Bimodal IT vs. Hybrid IT: What's the Difference?

According to, today’s IT organizations face challenges delivering on “the burgeoning requirements being forced upon it by business units.” Bimodal IT and hybrid IT are two of several solutions that have been proposed to help IT groups meet growing, ever-changing demands on its resources. But some confusion exists about the difference between the two approaches and when to use each.

Bimodal IT: Maintaining Two Separate IT Groups

Gartner introduced the concept of bimodal IT, which recommends organizing IT workloads into two separate groups: Mode-1 and Mode-2.

  • Mode-1 is the traditional or legacy IT approach. Gartner describes Mode-1 as placing a “strong emphasis on efficiency and safety, approval-based governance and  price-for-performance.”
  • In contrast, Mode-2 is all about agility and innovation, calling upon cloud-based resources to promote rapid delivery of solutions and value to the business. Typical Mode-2 activities include prototyping, iterative processes and other customer-concentric needs.

Hybrid IT: Housing Dual IT Strategies under One Roof

The emergence of hybrid IT strategies stem from similar pressures to meet rising business demands from multiple groups. With hybrid IT, the internal IT team maintains traditional IT functions, while outsourcing others to cloud-based resources. Unlike the bimodal approach, hybrid calls for managing both traditional and agile IT groups as a single IT organization.

With the growing challenges faced by IT organizations, you’re not alone to ask questions such as, “Do I need to re-strategize my IT organization?” The answer is to consider the pros and cons of each.

The Pros and Cons of Bimodal IT


  • The IT organization can maintaining existing and successful systems, while leveraging cloud resources as appropriate.
  • The need for agile solutions is resourced, removing the risks associated with shadow IT.
  • Business units and more customer-facing activities are each managed with the most appropriate tools and resources.


  • The two IT teams may become silo’ed and overly competitive, blocking opportunities for cooperation, learning and collaboration.
  • The implementation process can cause confusion over the delegation of responsibilities.
  • Many members of the IT team may be resistant to such a major organizational change.

The Pros and Cons of Hybrid IT


  • Cloud resources offer greater flexibility when determining where to host applications, data and workflows.
  • This approach is often more cost-effective than hosting all systems and data in-house.
  • Hybrid IT reduces the conflict between legacy and newer IT practices.


  • IT management must be strategic and careful in determining what type of cloud resources and partners to use.
  • The approach requires carefully coordinated security protocols between two IT group and between the in-house IT team and its cloud partners.
  • Maintaining existing or legacy systems may limit the responsiveness of an all-cloud infrastructure.

Bimodal IT or Hybrid IT?

So, which path should your organization choose? How you answer that question depends on many factors.

Bimodal IT may be the right fit if your organizational culture places a high value on innovation and you already have the appropriate tools and resources to support two separate IT teams. Alternately, the organization must agree to make the necessary investment. Hybrid IT, on the other hand, is appropriate for organizations that want to begin moving to the cloud, but aren’t yet ready for an all-cloud solution.

If you need help developing or implementing a strategy for your organization, we are here to help. Our team of seasoned experts understand the challenges and can help you assess, plan and implement an approach that best suits your organization. Contact us today.

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