not get you to where you need to be tomorrow. The increasingly digital global business ecosystem requires greater agility from your legacy IT systems.
Your answer is not an either-or decision. It is a yes-and.
Tom McCall’s excellent blog post “Why Digital Business Needs Bimodal IT” recaps an interview with Mary Mesaglio, research vice president at Gartner in which she says: “You need to become bimodal because one mode can’t answer the complex needs of the organization…Gartner believes you must have both modes.”
To Do: That means taking more than an inventory of your existing IT infrastructure and ordering more duct tape to keep your legacy systems going. That means taking stock of your corporate culture and how they not only use technology, but adapt to new technology as well.
Your Corporate Culture is Yin-Yang
Part of your company relies on stable, predictable and reliable data for reproducibility of outcomes. In many cases, your IT department is focused on legacy IT systems, processes and timelines. Your hiring processes focus on creating teams of like-minded, legacy IT system-dedicated individuals.
But are they also capable of supporting an agile, digital IT infrastructure? Technology advances may be outpacing their capacity to keep up.
An article by Bernard Golden cites a 2014 Saugatuck Research analysis reporting that “80% of IT budgets [are] devoted to ‘legacy’” infrastructure. Is this scenario impeding your ability to compete?
You have business units dealing with fast-paced and uncertain situations requiring complex, nimble solutions. The face of client engagement has changed. This scenario requires agile systems for conducting digital business and keeping them competitive. These business unit decision-makers, unlike their legacy counterparts, look to cloud computing for answers in reaction to what they perceive as slower, in-it-for-the-long-haul legacy IT systems.
It’s Paradigm Shift Time
As the leader of your company, you recognize you will have to make a decision about legacy IT as you transition to include agile IT systems to facilitate the digital component of your business.
To Do: It’s a huge can of worms you are not looking forward to opening. There’s more to that decision than meets the eye. Open it and see it as an opportunity rather than a headache.
The way you see it, the transition from legacy IT to bimodal IT requires two different IT approaches and two different capital commitments. You extrapolate two different, yet rigorous, sets of processes and practices. At present, you wrestle with timeline, budget, quality, process, human capital.
The success of your decision requires one more critical area of focus as you transition the structure of your business.
You aren’t quite sure that you can rely on your current legacy-dedicated IT folks to pull off a bimodal, hybridized transition. From your perspective, your future IT teams represent two different mindsets: one for legacy systems and one for agile systems.
It’s also about how you transition people from legacy IT to bimodal and agile IT systems
How have you handled past transitions of IT systems? These projects tend to take on a life of their own. Huge amounts of resources and people are poured into designing, developing, implementing and training pre-launch, then assessing post-launch personnel productivity.
How extensively did you include your entire corporate culture in making this transition? Pre-launch training is not all that is necessary for cultural buy-in.
What did your transition look like from your employees’ perspective?
Perhaps they perceived launch day as Impending Doom. Chances are your implementation team was not multi-functional from the start.
The effects of marginalizing employees during this scale of transition can have a huge demotivating impact on its success.
To Do: Consider the impact of creating multi-functional teams to design, develop and implement your transition. Rely on buy-in from more than just key stakeholders. Create a cascade of internal evangelists in the process.
The impact of your decision will not only impact your transition from legacy IT to bimodal systems. You can impact organizational productivity and culture in the process.
Yes, you may have different skill sets required of your current and future IT teams (and other teams). However, consider the sustainable value of taking the time to determine how they interact and engage in an ongoing culture which remains collaborative and multi-functional. .
This post was brought to you by IBM for MSPs and opinions are my own.
Babette N. Ten Haken is a management strategist and team-building leadership coach. She helps teams, startups and businesses who wrestle with unpredictable revenue streams. Her Workshops and Playbooks create more productive and profitable teams in healthier organizations. Her Playbook on leadership and business strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Contact her here.