Agile Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Corey Roth

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, @DXWorldExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Article

Bimodal IT and SaaS | @CloudExpo #Cloud #SaaS #DigitalTransformation

A major gap exists between what SaaS marketers promise, and what companies really see

Taking the Next Step Forward in SaaS

The benefits of efficiency and lower cost have been the primary drivers toward the cloud and SaaS deployments, but this is just the low-hanging fruit of a much greater body of potential. According to a Cisco-sponsored IDC report, a second wave of cloud adoption now targets a much more strategic set of benefits, with 54 percent of businesses surveyed expecting cloud to allow them to allocate IT budgets more strategically, and 53 percent looking to cloud solutions to increase revenues.

According to the Cisco study, cloud and SaaS adoption takes place along a spectrum, with ad hoc deployment on one end and a centrally managed cloud platform on the other. On the ad hoc side, early adopters look to SaaS to solve an immediate need. These early adopters are often "power users" or ad hoc staff outside of IT, often managing a specific line of business, such as marketing, sales, or finance, and operating independently and often keeping the apps and potentially beneficial data to themselves.

At the other end of the scale, those companies that have deployed a centrally managed cloud platform may realize up to a 200 percent improvement in strategic allocation of IT resources - but, according to the Cisco study, only about one percent of companies surveyed enjoy this level of optimization, and most organizations remain on the low end of the maturity curve. SaaS is clearly falling far short of its potential and may even be the source of unexpected consequences and a new set of problems.

Why SaaS Doesn't Live Up to the Hype
With the overwhelming majority of SaaS users still on the low end of the adoption spectrum, a major gap exists between what SaaS marketers promise, and what companies really see. Despite the potential, unexpected results of non-strategic SaaS deployment can, and often do, thwart its potential for meaningful transformation. Although a more strategic and bimodal approach would overcome most of these limitations, most still lack this focus. A few of the easily avoidable negative consequences include:

  • Isolation. With beneficial SaaS apps being deployed at the departmental level by ad hoc power users, the benefits are limited. While some disintermediation of centralized IT can go a long way toward a more agile environment, too often, SaaS apps and the data they collect tend to be isolated. As a result, that data and corporate knowledge remains unused by a large percentage of the business.
  • Lack of a bimodal approach to SaaS. The majority of SaaS ecosystems exist in two separate buckets - SaaS that is deployed by IT specialists, and SaaS deployed by ad hoc managers. Both are good, but the problem is that each "bucket" operates independently of the other and therefore a true bimodal approach is missing. The ease with which many SaaS apps can be sourced, deployed, and managed means that the role of the centralized IT specialist is changing, and often there is no need for a highly paid engineer in the back room to deploy and manage a single-function, ten-dollar-a-month SaaS app. A bimodal approach places management of SaaS at the most appropriate level.
  • Just a Bunch of SaaS (JBOS). With strategy conspicuously missing from most SaaS ecosystems, we really don't have an ecosystem at all. At the most extreme level of decentralization, what we have can be called "Just a Bunch of SaaS" (JBOS), or a SaaS model that simply deploys SaaS as a stop-gap measure wherever it is needed, with no integration between the SaaS apps, no sharing of resources or data, and no centralized strategy to manage them. The resulting lack of visibility can be a tremendous resource problem, leading to underused data and resources.

Two Strategies, Neither Works
Enterprises for the most part, use one of two strategies, both of which are inadequate. One is a highly centralized "priesthood" of IT, and the other is the haphazard JBOS approach with no centralization at all.

The centralized model occurs all too often, and is often accompanied with an IT culture of "let us manage everything." When the CIO is reluctant to relinquish control to the lines of business or to ad hoc power users, the result is an IT backlog, unacceptable waits for routine requests, and all-too-frequent instances of IT projects that do not understand the business imperative behind the request. Granted, this approach was necessary when even the smallest of IT tasks required highly specialized staff, and granting authority to departmental power users who were not IT specialists frequently caused serious problems.

The second non-centralized approach is equally frustrating. While this approach does break free from the priesthood of IT, the result is that SaaS never gets to live up to its potential.

The Solution: Bimodal IT with an Integration Platform
Those days of the highly centralized "let us manage everything" IT culture are gone. Today, many essential tasks are no longer part of the older "build and deliver" focus of IT, but instead are sourced from a third-party SaaS provider that provides not only the app, but hosting, management, and routine maintenance as well, often with a management interface that any competent non-specialist can employ.

Bimodal IT, according to Gartner, occurs when a company maintains two separate modes of IT delivery, with one focused on stability, and the other on agility. We would go a step further to suggest that bimodal IT must include an integration platform to ensure a higher level of collaboration and visibility between the IT staff delivering the more centralized mode, and the ad hoc professionals seeking more agility and speed through SaaS, as well as greater integration and sharing of data and functionality between the SaaS apps themselves. Bimodal IT with integration would solve many of the gaps that currently exist, and allow enterprises today to finally enjoy the full potential of what SaaS has to offer.

More Stories By Igor Drobiazko

Igor Drobiazko is a co-founder of elastic.io and an experienced open source hacker. He is a PMC member at the Apache Software Foundation and author of 2 books on web development in Java programming language. Before co-founding elastic.io Igor worked at Nokia Siemens Networks, HSBC and NTT docomo.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DXWorldEXPO LLC, the producer of the world's most influential technology conferences and trade shows has announced the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO "Early Bird Registration" is now open. Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
Here are the Top 20 Twitter Influencers of the month as determined by the Kcore algorithm, in a range of current topics of interest from #IoT to #DeepLearning. To run a real-time search of a given term in our website and see the current top influencers, click on the topic name. Among the top 20 IoT influencers, ThingsEXPO ranked #14 and CloudEXPO ranked #17.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...