IT Rollout Dilemma: Speed vs. Scalability. Why Not Both?

It’s a decision all solution providers must face when approaching the best way to implement an IT rollout to a customer. What is more important: scalability, efficiency, and accuracy or speed and agility?

Elliot Markowitz

April 29, 2015

3 Min Read
IT Rollout Dilemma: Speed vs. Scalability. Why Not Both?

It’s a decision all solution providers must face when approaching the best way to implement an IT rollout to a customer. What is more important: scalability, efficiency and accuracy, or speed and agility?

Typically an organization and solution provider will agree on either one of these modes. However, it is becoming more common for companies to adopt a bi-modal approach to IT, as they are usually undergoing more than one implementation at time. Gartner defines bimodal IT as “having two modes of IT, each designed to develop and deliver information and technology intensive services in its own way.”

This is causing a struggle within IT departments as both modes work against each other to a degree. As a result, companies need to adapt and adopt a more outcome-centered approach to project management, according to Gartner. Gartner analysts will discuss this very issue in more depth at the Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summits 2015 in Grapevine, Texas, June 1-3 and in London June 8-9.

"Enterprise project management organization (PMO) and application management leaders are struggling to adapt governance processes to handle new, agile Mode 2 efforts that don't conform to traditional project management structures," said Donna Fitzgerald, research vice president at Gartner, in a prepared statement. "A focus on business outcome and value will bridge the gap between Mode 1 and Mode 2 projects.”

To help solution providers and organizations struggling with this, Gartner has identified three best practices to better manage any type of IT project or program.

Using a Simple Approach to Determine Which Mode Makes Sense for a Project:
Determining what mode to use on a project many times has more to do with company culture than other factors, according to Gartner. “While Mode 2 can theoretically be applied to any new project, Gartner recommends a simple construct: consider Mode 1 for systems of record and Mode 2 for systems of differentiation and systems of innovation," said Fitzgerald.

Core systems—finance applications or email provisioning—are critical to all businesses but there is really no competitive advantage. Therefore, these are generally classified as Mode 1, where accuracy and clear outcomes are the priority. Systems of differentiation—those in which time to market is essential—are more Mode 2, since they generally offer a competitive advantage and will need to be updated as they move along, according to Gartner.

Defining the Intended Business Outcome as the Measure of Project Success
Organizations are struggling because they are using the same metrics for success to measure Mode 2 projects as they would with traditional Mode 1 projects, Gartner noted. In reality, however, the outcomes are different, so the metrics of success need to be different. Gartner recommends identifying a specific business outcome such as improving lead conversation by a certain amount, even before the project starts. “This scenario works well across both modes of projects because the outcome defines the scope, and fulfillment of the scope determines completion, rather than just depending on completing a list of requirements," Fitzgerald said.

Separating Portfolio and Project Governance for Easier Bimodal Governance
The final area where project management struggles is maintaining consistency in governing the project once it has started, according to Gartner. This is increasingly difficult for organizations dealing with bi-modal projects.

"Place responsibility for the project with the people who can practically make things happen," Fitzgerald said. "Place responsibility for the investment portfolio with the people who have the authority to make decisions across the entire portfolio. Regardless of the mode, the PMO supports governance through reporting on progress toward successful delivery. This criterion remains the same whether the project is replacing a core financial system of record, or building a mobile app that enables consumers to purchase goods from the company. It ensures a consistent approach across Mode 1 and Mode 2 projects.”

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About the Author(s)

Elliot Markowitz

Elliot Markowitz is a veteran in channel publishing. He served as an editor at CRN for 11 years, was editorial director of webcasts and events at Ziff Davis, and also built the webcast group as editorial director at Nielsen Business Media. He's served in senior leadership roles across several channel brands.

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