Choosing Strength and Speed
“The IT organization can’t turn into a digital startup overnight and, besides, there’s a raft of business-critical responsibilities that it simply can’t (and absolutely should not) divest,” says Peter Sondergaard, SVP and head of research for Gartner.
While a bimodal approach to development isn’t new, we need a new definition of it and approach to it.
Modernization is evolving in today’s end-to-end digital transformations. In the past, modernization projects focused on migrating old applications away from ancient hardware. In recent years, bimodal meant separating mainframe, or legacy, development from innovative or digitally transformative projects – separating slow from fast.
Figure 1 – Old view of bimodal – Slow vs. Fast
But this approach is inadequate for ongoing business and technology realities. Not everything will transition to the cloud, and mainframe technologies will continue to be a critical part of the backbone of business. Plus, it’s to our detriment if we focus all of our energies on new apps and modern tech without maintaining and maximizing legacy systems that continue to provide value to the organization.
We prefer to approach bimodal with the goal of strength and speed, creating the most rapid path for realizing tech delivery and value. Rather than separate legacy and innovation, our bimodal can focus your energies where it makes sense to deliver new digital experiences quickly while moving more methodically on back-end systems with regulation in mind.
Bimodal: Changing How We Think about Digital Development
Within a bimodal mindset, you focus first on the capabilities and user experiences that you want to deliver. You create the desired future state that meets the needs of your consumers by delivering the value they want.
The beauty of this approach is that you don’t let old systems hold you back. You can modernize the architecture of legacy systems by applying the APIs on top. By having a loose coupling of “front-end” and “back-end,” you can keep a focus on both and achieve results faster.
Only update what you need, when you need it, and do it upon a flexible governance structure.
In the end, it’s not about legacy following old delivery models while new technology is running Agile. It’s about conforming the legacy systems to become more agile while not slowing down innovation.
Determine whether this type of bimodal approach could help your team or organization create new technologies without losing the value and foundation provided by mainframe systems:
- How do you view your legacy systems versus skunkworks or digitally transforming initiatives?
- They’re better together
- Leveraging one benefits the other
- Legacy just holds us back
- How strong and resilient do you think your legacy, or mainframe, systems are? Why or why not?
- Are you transforming, innovating, and leveraging modern tech as much, or as fast, as you desire? Why or why not?
- Where do you have opportunities for innovation while meeting your industry’s regulatory or other external forces and requirements?
- What innovations to the consumer experience do you think you must make in the next 6-12 months?
- How do you think your development approach and culture could improve if it had more cohesion between legacy and innovation?
Ultimately, you want to drive to the point of leverage where every dollar spent builds the transformative architecture of tomorrow rather than adding to the technical debt of yesterday. But, how?
- Step One: Start by thinking about it as one ecosystem where your legacy and systems of engagement together with all the points of interaction with customers, suppliers and partners coexist.
- Step Two: Game out what is the level of abstract needed, and what does that mean for refactoring or decomposing legacy bottlenecks in terms of API development or creation of newer better micro services.
- Step Three: Look at an intelligent automation strategy along this continuum that helps to drive and finance the needed innovations and abstract work.
- Step Four: Articulate a data strategy that leverages a variety of techniques like Caching, Virtualization, Federation and serious EIM to further abstract out and reduce ongoing complexity.
Bringing a cohesive, bimodal approach to development, also, means that all systems evolve and progress with the right level of focus and resources based on the organization’s goals.
We believe that an approach that delivers strength and speed is the new bimodal for an organization to transform with confidence.