As business is increasingly conducted online, companies face a critical strategy decision: do they support valuable systems already in place, or make an investment in innovation?

Sometimes those two business concerns collide—particularly when companies don’t have enough technology staffing to be able to do both. In these cases, many companies are forced to make the decision to maintain their legacy systems as their sole revenue source. In fact, some surveys state that 75 to 80 percent of company IT spending is used on maintaining existing, or legacy, systems.

Blog-Image-1.1But by focusing IT investments on maintenance, companies risk lagging behind their competition in innovation and new functionality. Naturally, this can cause a lot of concern for the company’s leaders and board of directors, for investor relations, stockholders, and most importantly, with customers.

One of the other problems with having to spend the greater budget portion on maintenance is that some “shadow IT” projects can surface, which present a risk on their own. A shadow IT project is an IT project aimed at a specific innovation strategy, which is undertaken by a department other than an IT specific group.

An example of a shadow IT project would be where a marketing team goes out and hires a contractor to develop a mobile app—using the company’s data resources—without any input from the IT area. The risks of shadow IT projects creeping into a business’ product roadmap include:

  • Data security risks
  • Risks to legacy systems integrity
  • Risks to the overall corporate brand strategy and product road map
  • Possibility of ballooning costs
  • An initiative that is not supported by executive leadership
  • Headcount impact on IT staff for future support and troubleshooting

All of these should be motivation to find another way to innovate new products and services.

What is a Bimodal IT Strategy?

A bimodal IT strategy is defined as having two independent technology strategy tracks within a single IT department, where one group is tasked solely with maintaining the legacy systems, and another group is concerned entirely with innovation.

Blog-Image-1.2The advantage to a bimodal IT strategy is that the two groups operate independently of each other, and both business concerns—maintenance and innovation—are given the attention they need. The innovation team is free to innovate, while the maintenance team focuses on keeping existing systems functioning.

This also allows both groups to move more quickly through their project roadmaps, having the resources and support needed to successfully accomplish all their goals.

How to Jumpstart an Innovation Track

Since most companies are stuck spending the bulk of their IT and labor budgets on legacy systems maintenance, companies often need a “boost” to put a functional innovation team into place.

At RBA, we can help analyze a client’s current systems, and identify new business opportunities that will spur innovation with an eye toward “sun setting” the legacy systems. Our strategies revolve around moving businesses toward new product innovation in line with their current business plan.

Blog-Image-1.3We can help your business develop a roadmap for innovation that will eliminate the need for the legacy system over time—generating savings that can be reinvested in growth. This also allows for the transition of the company’s employees from the maintenance side of the IT department over to the innovation track.

Developing business strategies that maximize the value of human resources and systems budgets is critical in today’s competitive environment. Speed of innovation is the currency of relevance.

A modern consultancy such as RBA is the most cost and time-effective way for any business to make the leap to a bimodal IT strategy. Putting a plan in place that leads logically to the next iteration of any product is a skill that we’ve developed over time. We’ve helped dozens of other clients successfully navigate to the next level of technology development, and that experience will help us deliver significant improvements to your team as well.