The proliferation of digital technologies is forcing CIOs to manage IT as a product rather than simply provide IT services. That shift requires a different mindset and work approach. Agile and DevOps are increasingly becoming the go-to software development strategies as companies overhaul their IT operating models for the digital era. And while some CIOs can afford the luxury of operating IT in two speeds, others say there is no place for bimodal in their businesses.\n\u201cI think over the last 15 years I have seen the shift where now the responsibilities of IT are product,\u201d says Trevor Schulze, CIO of chipmaker Micron Technology, during a panel discussion at the Forbes CIO Summit last week. \u201cIf you\u2019re asked to run revenue and you\u2019re asked to deliver something to a customer that has a check associated with it your whole mindset has to change."\n[ 30 CIOs share their strategic focus ]\nSchulze offered the following kicker to his commentary: "I don\u2019t believe in this bimodal crap \u2013 let\u2019s get past that."\nBimodal IT is dead, long live bimodal IT \nPopularized by Gartner in 2014, bimodal IT is two-speed approach that emphasizes conducting stable IT development for projects (ERP, for example) concurrently with faster-paced and agile experiments in digital services (chatbots or voice recognition, for example). Fueled by changing customer demands CIOs are kicking bimodal to the curb. As are some analysts.\n\u201cMost CIOs now recognize that\u00a0all\u00a0of the technology team and function needs to be fast,\u201d writes Tim Sheedy, a Forrester Research analyst who advises CIOs, in a blog post published today. \u201cYes, some systems change less often than others, but all change needs to be fast. There is no longer an appetite for long, drawn-out, technology-led changes. There is no longer a place for slow IT.\u201d\n Forrester \nForrester says that all\u00a0of the technology team and function needs to be fast today. (Click for larger image.)\n\nCIOs are accelerating IT service delivery, pumping out minimally viable products, testing them, collecting feedback and refining them and or squashing them if they fail. Managing IT as a product -- getting products out the door as if they are being chased by nimble competitors -- has emerged as a popular construct.\u00a0\u00a0\n\u00a0\n[ Download the State of the CIO 2017 research report ]\nPerhaps no CIO has a better grip on this than Schulze, who cut his teeth in product development working at Cisco Systems before transitioning to IT. This has given Schulze a healthy respect for shipping code and, ultimately, products. He embraces agile development and tries to "reduce the friction" between his department and his business partners. Speed is the prize.\n Clint Boulton \nLeft to right... Peter High, president, Metis Strategy; Diana McKenzie, CIO of Workday; Trevor Schulze, CIO of Micron; Wayne Shurts, CTO of Sysco Systems. (Click for larger image.)\n\n"If you\u2019re the IT department and you\u2019re not helping your product development team with time to market you\u2019ve lost," Schulze says. "They\u2019re going to go off and do it themselves. Very talented people are trying to get something innovative out to market. Let them innovate."\nSince becoming Micron\u2019s first CIO in 2015, Schulze has built machine learning solutions that create new insights into product availability, demand forecasts, and improved the way raw materials are calculated. He says data scientists and IT engineers partnered closely with the business to make this happen.\n[ Your guide to top tech conferences 2017 ]\nAt Sysco Systems, CTO Wayne Shurts has reorganized his IT organization from order takers in individual systems groups to teams that support product development through agile and DevOps. Sysco, a leading food distributor, is putting the customer at the center of the product development process.\nShurts says Sysco would fall behind if it continued building software in the waterfall method. \u201cI don\u2019t believe in the bimodal crap either," he says. "The whole thing is about responding to the marketplace and the demands for our customers and I just believe [agile and DevOps] is a better mousetrap for how to do software... we\u2019re going agile everywhere."\nWorking from the customer backward is just as important for cloud software vendors, for whom tweaking and shipping code is a constant. As the CIO of Workday, Diana McKenzie shepherds a program to vet SaaS human resource and financial applications created by product development teams. She says IT is the "first and best customer of our products" before they are released commercially. "IT needs to set itself up to look like the customer and reflect the organizations we're selling into," McKenzie says. Most recently, McKenzie tackled the challenge of generating analytics to help customers gain better insights into their Workday deployments.\nThe challenge with new operating models\nThe CIOs say there were some bumps along the way, but nothing unexpected, while trying to cajole IT workers to unlearn years of learned processes. Management buy-in is also essential for success.\n"We have people who understand our business and secret sauce but they\u2019ve been doing things a different way for 20 years," Shurts says. "They get excited about agile, they see that it\u2019s better but then we do a pilot and it\u2019s a lot harder than they think. They really want to do it but they have to unlearn habits learned over 20 years\u2026 The good news is we\u2019re getting through that and we\u2019re starting to see innovation and really good results."\nSchulze says people may need to be retooled because they were successful learning how to do IT in a certain way but success will ultimately hinge on having the right culture and mindset to facilitate change.\n"You can put in all the tools and methodologies and reorganize but if you\u2019re leadership team doesn\u2019t embrace this mindset of customer-centricity, and that time to market is critical... if you\u2019re middle management isn\u2019t on board, you\u2019re stuck," Schulze says.