Gartner and other analyst firms now routinely refer to the rise of bimodal IT, which describes how IT organizations are approaching different classes of application workloads. The workloads running on-premise, for example, tend to be systems of record where security and all things related to operational excellence are the main focus.
At the other end of the spectrum are systems of engagement consisting of, for example, social networking and mobile computing applications where the business agility surrounding application workloads is the single most prized attribute of the enterprise IT environment. Not surprisingly, most of these application workloads wind up being deployed in the cloud.
Who's managing what inside IT organizations
Naturally, the owners of the systems of record inside most IT organizations tend to be the traditional IT department. Systems of engagement, however, are often directly managed by a line of business (LOB) such as the marketing department, which frequently has set up its own IT department in miniature to manage those applications.
For solution providers across the channel looking to sell IT products and services, the emergence of this bimodal IT model creates a split IT market that requires a bimodal approach to sales. Most solution providers today are very familiar with what it takes to sell products and services to internal IT organizations. Selling products and services directly to an LOB organization often requires a different approach.
The primary thing most LOB organizations are focused on when it comes to systems of engagement is the amount of time to value. They want those applications to be up and running as fast as possible, which means security and operational excellence are not necessarily all that high on their list of priorities.
Not only does Gartner expect a bimodal approach to IT to become the standard mode of operation within most IT organizations, the analyst firm is now encouraging clients to rethink how they approach IT sourcing all together. They are suggesting that organizations use a three-layer model that spans everything from ad hoc services to that layer of foundational services on which the business is based on.
A new bimodal IT approach
In fact, this shift to a bimodal approach has already given rise to the emergence of solution providers in the channel that are “born of the cloud.” Rather than focusing on reselling products that are consumed using capital, they focus most of their efforts on selling cloud services that are treated as an operational expense.
The challenge for solution providers is that different people inside any organization are making IT decisions based on different sets of business and IT priorities. To succeed in that environment, solution providers themselves need to become bimodal. Otherwise, they might wind up missing 50 percent or more of the available budget being allocated to IT spending by all the departments at any given customer.
A bimodal approach to selling IT, for example, might consist of a core team that focuses on traditional data center and desktop opportunities, while a cloud services team focuses on expanding into the realm of systems of engagement applications delivered via the cloud.
Whatever the approach, it’s clear that solution providers are going to need two sales solutions that align with a new bimodal approach that customers are taking to the way they apply IT inside their organizations.