BizOps as a bridge builder between IT and Business

The BizOps concept has been evolving since its inception several years ago. This is not only about new tools and methods, but above all about cultural changes.

The BizOps is building an increasingly solid bridge between IT and business. It links IT to the targeted business goals (business outcome). IT is therefore no longer measured solely by its output - for example, quantity and cost per transaction. It is assessed based on its direct contribution to achieving business goals. This means, for example, that if a company plans to double its e-commerce sales within 24 months, IT must plan, provide, and operate the corresponding infrastructure and services to enable this business outcome. In this way, their success is directly linked to business success or the achievement of business results. This in turn means a different operating model, much more collaborative ways of working and different monitoring methods.

What is true for individual goals is also true for business goals. If a company plans to transform its business model, IT is measured by how it supports this transformation.

IT becomes a partner and guide

BizOps is therefore changing the culture and self-image of IT. Until now,IT has been a service provider for the business, implementing the tasks assigned to it as effectively as possible into technical systems and processes, but now it is becoming a partner and, in some cases, even a guide for the business, finding and using the right technologies to achieve clearly defined business goals. "In the past, IT used to behave like an overweight person who starts jogging to lose weight. In doing so, s/he checks how often, how long and how fast s/he runs, but not how much weight he loses. With BizOps, the focus would be on the goal of losing weight and not on the kilometers run," says Frank Jahn, head of sales at Amasol, a Munich-based IT consulting and systems company, explaining the principle with an analogy. So far, IT has thus optimized running and not the fastest possible and sustainable weight loss. "There, the question is no longer even asked whether running is the best way to lose weight. But with BizOps, that question is at the beginning, and then many more answers come into question - from eating less, to trampolining, to swimming," Jahn continues.

The BizOps manifesto reflects the cultural shift

This cultural shift is also reflected in the BizOps-Manifesto , which, borrowing its name from the 2001 Agile Manifesto, was published in October 2020. Written by thought leaders and industry giants such as Tom Davenport, Lauren Knudsen, Sergio Luco (Broadcom), Marc Standeaven (Capgemini), Evan Leyborn (Business Agility Institute) and several others, the manifesto is based on the following maxims:

  • Business outcomes are more important than individual projects and proxy metrics (indirect measures)
  • Trust and collaboration are more important than individuality and hierarchy
  • Data-driven decisions are better than opinions, judgments, and persuasion
  • Learning and variation are better than following a fixed plan

In addition to these fundamental values, the authors developed 14 principles. Here are the 7 most import:

  • Our highest priority is to delight customers and satisfy investors and stakeholders through continuous discovery and delivery of value-based solutions.
  • Software and product investments should be aligned with and measured against real business outcomes.
  • Requirements should change as market, customer, and business needs change. Changes are still welcome when software is already in production, which enables discovery of customer problems and solutions through experimentation and testing of ideas.
  • Business and technical teams need to do more than collaborate; they need to have a shared vision and common goals to maximize value flow.
  • Today's organizations generate more data than humans can process, so informed decisions must be complemented by advanced analytics and AI/ML.
  • Organizations need insights into metrics and insights based on real-time data so they can tune and adjust their behavior accordingly.
  • - Leaders must embrace failure to learn and become more resilient. Innovative organizations strive to learn and be curious about future possibilities. They don't have a "we don't do that here" mentality.

The BizOps Manifesto is still a kind of appeal by some industry giants to change the way IT and business work together, and to stop looking at the business and technical sides of an organization separately, but as forces that, combined, make goals more attainable, faster. And, of course, the authors hope that the BizOps Manifesto will change the relationship between IT and business as radically as the Agile Manifesto did back in the day.

More and more companies are taking a practical approach to BizOps

But beyond theory and appeals, more and more companies are taking a practical approach to the BizOps issue. A survey of 95 companies commissioned by amasol clearly shows that companies are discovering the topic for themselves.

Question: How would you rate the current BizOps status in your company? (n=95)

29 percent of the companies surveyed have already introduced BizOps in their company or are in the process of doing so. Another 36 percent consider BizOps to be an interesting method and/or assume that BizOps could be a next step. For 22 percent of the survey participants, BizOps currently plays no role. For five percent, even agile ways of working do not play a role. Well, this small proportion of companies is unlikely to be enthusiastic about BizOps in the longer term. But the fact that well over 50 percent of those surveyed find the topic so interesting that they are already practically dealing with it or can imagine dealing with it speaks for the great potential of BizOps. This is all the more so because companies that are currently not enthusiastic about the topic cite too little knowledge about the concept as the reason. This can be changed relatively easily.

About the Author: Christoph Witte


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