Bimodal IT

There’s a bullet aimed at the heart of your business. That bullet is the lie of Bimodal IT, which asserts that you can let your mainframe languish in Waterfall mode while you focus all your agility efforts elsewhere.

It’s tempting to believe the Bimodal IT lie — because with so much else on your plate, you’re naturally more inclined to ignore the mainframe agility challenge than to embrace it.

But embrace it you must. Here’s why. And here’s how.

Bad knees, wonky carts

A chain is as fast as its slowest link. If you’re an athlete, it doesn’t matter how quick the rest of you is. When your knees go, your career is over. And when you’re at the supermarket, it doesn’t matter that your shopping cart has three good wheels. It’s the one bad wheel that makes your cart wonky.

The same is true with digital agility. It doesn’t matter how innovative and nimble you are with your systems-of-engagement. If your back-end systems-of-record can’t responsively support that innovation and speed-to-market, you’ll always be slow. The features you offer your customers will always be constrained. And you’ll always struggle to deliver digital experiences your customers love.

Anyone who works in a multi-platform environment knows this. Great ideas for serving and engaging customers require coordinated development, testing and ops across platforms. So if your mainframe isn’t Agile — and well-integrated into an all-platform DevOps toolchain — you’ll always lose to newer, nimbler competitors with zero technology debt who can go all-in with Agile and DevOps.


Is your company worth a mainframe makeover?

The good news is that it’s not the mainframe itself that’s holding you back from the essential move to Agile and DevOps. It’s your mainframe culture, processes and tools — especially your obsolete mainframe source code management (SCM).

In fact, if you still use an archaic mainframe SCM tool like Endevor, ChangeMan, Librarian, Panvalet or a home-grown version, you can’t be truly Agile — no matter how you change your culture or processes — because Waterfall is hard-coded into your workflow. And, in the cases of Panvalet and Librarian, your SCM has been “stabilized.” So you’re totally doomed.

Fortunately, there is now a powerful, modern mainframe SCM, Compuware ISPW, solution that fully supports Agile and DevOps best practices. In addition to removing the deadly constraints imposed by your current Waterfall-bound SCM, this solution lets you leverage Atlassian Jira, Eclipse, Jenkins, ServiceNow, XebiaLabs XL Release and other leading DevOps tools-of-choice.

Migrating your mainframe SCM is, of course, no simple task. It requires a decisive commitment to Agile and to the essential work of mainframe transformation. But it can and is being done — even by companies with mainframe codebases as large and complex as yours.

You therefore face a tough but straightforward decision: Will you follow the path of complacency and consign your company to digital irrelevance by lapsing into Bimodal IT? Or will you invest in a challenging — but, ultimately, a profoundly rewarding — mainframe makeover?

The choice is yours. And it’s a big one.

Originally Published on LinkedIn Pulse.

Chris O’Malley is CEO of Compuware. With nearly 30 years of IT experience, Chris is deeply committed to leading Compuware’s transformation into the “mainframe software partner for the next 50 years.” Chris’s past positions include CEO of VelociData, CEO of Nimsoft, EVP of CA’s Cloud Products & Solutions and EVP/GM of CA’s Mainframe business unit, where he led the successful transformation of that division.

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