BizOps - always and everywhere aligned with the business

Business or IT perspective is no longer the question. Business can only be successfully shaped with IT. For this to happen, however, IT must understand and speak the business language.


"These days, I talk to IT at least once a week," said the CEO of a mid-sized company recently when I asked him why he is so well versed in analytics and customer journeys. "Until a few years ago, things were different, with business and IT only communicating when something didn't work or was late. But now is just as much a part of the table as development, sales and marketing when we plan major new projects. They understand the business much better now, and we in the business rely on IT much more."

IT used to be too cumbersome

Although it is still rare for IT to receive much praise and sense of community from the business side, it has worked hard in recent years to bridge the old chasm between IT and the business. This chasm was created because IT, in part due to a lack of appropriate technologies, was unable to adapt systems to meet the relatively rapidly changing needs of the business. New technologies and delivery models such as cloud, virtualization, containerization or even cloud native and server-less contributed to bridging the gap, as did new ways of working and organizing, for example agile, continuous delivery or self-organization. The BizOps concept, which is oriented to business outcomes, has what it takes to close the gap completely. On the one hand, it thrives on very early collaboration between IT and business, because it implements it in operations, and on the other hand, it provides business-oriented metrics and KPIs for operations as well as a common language between the two areas. In this way, a very efficient control loop is created.


The four typical steps for BizOps from a business perspective

The business side has not been explicitly instead in the diagram, but because BizOps enhances the elements of modern software development and operations with metrics and questions from the business perspective, it implicitly plays a major role in all stages of the feedback loop.

A typical BizOps project therefore goes through 4 phases:

During the research phase, the aim is to obtain a realistic assessment of the problem to be solved - also with the help of feedback from the affected areas. This includes not only discussions, but also the analysis of internal and external comparative data from a business perspective. For example, if the goal is to optimize the sales system, comparative data must first be obtained. How good is your own sales team compared to competitors, how much do sales quantity and quality improve with the introduction of new systems? How are the employees measured? Per capita sales? Quality of advice? Number of customers per day, etc.

In the second step, alignment, a convincing presentation is created based on the research data found. Here, care must be taken to ensure that the interests of all the teams involved are considered and that a consensus is reached on how to proceed. Only when this has been achieved can the real planning of the necessary steps begin. Execution means implementation. The teams involved implement the planned tasks and steps. In this phase, the BizOps core team takes care of monitoring and troubleshooting. for some tasks, the BizOps team should also test whether its ideas work before implementation.

The fourth step, Performance Management, primarily involves tracking and monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) and success factors. For BizOps projects to be successful, however, these must be business KPIs that are related to the digital services being deployed. You can't break down said per capita revenue of a salesperson directly to the sales system. But you can measure how long it takes an employee to view a customer's purchase history over the last 12 months; or how long it takes to authorize a customer's order, how many of a customer's data points are captured per year, etc.

And at the end of the conversation, the CEO mentioned at the beginning said this remarkable sentence: "In the past, IT didn't work without business; today, no business works without IT. It took us some time to internalize that, but today we act on this maxim."



About the Author: Christoph Witte


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