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Drive Analytics Innovation by Using a Bimodal

Approach
Published: 7 September 2017 ID: G00331998

Analyst(s): Melody Chien, Nigel Shen

Data and analytics leaders must balance the application of emerging


technologies for analytics innovation and advanced data exploration with the
fulfillment of conventional reporting needs. By taking a bimodal approach,
they can speed up analytics innovation and increase its business impact.

Key Challenges
■ Most organizations are struggling to provide flexible and agile analytics support to solve new
business problems under traditional, rigid analytics infrastructure and processes.
■ Data and analytics leaders must cope with two competing pressures: providing stable, reliable,
and high-performance analytics services (Mode 1) for enterprise reporting, as well as delivering
innovative, flexible and quick-turnaround analytics services (Mode 2) for augmented data
discovery and process automation.
■ Data and analytics leaders have to balance quick delivery with smooth deployment for analytics
innovation to avoid performance disruptions and to achieve key digital business objectives.
■ Some organizations are unsure of how to kick off a bimodal approach due to constraints in
budgeting, staffing, skills and experience.

Recommendations
Data and analytics leaders responsible for analytics and business intelligence (BI) strategies should:

■ Evaluate enterprise readiness for adopting bimodal analytics by conducting a gap analysis of
roles, skills, culture and processes.
■ Create separate working environments for Mode 1 and Mode 2 analytics by establishing a tiered
BI and analytics platform.
■ Launch Mode 2 analytics projects to quickly build analytics capabilities for innovation by
focusing on short-term deliverables and by allocating dedicated resources.
■ Define change management processes that align with business and IT stakeholders'
requirements and expectations before deploying innovation projects.
■ Ensure a smooth deployment for handoffs by using checklists and ensuring a collaborative
partnership between Mode 1 and Mode 2 teams.

Table of Contents

Introduction............................................................................................................................................ 2
Analysis.................................................................................................................................................. 4
Evaluate Enterprise Readiness for Adopting Bimodal Analytics......................................................... 4
Create Separate Working Environments for Mode 1 and Mode 2 Analytics....................................... 6
Launch Mode 2 Analytics Projects to Quickly Build Advanced Analytics Capabilities for Innovation
.........................................................................................................................................................8
Define a Change Management Processes That Aligns With Business and IT Stakeholders'
Requirements and Expectations Before Deploying Innovation Projects........................................... 10
Ensure a Smooth Deployment for Handoffs.................................................................................... 11
Gartner Recommended Reading.......................................................................................................... 12

List of Tables

Table 1. Comparing the Characteristics of Mode 1 and Mode 2 Analytics............................................... 5

List of Figures

Figure 1. Understanding Bimodal IT........................................................................................................3


Figure 2. A Tiered BI and Analytics Platform Using a Bimodal Approach................................................. 8
Figure 3. A Phase-by-Phase Approach for Allocating Mode 2 Resources and Building Competency...... 9

Introduction
Many enterprises today are primarily focusing on exploiting current data and analytics capabilities in
order to provide stable and reliable operational support to keep business running. The priority of
data and analytics leaders in these enterprises is to supply stable, reliable and high-performance
analytics services in predefined reports, dashboards and other reporting responsibilities. These
services are called Mode 1. The demands of digital business require data and analytics leaders to
maximize the value of the enterprise's data by supporting complex decision making, solving new
business problems or automatizing processes. However, enabling faster analytics innovation and
exploration with new technology or new methodology requires a big change: a more flexible and

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agile analytics approach, which is called Mode 2. The Mode 1 approach, with its less flexible
structures and processes for changes, is ill-suited for Mode 2 analytics requirements. Indeed, this
traditional approach frustrates innovation.

Gartner has produced an extensive body of research on bimodal IT over the past few years,
demonstrating the speed, agility and flexibility it creates for CIOs and IT leaders to adapt to
changing digital business needs. According to the Gartner 2017 CIO survey, 43% of enterprises
globally now employ a bimodal approach, and 71% of the top performers globally also report that
bimodal IT improves innovation. It's evident that bimodal IT is imperative to digital business
success. The more mature version of bimodal is enterprise bimodal, which encompasses all aspects
of the enterprise, including analytics. By using a bimodal approach, data and analytics leaders can
effectively balance and fulfill both Mode 1 and Mode 2 initiatives in order to achieve long-term and
optimal business outcomes.

Figure 1 defines bimodal and explains the features of each mode (see "Deliver on the Promise of
Bimodal" and "Kick-Start Bimodal IT by Launching Mode 2").

Figure 1. Understanding Bimodal IT

Source: Gartner (September 2017)

Mode 1 focuses on predictability and has a goal of stability and reliability. It is best used where
requirements are well-understood in advance and objectives are clear. We can predict and plan.

Gartner, Inc. | G00331998 Page 3 of 13


Mode 2 is exploratory, agile and flexible. Requirements are unclear and change from the start. It's
best-suited for areas where an organization cannot make an accurate, detailed, predefined plan
because not enough is known.

Operating in bimodal requires changes in organizational structure, skill sets, performance


measurements, governance processes, mindset and other IT management practices. Each mode
has its specific organizational and resource requirements.

Often, data and analytics leaders lack the necessary resources and experiences for launching Mode
2 analytics and, therefore, they may be stalled. They can use this research to clarify bimodal
requirements, evaluate enterprise readiness for Mode 2 by doing a gap analysis of current
capabilities, and identify insufficiencies. However, don't wait until everything is ready to get started.
Realistically, Mode 2 analytics projects can be launched on a small scale, with minimal resources for
evaluation and proof of concept, to quickly build advanced analytics capabilities for innovation. At
the project bimodal phase, organizations often choose to build separate working environments or
split into Mode 1 and Mode 2 teams to build momentum in both. Data and analytics leaders should
also define change management processes that align with business and IT stakeholders'
requirements and expectations for Mode 1 and Mode 2 respectively. During the deployment
process, a quick checklist can help project teams avoid missing critical components. Essentially,
data and analytics leaders need to ensure collaborative partnership between Mode 1 and Mode 2
teams through shared visions and strategic goals.

Analysis
Evaluate Enterprise Readiness for Adopting Bimodal Analytics
Each mode in bimodal has specific requirements for analytics skills, resources, structure,
methodologies, governance and performance management processes, along with a different culture
and attitude toward value and risk. Data and analytics leaders should first understand what the
requirements and characteristics are for each mode. Table 1 lists the characteristics of Mode 1 and
Mode 2 from the data and analytics viewpoint.

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Table 1. Comparing the Characteristics of Mode 1 and Mode 2 Analytics

Tasks/Requirements Mode 1 Mode 2

Goal Operation, Renovation Exploration, Innovation, Incubation

Infrastructure/Platform BI Application/Platform, Embedded


Analytics Tools Modern BI Platform, Data Science Platform

Analytics skills Largely Descriptive Reporting Advanced Analytics

Culture IT-Centric, Data-Centric Business-Centric, Analytics-Centric

Failure Tolerance None — Minimal High

Project Scope Clearly Defined Possibly Ambiguous, Uncertain

Project Time Long (Months to Years) Short (Days to Weeks)

Project Management Mostly Waterfall, Rigorous Agile, Flexible, Iterative

Strategy Broad-Based Participation Project-Based Participation

Planned, Approval-Based, More Detail to


Governance Begin Empirical, Process-Based, Less Detail to Begin

Multidisciplinary and Cross-Functional Teams


Roles Stable Roles Based on Functions (Citizen Roles)

Metrics Clear, Long-Term ROI Unclear ROI at the Beginning

BI = business intelligence

Source: Gartner (September 2017)

As you can see from Table 1, there are significant differences in how common tasks or requirements
are implemented in the two modes. For example, Mode 1 focuses on day-to-day business
operations, and also the renovation of the legacy environment in the known and predictable
situations. It starts with clear and predefined topics and scope, and clear objectives. On the other
hand, Mode 2 is exploratory, experimenting to solve new problems. It is optimized for areas of
uncertainty or that are less well-understood at the start, and often for initiatives that begin with
hypotheses or ideas. It acts as a nursery to incubate an idea before it's proved for business value.
Data and analytics leaders should be aware of the differentiated styles of work and approaches to
manage and execute the analytics initiatives.

To evaluate the organization's readiness for bimodal, start by conducting a gap analysis. This task
identifies what you currently have and what's either missing or needs to be changed. Traditionally,
enterprises are very likely to be heavily oriented toward Mode 1 in their resources, structures,

Gartner, Inc. | G00331998 Page 5 of 13


processes and skills. To meet digital business needs, data and analytics leaders need to pay more
attention to developing the very different Mode 2 equivalents to accelerate analytics innovation.

During the gap analysis, data and analytics leaders should identify insufficiencies and missing
pieces. One of the most commonly seen gaps is organizational culture, which is critical but hard to
solve. Launching a bimodal initiative fundamentally affects the culture of the BI/IT organization. The
Mode 2 approach requires a shift from an IT-centric to a business-centric mindset, which involves
broader participation from stakeholders across functional teams. Close cooperation and frequent
checkpoints with business stakeholders during the project cycle are crucial for success. Mode 2
also requires higher tolerance for failures, because experimenting with an idea and clarifying
uncertainty may not have a direct impact on business value. Instead, projects are managed in an
agile way, with multiple short iteration processes. Therefore, Mode 2 team members need to be
open-minded, think out of box and have patience for ambiguity.

All of these differences and mindset shifts can lead to "cultural anxiety" in managers and staff
because of the change in behaviors and ways of thinking. Data and analytics leaders should
acknowledge the cultural changes and be proactive in managing this challenge, and build the trust
over time. Cultural change and successful transitioning to new roles and practices is dependent on
open dialogs and mutual trust among IT members, and between management and staff.

Another critical gap is in analytics skills. Mode 1 analytics mainly involves descriptive reporting and
some diagnostic analytics. Mode 2 involves more advanced analytics, such as predictive analytics
and even prescriptive analytics, which require more understanding and experiences in statistics,
mathematics, complex data modeling and, increasingly, in machine learning and artificial
intelligence technologies. The data scientist role is a prime example of in-demand Mode 2 skills.
Through the analysis of social media and public discussion forums, Gartner has found that the No.1
role in demand for building digital and bimodal capabilities is the data scientist. However, data
scientists are difficult to recruit and retain due to the scarce supply.

Organizations may lack some of the needed skills at the start of new Mode 2 projects. Therefore,
data and analytics leaders should start with Mode 2 projects that are relatively simple and less
technically intensive. The Mode 2 team can then gradually build the needed skills over time.
Partnering with experienced people in other business units can also help fill the skills gap. One
approach is to leverage the role of the "citizen data scientist." Though not formally trained, citizen
data scientists can still execute a variety of data science tasks with the help of smart data discovery
tools. They also often have the ability to extend their analytic prowess and use their business
acumen to derive advanced insights. In addition, conducting ongoing technical trainings is helpful
as well to get a Mode 2 team up to speed. Leveraging external analytics service providers can be
another option to quickly build the competencies.

Create Separate Working Environments for Mode 1 and Mode 2 Analytics


Gartner has introduced a tiered model for organizations' BI and analytics platforms, which contains
an information portal, analytics workbench and data science lab (see "How to Architect the BI and
Analytics Platform"):

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■ Information portal: The workspace where business users can quickly and easily find the key,
trusted metrics with which the organization measures its performance. It is usually made up of
reporting and dashboard capabilities that provide content to information consumers.
■ Analytics workbench: The workspace that is used to investigate trends in trusted metrics or to
detect patterns in other datasets — from multiple sources — that may turn into opportunities or
risks. It is an agile tier to explore information and has access to a broad range of data sources,
with limited to no support from technical experts.
■ Data science lab: The workspace that delivers advanced analytics outputs, using predictive
modeling, machine learning/artificial intelligence and other advanced analytic capabilities, in
support of business outcomes. It is a flexible environment where experimentation — with trial
and error — is actively encouraged to generate impactful insights for the organization.

This tiered BI platform is compatible with, and complementary to, a bimodal analytics approach (see
Figure 2). The information portal corresponds to Mode 1 for traditional reporting capabilities, while
the data science lab corresponds to Mode 2 for explorative and innovative capabilities. The
analytics workbench is for both Mode 1 and Mode 2. This tiered platform creates a complete
working environment for all BI and analytics initiatives. The information portal tier is fundamental,
and should already exist in an enterprise. The next priority should be building the analytics
workbench platform (see "How to Implement a Modern Business Intelligence and Analytics
Platform" and "Select the Right Architecture Model for Your Modern BI and Analytics Platform").
This platform initiative provides a separate development environment and the necessary analytics
techniques for Mode 2 projects. The data science lab tier can be built at a later time when the BI
analytics competency increases and proper use cases exist. Both the analytics workbench and data
science lab tiers provide an agile and flexible environment for quick and short process iterations.
The Mode 2 team can develop, test and scale their innovation projects in an environment that is
separate from the normal operational systems without occupying production resources or causing
performance disruption.

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Figure 2. A Tiered BI and Analytics Platform Using a Bimodal Approach

BI = busines intelligence; SCM = supply chain management

Source: Gartner (September 2017)

Launch Mode 2 Analytics Projects to Quickly Build Advanced Analytics Capabilities


for Innovation
Both Mode 1 and Mode 2 can deliver innovation in a sense, but for different scenarios and with
different methodologies. Mode 1 focuses on the renovation of core applications and systems in the
legacy environment to optimize efficiency and effectiveness, whereas Mode 2 delivers new
technology with new capabilities to solve new business problems. Quickly building advanced
analytics capabilities mostly happens in Mode 2 projects. The gaps you have identified from
previous step will take time to fill. However, data and analytics leaders don't have to wait until all
issues are fixed and all the resources are in place. You can still kick off a bimodal approach by
launching Mode 2 with minimal resources, targeting simple projects. This is best done gradually and
in phases. For example, in the beginning, data and analytics leaders may not have the resources or
capacity for Mode 2, and IT may be primarily working to support Mode 1 to "run" and "grow" the
business, as illustrated in the first circle in Figure 3 (see "Simplify Service Portfolio Prioritization and
Resource Planning Using Run-Grow-Transform Categorization").

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Figure 3. A Phase-by-Phase Approach for Allocating Mode 2 Resources and Building Competency

Source: Gartner (September 2017)

As shown in Figure 3, at the start, Mode 1 analytics utilize 100% of IT resources to support the
continuing operation of the business ("run") and the organic growth or improvements in known
business processes ("grow"). The resources here can refer to head count or budget. Later, in Phase
1, data and analytics leaders can start allocating 20% of resources for Mode 2 projects, where they
can focus on implementing new tools or new technology that enable the enterprise to enter new
markets, address new customer segments, create new value propositions and enact new business
models ("transform"). Likewise, in Phase 2, an additional 10% of overall resources can be added to
Mode 2, where there may be scenarios for pure R&D that is often performed in a data science lab
and may not have clear business value. The projects carried out in the data science lab are for
testing ideas and experimenting. If the experiment fails, it is killed. If it is successful and refactoring
is required, then the Mode 2 team will continue the effort to figure out how to scale up and make it
more reliable. So, by doing phased implementations, data and analytics leaders can gradually
allocate resources for the Mode 2 approach, build related capabilities and increase the scope of
business cases over time. This can help avoid performance disruption that is caused by a sudden
resources reduction in supporting regular business operation. Data and analytics leaders can decide
on the percentage increase in resources for Mode 2 in each phase, and the number of phases in a
period of one to two years based on their own resources and business objectives. Data and
analytics leaders should look into bimodal strategies for achieving the right balance of operational
and transformational innovation. They need to address how to effectively implement bimodal and
gain overall leadership buy-in. They also need to consider the impact of the company's culture on
their ability to balance Mode 1 and Mode 2 talent capabilities and how the teams work together.
This is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

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It's easier to start the organization's first Mode 2 project in a tactical way, without attempting major
organizational changes. You can facilitate obtaining Mode 2 results without needing the major
changes usually required from outside IT organizations. The focus of initial Mode 2 projects is on
learning experiences — starting small, iterating, getting results quickly and learning from them. Start
Mode 2 projects on the low-hanging fruit to get quick wins and build competency, get business
buy-in, and gradually extend the scope for bigger business impact.

One hypothetical example is based on the trend in agriculture, where agribusiness companies are
adopting a range of advanced analytics to help growers improve yields. Monsanto has publicly
talked about an emerging business of "economic services" based on providing growers with
1
information to boost yields, improve outputs, reduce inputs, and do all of this more sustainably.

An agribusiness company may have relied on traditional Mode 1 BI methodologies and tools, and
historical data, to help farmers grow crops more efficiently. However, it now realizes that Internet of
Things field sensors, data science and machine learning offer dramatic new opportunities to
increase farmers' productivity and profitability.

To exploit these opportunities, the company can launch a program to develop and apply data
science expertise and knowledge across IT and business teams. It also can create a Mode 2
analytics team that is chartered to experiment with new analytics solutions aimed at farmers,
including the development of a data science platform to host new predictive data models that can
consume data from the growing number of field sensors, and from external sources of weather and
economic data. Some companies can make "techquisitions" to fill gaps in their technology portfolio
and expertise. Even further, the company can partner with other firms to apply more advanced
techniques, such as deep learning algorithms, in specialized areas, such as the discovery of new
crop protection technologies and techniques.

Define a Change Management Processes That Aligns With Business and IT


Stakeholders' Requirements and Expectations Before Deploying Innovation Projects
Data and analytics leaders should manage innovation as a process life cycle. First, ideas get
evaluated, vetted, tested, and ultimately handed off for implementation. As Mode 2 projects are
completed, and ready for implementation and the transition to Mode 1 status, an evolving set of
policy and practices adjustments, as well as technical and infrastructure changes, will be required to
accommodate the new approach. The change management for this new approach needs to be
carefully considered before deployment. Data and analytics leaders need to include business and IT
stakeholders in discussions, and make sure there is an agreement on the changes. Any new
addition or change needs to be properly documented, and included in the enterprise information
management process (see "Use Bimodal Enterprise Information Management for Data and Analytics
Program Innovation"). For example, newly created algorithms or data objects should be
documented in a common data dictionary. The new addition or change could happen in the
following areas:

■ Infrastructure and architecture


■ Hardware and software

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■ Data (data objects, data types, data models, reports, dashboards, algorithms)
■ Operations (job scheduling, monitoring, archiving, backing up)
■ Ownership, content producers, content consumers
■ Service types (such as API, web services or others)
■ Regulatory and compliance constraints
■ Access and permission
■ End-to-end life cycle management

In addition, these changes should be considered as opportunities to address Mode 1 maturity and
performance priorities. For example, there may be a legacy governance or marketing campaign
practice in place that is no longer relevant or necessary within the modern and digital IT
environment, but still exists due to a bureaucratic or administrative habit. Mode 2, by requiring a
new set of policy and practice environment, can open the door for potential improvements to Mode
1. Data and analytics leaders should include leaderships from both Modes in reviewing and
assessing policy and practice changes, with the goal of identifying potential benefits, as well as the
potential risks of enterprise adoption.

The change management processes need to be reviewed periodically to reflect any ongoing
change. Incremental renovations in Mode 1 or iterative innovations in Mode 2 will constantly cause
changes in any form or aspect. Data and analytics leaders should be open to any change that
improves business outcomes.

Ensure a Smooth Deployment for Handoffs


Most Mode 2 initiatives will need to integrate with core applications and data in Mode 1. Like
planting a seed in a nursery and waiting for it to grow, the new innovation, along with the new
capabilities developed in Mode 2, can be "transplanted" back to Mode 1 as appropriate to make it
part of the business routine. During the deployment period, data and analytics leaders can create a
checklist or playbook and make sure all prerequisites are fulfilled at every step. By doing so, missing
critical components can be avoided and a smooth transition can be ensured. The checklist can
include, but is not limited to, what specific actions to take, who is to take the actions, when to take
actions, which actions take precedent, and what the rollback procedures are if the initiative fails.
Data and analytics leaders tend to focus more on the infrastructure and software aspects, and are
likely to pay less attention to intangible areas such as the process, culture and roles, which are also
important for successful deployment.

A smooth deployment requires an open, collaborative and transparent partnership between Mode 1
and Mode 2 teams, and they must be willing to engage in change. During Mode 2 to Mode 1
handoffs, data and analytics leaders need to make sure that the two modes do not operate
independently of each other or complete. Even though the two teams are separate, they are driven
by a shared vision and the same strategic goal of achieving digital transformation.

Gartner, Inc. | G00331998 Page 11 of 13


Gartner Recommended Reading
Some documents may not be available as part of your current Gartner subscription.

"Kick-Start Bimodal IT by Launching Mode 2"

"CIOs Must Shape the Current IT Environment for Bimodal Success"

"Deliver on the Promise of Bimodal"

"CIOs Must Evolve IT Roles and Talent Profiles to Adopt and Scale Bimodal"

"Simplify Service Portfolio Prioritization and Resource Planning Using Run-Grow-Transform


Categorization"

"How to Architect the BI and Analytics Platform"

"How to Implement a Modern Business Intelligence and Analytics Platform"

"Select the Right Architecture Model for Your Modern BI and Analytics Platform"

"Use Bimodal Enterprise Information Management to Succeed With Innovative Data and Analytics
Programs"

Evidence
1 "Monsanto CIO Jim Swanson Leads a Digital Revolution of the World's Oldest Industry." Forbes.

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