Market experts predict that worldwide IT spend will surpass $3.9 trillion in 2015, a 3.9 per cent increase from 2014 figures, and that much of this growth will be driven by the new digital economy. The effect that this will have on enterprises across the globe is nothing short of dramatic. As with any major technology paradigm shift, disruption to the status quo will be significant and IT teams will need to make permanent, structural changes to the way they provision and oversee technology procurement across the areas they are responsible for. This will be the only way that the companies they work for will be able to capitalise on the opportunities offered up by the new digital age. That said however, the growth of shadow IT demonstrates that there is an interest from across business teams for new digital solutions to business issues.

The first step to digitisation is to realise that the enterprise is no longer the corporate behemoth it once was. Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner states that “digital start-ups sit inside [every] organisation, in [the] marketing department, in HR, in logistics and in sales.” As business units begin to behave as start-ups – independently provisioning their own IT services without the support of the central IT department – the IT team must realise its new place in the digital world. Gartner has termed this new world of corporate IT as “bi-modal IT”. In layman’s terms, this is where IT becomes divided into two sections: a traditional IT function, where enterprise class systems are delivered, providing reliable, predictable and safe IT solutions (also known as mode one); and non-linear, agile IT solutions, usually cloud based, and more akin to what you would expect from a start-up (mode two).

In addition to advances in productivity, efficiency, time to market and profitability, bi-modal IT creates a situation where technological demand and control steadily de-centralises away from the IT team. This leads to the creation of more digital business units that sit on the periphery of organisations, often with a customer centric purpose, as opposed to a technology centric one.

While de-centralisation seems to suggest that the IT team is being forced out of the position it has held for the past few decades, it in fact offers opportunities for IT to become more ingrained across the various business units now looking to digitisation to improve their operations. By understanding the start-up mentality and bi-modal IT model, the IT team can occupy two key positions within the business.

The first is the traditional IT function – keeping the lights on and the servers running – something that the IT team are already very good at. The second is to facilitate the procurement, delivery and management of the dynamic mode two digital services that will provide the differentiation for each business unit at an external market level. Leading on mode two IT makes IT central to a decentralised IT model. It reasserts the IT team as the technology experts in a company, but without stifling innovation and growth across the wider business.

By being the enablers of bi-modal IT, and by association the instigators of a start-up mentality across businesses, IT can continue to be instrumental to the success of business. In a world where technology is the differentiator, the custodians of that technology, the IT team are synonymous with business success.

This article is brought to you in association with Intel

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