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02 July 2015

Mixing delivery methods to support digital objectives

In the penultimate part of our PPM blog series this week, we explore some of the challenges associated in deciding on the programme delivery mode that best meets the abilities of an organisation.

In many large financial organisations, IT and Change functions are struggling to deliver against the business demand for rapid innovation.

In response, companies are considering alternative delivery models to support the pace of change required to stay competitive as their customers continue to demand outstanding technology-driven services. 

In 2014, Gartner coined a new term - ‘Bi-modal’ IT delivery – to refer to the ability of an organisation to support both traditional and exploratory delivery modes:

  • Mode 1 refers to projects related to core system maintenance, stability or efficiency
  • Mode 2 refers to projects that help innovate or differentiate the business.

Seasoned professionals will recognise ‘Bi-Modal’ as a new solution to an old problem, and the main thrust of the theory is simply that IT organisations are unable to respond to digital demands and, therefore, different models must now be utilised. In some cases, organisations are actually leaving their IT departments behind for innovative change and creating new, more agile delivery teams to support their objectives. However, irrespective of the approach undertaken some key challenges remain: 

1.Agile isn’t an easy answer

It’s easy to see the excitement of business teams who are involved in the process of design and technical delivery for the first time. Huddled rounds desks creating Epics (user stories outlining the desired outcome) to define scope and priority and then seeing software being rapidly developed in line with these visions. However, traditional IT challenges are never too far away and before you know it, the shiny new front-end needs to connect to a middle-tier and back-end service, bringing ambitions quickly down to earth as delivery encounters its old adversaries

2.Don’t dismiss traditional IT departments when trying to innovate

One of the biggest challenges for large financial services organisations is that their digital objectives are often hampered by historical legacy. With large amounts of sensitive customer data at stake, this legacy is not easy to replace without substantial customer and reputational risk so organisations need to engage their legacy teams effectively to support their incremental digital objectives. Innovation teams need to work hand in hand with traditional teams at enterprise level and significant work is required to embrace those differing delivery models to achieve the overall change objective

3.You can’t build it all yourself

As the era of FinTech accelerates, we’re becoming increasingly willing to consider strategic partnerships. The culture of insulation is starting to thaw and large financial institutions are looking at smaller firms to leverage exceptional technology services. Partnerships can be a real opportunity to solve technology challenges and with the right delivery model, integration with your wider change objectives can help bring services to customers quickly.  

With this third challenge, we might have unwittingly introduced a tri-modal model, but irrespective of the numerical pre-fix, the industry faces an incredible challenge of unprecedented technological changes, huge IT budgets and the need for a combination of delivery models to support the 21st century IT organisation.  Whether it is bi-modal or tri-modal, there is clearly a need to adopt new ways of delivery to meet this challenge.