Shaw Centre Ottawa

Be More Agile with Two-speed IT

By Michel Tourigny, Senior Manager, Infosys Public Services, @InfosysPS
Citizen and business demands are changing faster than government organization’s ability to address them. Straddled with a complex landscape of loosely coupled legacy and/or comparatively new-age IT systems, multiple stakeholders, skillset challenges, and constrained budgets, government IT organizations struggle to carve out time and budget from lights-on activities to invest in new areas.
A new model – Two-speed IT (or BiModal IT as referred by Gartner) – is generating a lot of interest among organizations, across industries, to tackle the aforementioned challenges. This model defines a framework that enables CIOs to create a high-speed IT team that co-exists with the traditional IT team.
The traditional IT team focuses on managing existing systems, supporting business teams, and implementation of enterprise-wide solutions. High-speed IT team focuses exclusively on rapid experimentation, quick onboarding of emerging technologies, construction of a minimum viable product, and its implementation for selected audience.
Many organizations have leveraged this model to accelerate innovation. A leading North American insurance company used this model to launch a new teen-driver safety program based on telematics and gamification in just 4 months. An aircraft manufacturer leveraged it to incubate advanced analytics for aircraft simulation and successfully delivered over 39 projects in 18 months for its customers.
To successfully implement and use the two-speed IT model, government IT organizations need to do the following:

  1. Setup up high-speed IT foundation built on rapid experimentation, DevOps and agile methodologies, automation and collaboration technologies, and a lean governance structure
  2. Define how the high-speed IT and the traditional enterprise IT function co-exist and integrate i.e. which projects should be picked up by the high-speed or traditional team, when and how would a project/product pass from high-speed team to the traditional IT team, what design principles, coding standards, and architectures should each team use etc.
  3. Define a decision framework to assign the right program to the right team – i.e. high-speed IT or traditional IT. Some of the key decision parameters would include objective of the IT program, technology stack, deployment time, infrastructure demand, and skillset requirements
  4. Modify effectiveness scorecards to measure and improve the success of both high-speed IT and traditional IT functions

High-speed IT is an enterprise level construct and requires executive level commitment. It also requires government organizations to use their SI partners more strategically to address the internal skillset and resource constrains. At the moment, not many government organizations have built the two-speed IT function. However, as digitization increases the pace of change, government organizations would have to become more agile to stay on top of these changes. And, this is where the two-speed IT model would help.
Read more about the two-speed IT model and how can organizations implement it here –