How Sapho can help IT departments achieve bimodal transformation

The road to digital transformation has been a rocky one for many enterprises, as the need for fast innovation constantly clashes with the heavy demands of slow-moving yet indispensable legacy systems. In one study, nearly half of business leaders cited the inability to rapidly experiment as a major roadblock to digital transformation—and it worries them far more than other obstacles, such as poor change management or risk aversion.

“The IT organization can’t turn into a digital startup overnight and, besides, there’s a raft of business-critical responsibilities that it simply can’t (and absolutely should not) divest,” says Peter Sondergaard, SVP and head of research for Gartner.

With a bimodal approach, bulky necessities no longer have to get in the way of innovation. Instead, businesses can devote part of their IT resources towards keeping things running and the rest on a faster-moving team of innovators who can quickly explore, launch, and iterate new business solutions.

For many organizations, bimodal IT is a necessary step on the path to total digital transformation. Adoption of bimodal IT rose to 43 percent last year, with seven in 10 top-performing companies reporting that their bimodal approach improves innovation. Adoption rates are much lower among poor performers, hovering around 17 percent.

Ready to make the shift to bimodal IT, but aren’t sure where to start? Sapho helps businesses begin the transformation with an employee experience portal that supports both the slow-moving traditional IT mode and the fast-paced disruptive mode.

Mode 1: Improving mission-critical systems

Despite increasing efforts to migrate to the cloud, the average enterprise still runs about 60 different applications on-premises—and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. (Check out this article highlighting Lidl, a global grocery store chain, that began a giant SAP migration only to cancel it seven years later and go back to their legacy system!) Although nearly four in five organizations say modernizing their legacy applications is a high priority, 58 percent say those that touch critical data or systems need to be on-premises.

Torn between these competing needs, many IT departments are struggling to provide the consumer-level user experience and efficiency more than half of employees expect from their enterprise applications.

Sapho helps IT professionals in mode 1, who are tasked with improving and maintaining these mission-critical systems, enabling them to quickly build customized micro apps on top of existing enterprise applications and deliver them to any device, intranet, or messenger. These micro apps surface aggregated views of high-priority tasks and important information from multiple enterprise systems into a single, easy-to-use interface in an employee portal, enabling quick task completion and access to information without the hassle of navigating multiple complex legacy systems.

The result is a unified, streamlined, and consumer-like application experience that leverages existing infrastructure, allowing IT to improve legacy systems without any risk to the core systems that run the business..

Mode 2: Enabling rapid process innovation

At the same time, Sapho offers a solution that enables mode 2 teams, responsible for exploring transformative new approaches, to simplify unnecessarily complex workflows and truly change how employees get work done. Around half of business application users say they’re juggling too many apps, struggling to find the data they need, and wasting time on basic tasks.

Sapho proactively surfaces personalized  and relevant tasks and information when it’s needed, so employees no longer have to spend time manually digging through their applications to find POs to complete or last months sales results. Instead, they can quickly complete tasks with a single click and access important information across multiple enterprise systems in a workfeed that is accessible wherever they go—on any device, intranet, or messenger. This approach does more than simplify and unify enterprise systems, it has also been proven to improve employee engagement and productivity, a challenge now on the plate of IT.

Making bimodal transformation work

Only 21 percent of companies are currently reaping the benefits of digital as they struggle to keep up with the daily demands of maintaining their current enterprise application portfolio. Transitioning to bimodal IT is a potential way to enable organizations to free up resources for innovation in a rapidly changing marketplace, but only if they can successfully make it work. Bimodal IT can come with risks of its own, such as misallocation of budget, difficulties staffing mode 1 teams, and potentially reinforcing a siloed organizational structure that makes transformation difficult—especially when transformation efforts for traditional mode 1 IT is not included in the roadmap.

Sapho helps create space for innovation by enabling IT in both modes to quickly build targeted micro apps on top of existing systems that streamline complex processes and alleviate barriers to productivity. These micro apps integrate with existing enterprise systems, both SaaS and on-premises solutions, leverage existing infrastructure and security practices, and reduce IT operational costs—ultimately allowing IT teams to save time and focus on work that facilitates both innovation and transformation within the organization.

IT leaders need to work with the CFO and other business leaders to shift the culture away from the habit of evaluating initiatives on the basis of ROI. Innovation requires experimentation and a willingness to take risks that may not always pan out. To make bimodal IT work, Gartner says, organizations need move away from criteria such as “one time” and “on budget” and start asking questions such as:

  •      What opportunities does it offer for achieving strategic goals?
  •      How likely is it to deliver lasting competitive differentiation?
  •      How much excitement will it generate, both inside and outside the company?
  •      How much innovation and learning will it create?

With Sapho in their toolbox, organizations can support bimodal without running the risk of pitting mode 1 and mode 2 teams against each other. Sapho bridges the gap between traditional IT and innovation efforts, enabling organizations to reduce IT costs, deliver better application experiences, and improve employee productivity and engagement.

Topic: Digital workplace

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