BizOps transition isn’t easy, but worth it

BizOps helps companies to put business outcomes at the centre of everything, from value management, to development, to IT operations.
Michael Brink
By Michael Brink, Chief technology officer of CA Southern Africa
Johannesburg, 22 Jun 2020

Technology environments are becoming increasingly dynamic, complex and interrelated with silos across planning, app delivery and IT operations.

This can lead to an array of issues and while most IT leaders tend to focus on the technology implications of these silos, it is important to understand that there are equally problematic effects on staff.

Silos can inhibit collaboration, negatively affect employee morale, and thus stifle motivation. This is where BizOps comes into the picture.

Making the transition to BizOps isn’t easy. In a scenario where teams are operating more autonomously than ever before, the result can be that data necessary for informed insights is locked in silos, preventing progress, inhibiting collaboration, insights and innovation.

BizOps teams can be described generally as an internal-facing group that aims to create more value for the company and improve the profitability of the business. They are basically closers – they get things done. The responsibilities of BizOps are similar across enterprises but teams can be structured in different ways. Regardless of the structure, they are usually the team tasked with translating business goals into tactical operations.

The BizOps approach facilitates flexible, dynamic and disjointed teams to work on a multitude of different types of business problems that otherwise may not fall anywhere else in the company. As businesses grow, BizOps can prioritise key issues and assist with balancing strategy with execution. It also provides cross-functional layers of communication and structure.

BizOps teams can oversee many core business issues for organisations, including speeding up business growth and expansion plans, and bringing disparate divisions across a company together and all singing from the same strategic hymn sheet with the main goal of adding value.

Technology is easy, it’s people that are difficult

Gartner conducted a survey of CIOs that revealed they found three main barriers to moving beyond the initial phases of digital business transformation. These were determined to be: culture, resources and talent.

This is consistent with reports that CIOs are often challenged to motivate the current workforce to get their buy-in to new roles and acquire new skills and competencies. The bottom line appears to be, simply put, that transformation would be easy, if to attain it one didn’t have to deal with people.

Silos can inhibit collaboration, negatively affect employee morale, and thus stifle motivation.

Various sources report on this phenomenon and all appear to agree there are tangible reasons why people present such a formidable barrier to change. These include fear and difficulty in keeping pace with change.

Many people-oriented issues end up being a bar to digital business transformation. These include: competition in the workplace, bad planning and project ownership issues. Yes, accountability is great but where ownership translates into the ‘we own’ this technology silo, and only our data and views are correct mentality ensues, it is detrimental to the business as a whole.

The foregoing is often compounded by the ‘it’s not my fault’ syndrome and let me find somebody to blame it on – this inclination towards blame apportionment distracts from focusing on what matters in the business.

The bigger picture and the ability to see it

Let’s get back to that statistic in my first Industry Insight in this two-part series that stated that one-quarter of employees are actively disengaged – motivational means need to be deployed to pull people’s heads out of their silos and get them into the broader picture of what their systems actually contribute to the larger organisation.

IDC defines the following as important to the depth of knowledge of an enterprise:

  • Strategy and context
  • Priorities and dependencies
  • Business and operating models
  • Value proposition
  • Value delivery through products and services

Understanding the foregoing can lead to a shared vision across a business and can guide selection and priority of project activities.

BizOps helps companies to put business outcomes at the centre of everything, from value management, to development, to IT operations.

According to an IDC report, BizOps takes the key components of Agile and DevOps and extends them to include measurement, strategic and enterprise concerns.

The familiar stages are still present – namely, agile development, continuous, integration, testing and delivery − as well as the characteristics of faster cycles and continuous feedback. But with BizOps, the continuous feedback extends to two other important stages: continuous measurement, plus strategy.

Continuous measurement is the process of collecting information about the use, quality and valuedelivery of products and services and feeding that back into the loop to achieve continuous improvement and increased profit realisation.

Adding continuous measurement into the feedback cycle ensures an understanding of business worth is integrated into the Agile development process and that the definition of ‘completed’ includes the instrumentation of software products and services to collect the appropriate metrics.

Breaking down information silos is an imperative for digital transformation. In this effort, it’s vital to acknowledge the deep and persistent impact silos can have on people. By employing BizOps methodologies, teams can not only be united by a clear purpose, but with one driving vision: they are all centred on business outcomes.

* Click here for information on a global BizOps Virtual Summit.