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At a time when digital technology is reshaping every sector of the economy, big enterprises that want to hold onto their success are having to learn how to act more like startups. No, a big enterprise can’t afford to take risks as if it had nothing to lose, but if it places no bets on its future the odds will gradually turn against it. At the very least, an enterprise must give innovative teams within the organization permission to act more like startups.
When it comes to information technology strategy, Gartner has a name for this two-track mode of operations: bimodal IT. The idea is to balance conservative activities related to core systems and established processes with more adventurous efforts promoting innovation.
Redbooth is happy to have been mentioned in a February 3 Gartner research note on how this principle applies to Unified Communication & Collaboration (UCC).
The February 3, 2015 report, titled “Leverage Bimodal IT Methods to Advance UCC,” argues that enterprises do themselves a disservice if they insist on taking a plodding approach to technologies that are changing rapidly in response to trends like mobile, Internet video, and cloud computing. Some organizations manage to be a little more entrepreneurial in the context of a pilot project, only to let that energy dissipate when they go into production. As the report by Gartner’s Bern Elliot and Adam Preset puts it, “In those cases, while there is innovation, it is the initial phase of a traditional IT deployment, and often, innovation ceases once the solution is deployed and the incumbent vendor is anointed.”
What Gartner Means By “Bimodal”
Gartner compares Mode 1 with marathon running, while Mode 2 is more like sprinting — recognizing that both are valid under the right circumstances.
Mode 1 is the traditional UCC approach, emphasizing reliability, quality, ubiquity, scalability and security. This is the existing approach taken by IT, telecom and data center planners where the focus is on reliability, cost control and investment protection. Tends to be driven by IT and data center, farther removed from customer.
Mode 2 is exploratory, emphasizing agility and responsiveness to employee and workgroup needs. This is an exploratory approach focusing on the delivery of targeted workgroup UCC solutions. Tends to be driven by immediate business and customer requirements.
In UCC, traditional IT vendors tend to sell large bundles of products that make implementation a big project in its own right, requiring substantial hardware, software, and middleware configuration — and often the services of a consultant to get it all working. In contrast, the standard version of Redbooth can be deployed almost instantly, and Redbooth Private Cloud is designed for rapid setup. Redbooth Private Cloud is distributed as a virtual machine image that can be configured to run on VMware, HyperV, KVM, and most other major virtualization hosts. User provisioning can be accelerated using the integration with Active Directory (or other LDAP-compatible directory service).
We see 1st Franklin Financial as an example of a Redbooth customer taking a bimodal IT strategy – embracing the innovation we offer, while taking advantage of Redbooth Private Cloud to address the requirements of the conservative (and highly regulated) banking industry. Johnny Cox, 1st Franklin Financial’s IT Manager, said he was impressed by how fast it went. “If you know your virtual environment, and you know how to manage virtual machines,” Johnny said, “you can have Redbooth up and running in just a few hours.”
We have been working closely with both executive management and the IT department for 1st Franklin to meet the institution’s business and technical requirements.
“For 1st Franklin Financial, we needed a secure on-premise solution that would deliver the collaboration and organization our departments across several states needed, and we found that with Redbooth,” said Ginger Herring, President of 1st Franklin Financial. She shared that insight as we prepared for the launch of Redbooth Private Cloud, which allows 1st Franklin to bring the power of Redbooth inside the corporate firewall. “In addition to the project management capabilities the platform provides, we’re looking forward to exploring how the new secure enterprise chat feature set can further benefit our teams,” she said. She also encourages her staff to take advantage of Redbooth to organize not just their work lives but also their personal lives, recognizing that people who are more productive overall will be better and happier employees.
1st Franklin’s Johnny Cox took advantage of the free trial of Redbooth’s public cloud software to do his initial testing. He figured it wouldn’t be worth spending his time installing and configuring the private cloud version if he didn’t like the software. Fortunately, he liked it a lot.
The first, but not the only, place 1st Franklin put Redbooth to work was in organizing IT projects and daily activities. Before adopting Redbooth, Johnny says he was spending too much of his time trying to keep track of the work he had assigned to others. Worse, too much of that work was “falling through the cracks” and not getting done. Now, all those delegated tasks and progress toward bigger projects are reflected in his Dashboard, as a manager, and on the Redbooth Dashboards of all the responsible team members. “I would say organizing [that work in Redbooth] and following up on it has cut my time in half,” he said.
As other parts of the organization begin to adopt Redbooth, on average they are seeing at least a 25% improvement in productivity. We are betting that will rise as they get more comfortable with the software.
Better yet, the level of support Redbooth provided for implementation and onboarding meant he didn’t have to waste time on the technical details of the environment. Rather than being a project in and of itself, the implementation of Redbooth helped him get his other projects on track.
“A product can be great, a company can be great,” Johnny said, “but it’s the support team that makes the investment worth it.”
We are proud of what our customers have accomplished with Redbooth and look forward to helping many more do great things — in whatever mode makes great things happen.