BizDevOps: Solving the Digital Dilemma for Transformational Success
November 29, 2017

Jeanne Morain
iSpeak Cloud

Companies today face a digital dilemma. How can they understand and discern if their approach to transforming their company to meet today's digital consumer is the right one?

This dilemma is particularly challenging when they are being bombarded with bits and pieces of information that may or may not even apply to digital transformation let alone their specific situation. Executives' email inboxes are inundated with thousands of marketing emails that may even misstate the real drivers for transformation or how a particularly technology will or will not suit their company's needs.

BizDevOps and Digital Transformation have fallen by the wayside of Cloud and other washed out but critical terms in our vernacular. If we are not careful they will face the same fate as Business Service Management or other industry initiatives that were cut short and never fully realized because of confusion around the problem being solved and for whom. These terms are not just marketing-speak, but real concepts created to solve the silo issues that exist between the business and IT ... issues that have led to billions of dollars in shelfware and the emergence of formalized Shadow IT.

BizDevOps and Digital Transformation are NOT the Same

When you search for BizDevOps, many sites state that it is Digital Transformation. Those companies obviously have not worked with C-Level executives or boards of directors. Digital Transformation is about transforming your business as a whole to address the needs of today's digital buyer.

That is not to say that software is the only solution for all companies. As Aaron Amendolia from the NFL stated in my latest book – if the internet went down that does not mean the NFL would cancel the Super Bowl.

BizDevOps is not a new concept but a new term for including those that use the products and sign the checks in design, development and implementation of technology solutions. Digital Transformation encompasses BizDevOps but is not bound or driven by it. It is the other way around. However, BizDevOps is critical for the technology aspects of companies' products and services to be designed to meet customers' needs in an agile, compliant and cost efficient way.

Simply put, BizDevOps is ensuring that as technologists we are actually following the original vision of agile – involving the customer early and often in our approach. Whereas Digital Transformation should be about streamlining people and processes, BizDevOps should be about turning the vision into reality.

"DevOps needs to evolve to include the business. Business representatives should be embedded in the development process for the solutions they request, and in some cases even enabled to create their own apps via low-code platforms or other tools," stated Jamie MacQuarrie, co-founder of Appivo. "Given the rate at which app backlogs are growing, this shift is necessary to enable the technologists to focus on the critical applications. Finding new ways to empower the business is critical to the migration to a more agile and business-focused process; to DevOps in general."

BizDevOps is Needed to Break Siloes Preventing Success

Why? We have hit the tip of the iceberg of Digital Transformation. There is no one stop shop, all encompassing solution or technology that will automagically fix your transformation efforts. Given so few have claimed success internally let alone externally in this area we should think less about the empirical data from surveys. Why are we focused on what we think it will be like versus those that have already tried it, failed, refactored and succeeded?

We should focus on top performers that have bridged the gap and achieved some modicum of success. Companies that have changed they way they define, deliver, and engage solutions within both their customer and employee base. The real winners are not fighting the business or claiming shadow IT. They are gladly empowering them by shifting architecture and development resources under business leaders and integrating business processes within operations.

Transformation at any level is hard and failure always comes before success (even in the dictionary). Like children, each company's challenges will be unique in some aspects and similar in others. What is different though, is that new business models and types of companies may force you to look at companies not just in your industry but at those with a similar business model.

Every time I sit through a presentation comparing AirBNB and Marriott – I cringe. Why? Their overhead, business model and to some extent buyer are very different. Children, even twins can be very different with different needs although they come from the same family or origins. These two room providers are just that – paternal twins with very different needs, overhead and expertise. The processes and technologies they both have adopted, adapted or created were done so based on their unique models. To say one needs to be more like the other is like telling a child they need to lose weight or change their eye color to be more like their non-identical twin – nonsensical and a disservice.

During many of the CIO conferences, workshops, and events I have led or participated in, I have seen a common thread. A gap between transformation vision and execution reality. Digital Transformation encompasses more than just changing the processes and implementation methodology around technology. It encompasses the entire business, how it consumes technology and automation from a user perspective. The user could be the company's customers, employees (both in technology and outside of it), and affiliates/partners.

The subsequent series of blogs on DEVOPSdigest will take a deeper dive into the 3 areas that are needed to implement a strategy for BizDevOps that supports (not supplants or competes with) the company's overarching digital transformation vision and strategy. Each part in the series will dive deeper into the 3 primary challenging areas: people, process, and technology. The first article will focus on people aspect first because you can have the best process and technology in the world but if no one is following it – transformation will fail.

Jeanne Morain is an Author/Strategist with iSpeak Cloud
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