Gartner Pushes IT to Experiment—Ready Or Not

If today’s keynotes at the Gartner Data Center Infrastructure & Operations Management Summit in Las Vegas are any indication, this might be an uncomfortable week for many large enterprise IT organizations.

Gartner, the biggest IT industry analyst firm, kicked off its week-long conference with some pretty aggressive comments, pushing its clients to be more experimental, more agile, and to try dynamic approaches to IT—even if those large IT organizations don’t think they’re ready yet.

Going Bimodal

“You cannot confront the range of needs presented by digital business with a single, conventional mode of IT,” said Gartner analyst and managing vice president Ray Paquet in his Tuesday keynote.

The solution? Paquet says that IT in large organizations is going to have to split itself into two very different pieces. In this bimodal approach first promoted by Gartner last year, one part of IT (“Mode 1”) should focus on things like rock-solid reliability and stability, and should move slowly for its own protection. The other (“Mode 2”) should be the exact opposite—an organization built for speed, change, and experimentation. What Gartner calls “fluidity.”


By 2017, 75% of large enterprise IT organizations will make this split, predicted Paquet, because they have to. “And 50% will make a mess of it,” he said.

Keynote comments from Paquet, David Cappuccio, and John Morency made it clear why enterprises have little choice. Pressure from digital initiatives and what they called the “third era of IT,” in which success is all about digital leadership, require this kind of experimentation.

See also: Improving Customer Experience Highlighted Gartner’s List of Top Tech Investments 

Paquet pointed to DevOps as ideal for this more experimental type of IT.  With DevOps, he said, “everyone is a developer and everything is code.”  It’s spontaneous, loose, and built for change. Most importantly for IT: The learnings are more important than potential resulting downtime.

Old-school IT types might cringe at that last bit of guidance, but Gartner has been pushing its clients to be more aggressive since before its IT Infrastructure & Operations Management (IOM) Summit in June. The firm went even farther this time around.

Failure is OK

“Start before you’re ready,” said Paquet. “Take risks. Failure is OK.” In fact, the consequences of not being bold enough are getting stuck “in the timid middle” between the conservative and more innovative approaches, he said, and that’s a recipe for getting left behind.

While the keynotes set a pretty aggressive tone, they barely scratched the surface on the “how” part of this program.  Stay tuned to the New Relic blog for more discussion about those details and other key topics heard in Vegas this week.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Jay is SVP of Marketing at New Relic. View posts by .

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