The year 2021 began with a long list of lessons learned from 2020. Although competitiveness and digital transformation were already driving the need for greater business agility before 2020, the pandemic forced organizations to embrace extreme forms of agile to survive or thrive. In fact, “the new normal” has become synonymous with navigating unprecedented uncertainty.
What is BizOps?
BizOps enables businesses to operationalize agility across the enterprise so they can adapt faster to change.
“The fundamental challenge is that business processes and data aren’t flowing through the organization the way they should so that you constantly know how you’re performing against business objectives,” said Laureen Knudsen, chief transformation officer at Broadcom. “That flow should be happening from the top-level strategy, beyond customers, and all the way back up.”
Business leaders embrace approach
The unpredictable nature of today’s business environment has made traditional long-term planning futile. Although business planning is still necessary, organizations must now prepare for several possible scenarios.
Business and service delivery models are constantly adapting to pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns. At the same time, organizations should be in a position to capitalize on opportunities that arise along the way.
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BizOps provides a hypothesis-driven business approach that allows businesses to adapt faster to change in a data-informed way.
“Developers and IT have been trying to optimize what they’re doing for years. But even if you’ve done everything right, you’re only optimizing two to four percent of your entire flow,” said Knudsen. “You can’t just set a business objective and force the way people achieve that objective. You need to let them experiment and share what they found with others so the business can take advantage of new ideas and best methods.”
BizOps is an end-to-end concept
Although BizOps can benefit the entire business, organizations must first dissolve the barriers that created operational silos and learn how to work as a single cohesive team. The best mentors in the company tend to be DevOps and IT leaders who are steeped in agile methods and who have helped increase organizational efficiency with IT.
These mentors can teach and inspire other parts of the organization to decompose problems into smaller, more manageable pieces and work cross-functionally. They can also help their less agile counterparts get comfortable with the concept and value of unknown unknowns.
According to the 2021 Gartner View from the Board of Directors Survey, seven out of 10 boards of directors have made digital business acceleration a part of their company’s post-pandemic strategy. As a result, enterprises are hiring a chief digital officer (CDO) to respond to the current COVID-19 crisis. In some organizations, that role was spearheading digital transformation before the pandemic hit. Their experience and expertise have helped companies adapt faster to whatever is occurring in the moment.
Other companies have been less prepared for the amount and degree of change over the same period. Their organizations suffer from business processes and data flows that are still stuck in silos. BizOps helps dissolve the barriers so companies can benefit from fast feedback loops, meet customer expectations and reduce lingering bottlenecks.
“We’re talking about putting iterative processes into the top level of an organization,” said Knudsen. “When you have a hypothesis-driven business in which you form a hypothesis and test it.”
Essentially, everyone in the business adopts a continuous improvement mindset with leadership leading by example.
Shifting to outcome-based planning
Traditional planning is dead. Companies can no longer plan, act and evaluate after the fact. Instead, they must Plan, Do (form hypotheses), Check (validate the hypothesis) and Act. They also need a continuous feedback loop that minimizes risk by surfacing important signals faster than before.
“You’ve got to keep your objective front and center. What changes is how you’re going to hit that,” said Knudsen. “We need to try different things until we find the right path to get there.”
Fundamentally, everyone in the organizations must adopt a test and learn mindset.
Check out the BizOps coalition
Returns on software investments are difficult to measure and they rarely produce expected business outcomes. The BizOps Coalition recently unveiled the BizOps Manifesto, which is a declaration of values and principles. It’s designed to better align with and continually improve software development and operations in a manner that advances digital business, through a combination of technology, culture and communication. The number of CEOs, tech executives, and luminaries participating in the BizOps Coalition is growing. Development and IT leaders are encouraged to join.
Content provided by SD Times and Broadcom