July 04, 2017
Written by Sanna Haapio

Okay, so forgive me for the cheesy and sensational headline. I couldn’t help myself! My last blog addressed some broad topics around how we measure the success of MSP’s in a SIAM environment and share out the accountability of various KPI’s.

In this article, I want to deep dive into something more specific and explore the relationship between SIAM, Vendor Management and what Gartner call ‘Bi-modal IT’.



What is Bi-modal IT and is anyone doing it?

Like many buzzwords, bi-modal IT comes with a list of other things it can be called, related to or indeed confused with. Two speed ITSM is also often used to describe the concept. Gartner’s definition of the term looks a bit like this:

“Bimodal IT is the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the other on agility.”

So what does this mean in real words? Effectively what you are being asked to do is recognise that some IT projects and activities require a long and slow game approach, where you have to invest more in the reliable and stable infrastructures. And that activities which require a faster and more agile approach, where lighter, more rapid and innovative skills and technologies are needed. The art of Bi-modal IT is finding a balance between the two disciplines and knowing when to leverage one and not the other.

In reality, this can be tricky as balancing things like staff resources, budgets and availability are not always initially setup to be managed this way. Particularly when the way legacy technologies were implemented are not immediately compatible with how we would like to move forward.

But IT teams are finding ways round this and starting to succeed with Bi-modal IT.

It mostly comes down to recognising that IT staff on the ground have a big part to play in understanding the objectives and projects of IT and carefully judging when best to employ fast and slow tactics and technology. So yes, teams are learning to work in this way, but it is probably not as black and white as the ‘glossary of IT’ likes to make it out to be and the art of bouncing between ways of working is an act of speed and agility in itself.

How does SIAM fit into all this?

Less SIAM and more vendor management, in the sense that enterprise level vendors are far more well suited to the slow and long game style IT projects. Looking after established infrastructure, large scale procurement and storage for example. Then in the other lane of traffic you have smaller vendors; the innovators, the disrupters and the highly flexible.

As IT sources new vendors for different tasks, recognising what style of project or objective they are working on, which vendor type they should be looking for and then playing by the right rules in terms of pricing, licencing, contracts and capability for the job in hand.

SIAM and software integrations quickly become more important as the environments become bigger and more complex. Developing sturdy and highly available integrations for all the applications and infrastructure in the slow lane and having highly changeable, quickly testable and relatively application agnostic integrations for everything in the fast lane. Understanding this relationship and making it intrinsic to your SIAM approach, IT project management and rates of change is becoming increasingly important.
Gartner bi-modal IT

Why do people want small player vendors anyway?

So let’s take a closer look at the top tier of the smaller, faster and more agile vendors and why they are so important. Many businesses (especially the big ones) traditionally like to buy from other big vendors. It’s safer, securer and well tested. However, it will come with a price tag and you can’t always guarantee it’s going to give you everything you want, but it might just give you want you need… for now.

So enter the smaller vendor, with that disruptive, affordable piece of tech that is going to turn your customer experience on its head, double your sales, save you 10 hours a week of coding, so on and so on.

But it’s scary right?

What if it breaks, what if they go bust or what if it’s not compatible with something bigger and older? At the end of the day, you need these technologies to move faster and be competitive, so you’d better find a way of making them a part of what you do and the best way to do this is to look for direct benefits and opportunities.

Having a smaller vendor on no contract means you can move on, upgrade or downgrade whenever you want… that flexibility is a benefit. What if you need new features to meet a quickly emerging customer need? A small vendor, with lighter weight development and a closer understanding of your business will almost always be better placed to quickly create that new capability for you within their product… and again, this responsiveness is a great advantage.



Why am I so interested in putting SIAM and Bi-modal IT together?

I work in a pretty fast moving and advanced pocket of the SIAM world and we’re providing technology that speeds up the connectivity between applications faster than most people can imagine possible. There seems a to be another big push going on with bi-modal/two speed IT at the moment and this time round, SIAM looks like it has a much bigger place in it all.


So I am interested to hear from anyone who is currently working with SIAM who is keen to better understand on explore how they can better manage their growing needs to move faster in certain areas of the business, but maintain the control and reliability they need in other areas.


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