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I Love APIs 2015: Putting Two-Speed IT into Practice

Sep 03, 2015

You’ve probably encountered the phrase “two-speed” or “bimodal” IT.

Whatever you call it, two-speed IT is taking hold among enterprises. In 2014, Gartner found that 45% of CIOs reported they had added a faster mode of operation than traditional enterprise IT. Gartner expects that percentage to grow, and goes so far as to say that meeting the challenges of the “digitalization” era with one speed of IT is “impossible.”

The research firm describes the necessary capabilities as “using iterative and agile methodologies and tools … typically involving very short cycles and high levels of collaboration with users and sometimes external customers.”

At this year’s MIT CIO Symposium, Brook Colangelo, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, provided a concise practitioner’s view:  “Show, don’t tell … prototype, don’t PowerPoint. [Ideas] come from everywhere … If we can take small iterative chunks and we can move in a more quick or nimble manner, we can accomplish a lot more.”

He added an important point: the ability to be more nimble is relevant to running the business as a whole, not just an IT function; an agile approach has been adopted across the technology group he leads, Colangelo said, but is also “gaining legs across the entire company.”

We believe that when it comes being a digitally competitive enterprise, it takes two to tango. A “two-speed” approach to IT is necessary to enable agile innovation at scale while ensuring existing systems continue to function reliably. Let’s say IT is ready, willing, and able to deliver digital minimum viable products (MVPs) in two-week sprints and conduct real-time A/B testing. If the business doesn’t adapt to support it, it’s a moot point.

Traditional business review cycles or complex and cumbersome funding schemes can turn weeks into months (or quarters, or years) and shift the focus from outside-in user data to inside-out processes and politics.

That’s why we’ve curated a unique opportunity to skill up on “two-speed” across technology and business roles at I Love APIs 2015.  A few sessions we’ve put together across the strategy, technology, and developer forums include:

How to Harness Digital for Growth: Becoming an Agile Enterprise

"Two speed IT" is a no-brainer. But a top gear for technology doesn't matter if pre-digital practices in the enterprise hamstring innovation. Planning, governance, budgeting, and customer insight must all become more agile to harness digital for growth.

Putting Two-Speed IT Into Practice Within the Enterprise

Business agility is the name of the game, and keeping up with mobile and app teams requires IT organizations to rethink how to organize into small teams that do everything from build, integrate, test, ship, monitor, fix, and update their APIs.

Solving the Two-Speed IT Problem with Apigee and Node.js: Building Mock Backends Fast

In order to provide working APIs, API and app development teams require a working backend. But often the backend is incomplete and buggy, slowing down the development teams. Using Node.js, you can create and manage backend mocks in Apigee, unblocking the API and app development teams while the backend developers complete their systems.

We hope you’re as excited as we are about these (and many more) sessions at I Love APIs 2015. But most of, all we hope you’ll take advantage of the critical mass of business and technology leaders assembling in San Jose on Oct. 12-14.

People like Daniel Jacobson, vice president of edge engineering at Netflix. Or Jerry Wolfe, CEO of Vivanda, a company as cool as anything that’s come out of Silicon Valley that was incubated and spun out of a hundred-year-old company. They and many more are a community of “doers” who are “making agile real.” Please join us!

Photo: Brownpau/Flickr

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