Wall Street Journal
By Angus Loten
February 5, 2016
Bimodal information technology lets companies capture value from new technologies and trends aimed at driving future growth, while also keeping day-to-day IT systems up and running.
But can it also help crack down on illegal immigrants?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services this week said it’s looking for a deputy chief information officer for operations, according to a job posting Thursday.
The agency, a branch of the federal Department of Homeland Security that handles immigrant visas, green cards and other paperwork, is under pressure to boost its technology capabilities in the wake of terror attacks in California and Paris and the ongoing refugee crisis worldwide. Last year, it began working with the State Department and other federal services to digitize visa applications.
The new hire will join current Deputy CIO Keith Jones, who becomes the agency’s principal deputy CIO. Both will report to agency CIO Mark Schwartz.
The move is part of an internal restructuring that will see IT responsibilities divided along the lines of a bimodal model: “Having two deputies to manage both the transformational initiatives and the day-to-day running of the agency’s IT capabilities is the clear path forward,” Mr. Jones told CIO Journal.
As of the end of September, the agency’s IT office had nearly 450 full-time employees, as well as numerous outside contractors, with some $527 million in recurring costs and $85 million in enabling costs, he said. In recent years, the agency has transitioned to a DevOps and Agile approach to IT systems, with software-defined networking and new cloud-based tools, among other strategies.
“The size, complexity, and nature of the organization in terms of daily support and transformation requires additional leadership at the highest level of the organization,” Mr. Jones said.
According to the job posting, the new deputy CIO for operations “conceives plans, directs and coordinates through the subordinate supervisors and managers the full range of IT needs” at the agency.
The ideal candidate will “understand contemporary IT delivery practices in private industry, and be able to make them work in the federal government,” the posting said.
The goal of bimodal IT, a term coined by tech industry research firm Gartner Inc.IT -1.39%, is to develop a higher-speed digital unit that can race ahead of more cumbersome traditional IT systems, which are necessary to daily business operation but can hold back innovation. The bimodal model is far from universally accepted, but it’s spreading fast, according to Gartner research chief Peter Sondergaard.
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