Breaking Down Technology Silos with BizOps to Boost Morale

Breaking Down Technology Silos with BizOps to Boost Morale

Information silos have posed a major problem for enterprises, and that was true even when people actually went into the office. (In case you don’t remember, that’s the place where you used to go to attend meetings, sit at a faux-wood desk, and get free coffee.)

Now, the challenges of information silos seem poised to get even more intractable. As technology environments grow increasingly dynamic, complex, and interrelated, having silos across planning, app delivery, and IT operations creates a myriad of problems.

While most IT leaders focus on the technological implications of these silos, there are also equally problematic effects on people. By creating finger-pointing and inhibiting collaboration, these silos have a negative impact on employee morale, stifling motivation and engagement. The good news is BizOps can help.

Confronting the Barriers to Transformation

A recent Gartner survey of CIOs found that when it comes to moving beyond initial phases of digital business transformation, the top three barriers encountered are culture, resources, and talent.[1] We can interpret this in a number of ways, but we’re hearing CIOs say: “If I didn’t have to deal with people, transformation would be a piece of cake.” Facetiousness aside, the obstacles to transformation are clearly people related.

Information Silos are a People Problem Too

There are a number of reasons why people present such an imposing obstacle to change: fear of change and difficulty keeping pace with change are two significant components that jump immediately to mind.

Here are five key implications information silos—the disparate, disconnected sets of technology and data that proliferate across the enterprise—can have on individuals and teams.

The Downside of Ownership

In many ways it’s a good thing when staff members and teams take ownership. It’s vital for teams to be accountable and to take pride in and take responsibility for the systems they’re associated with.

However, when it comes to information silos, this sense of ownership can work against the organization. If a team has ownership of a technology silo, there’s a natural inclination for them to have an “us” and “them” mindset, one where their data, views, and insights are “right,” and the intelligence from any other sources is inherently suspect.

Internal Competition

Whenever there’s an “us” and a “them,” it can commonly lead to “us” against “them.” When teams have ownership of a silo, they want to protect, justify, and rationalize that silo. They want to retain and grow funding for that silo.

This is the kind of mindset that fosters the wrong kind of competition: internal vs externally focused competition. Speaking of decentralized, segmented organizations, an IDC analyst wrote, “For enterprises, generally with a portfolio of businesses and products—each striving to grow independently—this led not only to redundancy and inconsistency, but it also often led to internal competition being more ferocious than external competition.”[2]

Faulty Planning

When the focus is on the silo, it shapes faulty planning, investments, and decision making. For example, investments are focused on silo preservation rather than on making the investments that yield business outcomes.

Finger Pointing

A team’s focus on information silos can have a major impact on operations. Incident management is a clear example of this. When issues arise, instead of truly focusing on what matters—that is, finding and fixing the issue—the inclination is to pin the blame elsewhere and to retain their system’s good standing.

Lacking Purpose

If teams are focused on their silos, they’re more likely to be missing the bigger picture. They’re less likely to understand how their systems contribute to the larger organization, and ultimately to the business. When this is the case, teams are missing out on a big intrinsic motivator. When you consider that one-quarter of employees are “actively disengaged,”[3] leaders need to maximize any motivational factors available.

How BizOps Can Help

It is critical to be aware of the multi-faceted implications of information silos, and how they affect the three top barriers to digital transformation: culture, resources, and talent. While there’s a variety of potential solutions and approaches to this, BizOps is increasingly key. While DevOps has enabled teams to make strides towards continual improvement of software quality, it doesn’t necessarily account for business outcomes. In comparison, BizOps helps put business outcomes at the center of everything, from value management to development to IT operations.

An IDC analyst offered a great distillation of some of the objectives of BizOps: “BizOps uses data-driven, cross-functional teams to optimize operations, restart stalled or failing digital initiatives, combine siloed digital projects, explore new ideas, or accelerate existing digital strategies.”[4] In particular, it is this ability to combine siloed digital projects that can present massive potential for accelerating digital transformation.

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 be united by a clear purpose, one centered on business outcomes. Therefore, BizOps can be a great way to relegate silos to their rightful place: the past.

If you’re interested in learning more about BizOps, be sure to review our eBook, “The Definitive Guide to BizOps: Meeting the Digital Transformation Imperative Through 2021 and Beyond.” This guide examines why BizOps is becoming such an important imperative and it reveals the essential requirements needed to make BizOps a reality. You can also find more information on BizOps at broadcom.com/bizops.

 

 

Sources:

[1] Diane Berry, Lily Mok, Gartner, “Motivating the Unmotivated,” November 7, 2019

[2] Marc Strohlein, Joseph C. Pucciarelli, Mike Rosen, IDC, “BizOps: The CIO’s Guide to Multiplied Business Transformation”

[3] Gallup, “State of the Global Workplace,” https://www.gallup.de/183833/state-the-global-workplace.aspx

[4] Marc Strohlein, Joseph C. Pucciarelli, Mike Rosen, IDC, “BizOps: The CIO’s Guide to Multiplied Business Transformation”

Reducing Operations Toil with Site Reliability Automation

Reducing Operations Toil with Site Reliability Automation

If you never heard about Site Reliability Engineering (SRE), you probably don’t know about operations “toil”. However, according to Gartner, “in our 2019 DevOps survey, 41% of respondents have already adopted certain elements of SRE, and an additional 42% plan to implement SRE practices by YE20”.1So, we believe it’s no doubt you’ll become familiar with the concept of operations toil very soon, and also with the challenges for adopting an SRE approach. This is just a matter of time.

What is SRE?
Site Reliability Engineering is not new; it is based on practices that Google started to put in place even before DevOps became mainstream. When employing SRE models, teams take a software engineering approach to IT Operations. SRE is aimed at handling bigger volume of changes faster, and accepting the risk induced by change. That explains why DevOps and SRE approaches work well together, and why SRE is sometimes considered as an extension to DevOps (even is SRE is older than DevOps).

DevOps SRE
Focus on continuous delivery Focus on service management
Bridge organizational silos Leverage tooling across teams
Accept failure as ‘normal’ Accept risk on service levels
Implement iterative changes Implement “atomic” changes
Automate delivery toolchain Automate standard operating procedures
Optimize TTM (Time-To-Market) Optimize MTTR (Mean-Time-To-Repair)

The main challenges of SRE
As teams seek to pursue SRE initiatives, the tools in place can offer significant benefit—or pose a massive challenge. The reality is that many organizations looking to adopt SRE models are employing loosely connected toolchains. By introducing a multitude of tools, due to the ensuing heterogeneity, it is harder for staff to manage the infrastructure efficiently and to expedite problem-solving. As a consequence, SRE adopters are facing two notable challenges:

  • Reducing operations toil. In Google’s definition, toil is not just “work I don’t like to do”. It is the kind of manual, repetitive, and mundane work that provides little value to operations. It is essential to reduce toil if you ever think about dealing with faster pace and greater volume of changes.
  • Reducing MTTR. The Mean-Time-To-Repairmeasures how long it takes operational teams to fix a problem, either through a workaround, a rollback, or another action. As a matter of fact, reducing MTTR has a significant impact on the overall customer experience. It is also critical for SRE teams to minimize MTTR, because as they accept the risk of change, they need to recover fast to protect the service levels business expects.

Because of the need to handle more changes, faster, while protecting service levels, many organizations view SRE as a monumental undertaking. As a result, they either stall initiatives or try to implement too many changes too quickly, often failing to deliver enough value to justify sustaining the effort.

Site Reliability Automation
Enhancing infrastructure monitoring with intelligent recommendations and auto-remediation capabilities can help organizations create more resilient production environments, streamlining their Site Reliability Engineering initiatives.

An integral part of BizOps from Broadcom and AIOps solutions powered by automation.ai, Broadcom’s Site Reliability Automation includes contextual automation that provides seamless integration of root cause alarms with remedial workflows. This contextual awareness lets SRE teams easily automate standard operating procedures that can be reused across environments. While contextual automation contributes to reducing operations toil, it also enables teams to deal with a bigger volume of events. In parallel, a recommendation engine leverages cross-domain insight to assist staff in choosing the most effective course of action for issue remediation. Machine learning algorithms are used to rank the most successful remediation workflows in regard to the context. That continuous learning helps resolving more issues faster and reduces the MTTR.

Site Reliability Automation addresses two major challenges of SRE teams by efficiently reducing operations toil and improving MTTR. Ultimately, Site Reliability Automation empowers DevOps initiatives by aligning infrastructure management with the pace of modern continuous delivery. In the very near future, SRE will become mainstream; automation will make the decisions and ensure consistent operations. Probably a good time to urge reviewing your automation strategies.

Sources:

1Gartner, “DevOps Teams Must Use Site Reliability Engineering to Maximize Customer Value” (Gartner subscription required), George Spafford and Manjunath Bhat, Published 10 January 2020

The AI-driven Colleague: A Look at the Future of Work

The AI-driven Colleague: A Look at the Future of Work

Change is inevitable in all processes, including in the way we work. Cutting-edge and ever-expanding developments in artificial intelligence (AI) technology, coupled with increasing levels of automation that AI platforms enable, will fundamentally shape the workplace of tomorrow.  In these transformed workplaces, machines will help humans make better decisions and even automate decision making.

By embracing a vision in which AI empowers decision making, IT and business leaders will be better positioned to maximize the potential of AI. In this post, I’ll share insights on the advantages that can be realized when AI is distributed across the enterprise, and specifically the promise afforded by the combination of BizOps and AI platforms.

Establishing a Sound Vision of AI

There can often be extreme perspectives on the notion of AI in an enterprise. On one side of the spectrum, there’s fear and loathing, usually associated with visions of workforces removed—the bustle of human activity replaced by the humming of robots. On the other side, AI can present a vision of a team of data scientists and a bank of super computers off in a remote lab. The work being done may be important, but it’s completely isolated from daily operations, other staff, and the rest of the organization.

It’s important to have a vision of AI. Not so much in terms of the specific technologies or use cases, but more in terms of what AI will look and feel like in the years ahead. A Gartner report offered a compelling look at the future of work. [1] One of their assumptions was titled “Smart Machines Will Be Our Coworkers.”

This is a great vision for CIOs to consider as they chart their strategies. The power of AI will only be fully harnessed when fears about its use are put aside, and when it moves out of labs. This vision of smart machines as coworkers takes the concept of the citizen data scientist to its logical conclusion. Ultimately, it presents a future in which each employee will be supported by an AI-powered colleague, one that can take on tasks, offer guidance, and take responsibility for making decisions.

AI Platforms: Not an Either/Or Proposition

Results from a McKinsey Global Institute study offer an interesting perspective on automation. In their research, they found that, using currently demonstrated technology, 5% of occupations could be automated in their entirety. However, around 60% of occupations have 30% of activities that could be automated. [2] Rather than an either/or, all-or-nothing perspective, automation and AI platforms can be viewed as resources that empower a significant percentage of employees. Following are a few potential scenarios:

  • Instead of automation and AI eliminating accounting teams, these capabilities help streamline and speed ongoing activities, and they empower teams to gain increased insights that get fed back into business operations and planning.
  • Rather than automating sales away, teams can rely on automation and AI to optimize every step of the sales cycle, from who they target for outreach, to more effectively predicting requirements, and ultimately more efficiently navigating complex decision-making hierarchies and procedures.
  • Instead of having an independent data science lab handing off intelligence to the marketing department, marketing teams get empowered by infusing automation and AI into their operations. As a result, these teams can establish more granular, sophisticated personalization and segmentation that boost results.

By effectively collaborating with smart machines, teams will be able to realize greater capabilities than they could with AI or human ingenuity alone. Ultimately, AI platforms can fuel not only automated operations but automated decision making. ​By empowering team members to creatively, iteratively mine AI, they’ll be able to boost their expertise, skills, and performance.

The Power of BizOps and AI Platforms

As CIOs chart their organizations’ AI strategies and pursue digital transformation initiatives, BizOps represents an increasingly essential approach. While DevOps has enabled teams to make strides towards continual improvement of software quality, it doesn’t necessarily account for business outcomes. That’s where BizOps comes in. This is a framework for decision making that helps put business outcomes at the center of everything, from value management to development to IT operations.

In an IDC report, analysts describe how the activities of successful BizOps teams can be summed up as “learn quickly, experiment, fail fast.”[3] In leading enterprises, AI will play an increasingly central role in these teams’ ability to learn with unprecedented speed. By facilitating the integration of business outcomes into DevOps lifecycles, BizOps will help usher in optimized AI and automation strategies and investments.

We’re already seeing AI delivering these advantages in IT operations, where teams are employing correlated intelligence to predict potential issues and gain contextual intelligence to accelerate triaging and remediation. Ultimately, these capabilities are setting the stage for teams to establish self-healing operations.

Through BizOps and AI, site reliability engineering (SRE) teams can streamline their initiatives by enhancing infrastructure monitoring with intelligent recommendations and automated remediation capabilities. With these capabilities, SRE teams can create more resilient production environments. By leveraging AI and automation, these teams can easily automate standard operating procedures that can be reused across environments, reducing operations toil and enabling teams to handle more events.

AI and automation will be instrumental in gaining the analytics that unify ITOps and business services, so teams can truly align all their tactics, investments, and plans with business outcomes. Ultimately, by leveraging BizOps, automation, and AI, teams will gain the ability to truly unify planning, application delivery, and operations, so they’re optimally aligned with each other, and with the organization’s most critical business objectives.

Maximizing the power of AI represents a strategic imperative for enterprises today. The more quickly the power of AI can be infused across the organization, the better business performance will be. When organizations combine advanced AI platforms with BizOps, they’ll be able to realize a range of breakthrough benefits, helping ensure optimal business alignment and accelerated advancement towards key business outcomes. To find out how Broadcom solutions are delivering these vital capabilities, be sure to visit broadcom.com/bizops.

 

Sources:

[1] Source: De’Onn Griffin and Mark Coleman, Gartner, “How We Will Work in 2028,” ID: G00349777

[2] McKinsey Global Institute, “A Future that Works: Automation, Employment, and Productivity,” January 2017, https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/featured%20insights/Digital%20Disruption/Harnessing%20automation%20for%20a%20future%20that%20works/MGI-A-future-that-works-Executive-summary.ashx

[3] Marc Strohlein, Joseph C. Pucciarelli, Mike Rosen, IDC, “BizOps: The CIO’s Guide to Multiplied Business Transformation”

 

 

Why Communications Break Down Between CIOs and Business Leaders

Why Communications Break Down Between CIOs and Business Leaders

When asked to describe the skills most critical to the CIO’s success, “communications” may not be the first phrase to jump to mind. However, in an age of BizOps and digital transformation, the role of communicator is one that can have an increasingly pivotal role in a CIO’s ability to lead change and deliver value. As a marketing and communications executive, I’ll examine why communicating with business stakeholders is such a vital mandate for the modern CIO and I’ll offer some key strategies for optimizing these communications.

The BizOps Imperative, and the Implications

The lack of alignment between business and IT has been a reality forever, or at least as long as there’s been IT and business. However, the reality is that schisms between these organizations have persisted, and alignment isn’t what it can and should be.

BizOps can be integral for addressing this alignment challenge since it represents a strategic architecture that transforms decision making. Much the way DevOps can accelerate digital delivery, BizOps can support the establishment of a strategic foundation that can accelerate and scale digital transformation.

As organizations pursue BizOps, the demands on CIOs will continue to evolve. Moving forward, one of a CIOs’ most critical roles will be that of communicator, and of particular importance will be their ability to communicate with business leadership.

The Challenge

Historically, IT and business leaders have operated in an isolated fashion, with distinct organizations, teams, processes, and so on. Part of this distinction also arises in terms of communications and language.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that CIOs are comfortable with, and default to, technology speak. In their day-to-day jobs, these executives are inherently focused on concepts like capacity, availability, and performance. However, it is this fundamental reality that can mean that a CIO’s communication style isn’t aligned with the business leaders receiving them.

The inability to communicate optimally with business leadership can be significant and far reaching and can lead to a number of potential ramifications. Maybe a CEO isn’t sold on the business value of a technology initiative, and ultimately that initiative doesn’t get funded. Or within the larger business, the perception of IT’s value is diminished or stays low. Perhaps support for ongoing IT initiatives and policies isn’t sustained or maybe business leaders choose to go around IT altogether. Maybe line-of-business leaders don’t buy in to IT approaches, so they don’t advocate for adherence to policies, and compliance lags.

These implications are increasingly costly for organizations. Ultimately, it limits the ability of IT to contribute to critical business objectives, which can have a direct and significant impact on the business’ prospects and degree of success. Further, these obstacles will continue to stifle transformation efforts, and are very much anathema to vital initiatives like BizOps.

Keys to Communicating with Business Stakeholders

These implications are increasingly costly for organizations. Ultimately, this communications gap limits the ability of IT to contribute to critical business objectives, which can have a direct and significant impact on the business’ prospects and degree of success. Further, this lack of strategic alignment will continue to stifle transformation efforts, and is very much anathema to vital initiatives like BizOps. The following sections offer a practical look at how CIOs can begin to optimize their communications with business stakeholders.

Understand the Audience

To communicate effectively, it’s critical to know your audience and tell a story that creates empathy. To do this, a CIO can adopt an approach out of the marketing team’s playbook: persona-based marketing. In marketing, we focus on tailoring communications to specific types of prospects. In a similar way, CIOs should focus on aligning their communications with several key personas, such as board members, CEOs, CFOs, and line-of-business leaders. Based on an understanding of these key contacts, CIOs can then adapt and tailor their communications to these individuals.

Objectives and Strategies

In particular, take time to study the key audience members and their strategies, including the following areas:

  • KPIs. How does this persona track their team’s progress? What metrics does this persona’s leadership use to measure his or her success?
  • Objectives. What are their primary goals and objectives? Adopting a new business model? Responding to new competitive threats? Increasing new customer acquisition or retention? Increasing customer lifetime value?
  • Challenges. What are the top challenges they’re confronting? What issues are impeding their progress?

Communications Processes, Habits, and Preferences

To enable optimized communications, CIOs should look to the persona’s existing communications, including the following three factors:

  • Terminology. What types of terminology do they use, particularly to describe the topics they care most about?
  • Communication methods. How does communication happen with their organizations? This can be invaluable in aligning communications most seamlessly. This can help with determining whether to focus on in-person meetings with accompanying reports, formal presentations, or emails.
  • Timing. Look at the audience to guide timing, both in terms of frequency and dates. On a practical level, you want to ensure you’re communicating on a frequency they’re accustomed to, and, for example, that you’re not communicating with the CFO during a cycle close or with a chief revenue officer in the days preceding the end of the fiscal quarter.

By gaining an understanding of the audience’s strategies and communications preferences, CIOs can begin to better align the content and format of their communications.

Articulate Business Value

When it comes to communications, planning, and strategies, it will be incumbent upon CIOs to focus on business value. At the highest level, it can be helpful to think about business value along three key domains:

  • Value creation. This can include the delivery of new services, perhaps to keep pace with, or differentiate from, competitors. How can these efforts translate to key business metrics, such as customer acquisition or retention? For example, how will an upgrade to an e-commerce back-end’s scalability impact business metrics, such as increased checkouts per hour? How will enhanced responsiveness enable reduced shopping cart abandonments?
  • Resource optimization. While this can often fall into a cost-reduction discussion around IT budgets, there can be far broader business impact and value. For example, from an IT standpoint, an AIOps initiative that helps automate event management and remediation may boost the productivity of IT staff and reduce a team’s reliance on outside contractors and associated costs. However, this type of automation may also translate to cost reduction in other areas of the business, for example reducing staff calls into the help desk or avoiding disruption. Alternatively, maybe the automation will free up high-level staff to deliver against some other business-impacting effort.
  • Risk mitigation. A wide range of efforts can fall under this category. While security-related investments and initiatives come immediately to mind, there can be a number of other areas that can benefit. For example, the automation initiative outlined above can help with risk mitigation. Maybe persistent service issues are leading to increased customer churn. The automation of event management can reverse this trend by enabling faster remediation, reducing the scope and duration of outages. Further, intelligent automation can even set the stage for the detection of potential problems and the ability to preempt them before customers ever notice there’s an issue.

By thinking about IT initiatives within each of these categories, CIOs can help frame their efforts in a way that resonates most with the business stakeholders they need to collaborate with.

Optimize Communications

Finally, look to ensure communications are optimized for maximum impact. Look to ensure your communications adhere to these principles:

  • Relevant. Ensure your communications map to the strategies and business values outlined above.
  • Clear and concise. To the greatest extent possible, try to eliminate ambiguity and deliver clear, succinct messages.
  • Credible. Provide key points that are supported with evidence, including metrics and examples.

As organizations continue to pursue digital transformation and BizOps initiatives, the alignment of IT and business grows increasingly vital. Consequently, communicating with business stakeholders represents an increasingly strategic component of the CIO’s job description. By gaining an understanding of the audience, clearly articulating the business value of IT initiatives, and optimizing their interactions, CIOs can begin to establish the communications that foster alignment, and help facilitate successful BizOps initiatives. If you’re interested in learning more about BizOps, be sure to review our eBook, “The Definitive Guide to BizOps: Meeting the Digital Transformation Imperative Through 2021 and Beyond.”  This guide examines why BizOps is becoming such an important imperative and it reveals the essential requirements needed to make BizOps a reality.

A Broadcom Point of View: Digital BizOps from Broadcom

A Broadcom Point of View: Digital BizOps from Broadcom

Accelerating Enterprise-wide Decision Making and Execution

As enterprise leaders look to pursue their technology and business objectives, they are increasingly pursuing BizOps. BizOps is a methodology for ensuring technology investments are optimally aligned with the delivery of business outcomes. Now, Broadcom offers an integral solution for organizations pursuing BizOps. Digital BizOps from Broadcom powered by Automation.ai combines business, development, and operations data to generate actionable insights that help customers continuously improve the business outcomes of digital initiatives. This paper provides readers with an introduction to the emerging BizOps imperative facing our customers, and it details how our Digital BizOps solution helps customers address this imperative.

Read the white paper

IDC PERSPECTIVE BizOps: Extending Continuous Feedback to Business Planning

IDC PERSPECTIVE BizOps: Extending Continuous Feedback to Business Planning

Across the board, IT development organizations have been adopting approaches that allow for flexible and emergent requirements, faster development, automation of processes, frequent updates, and operational excellence. Agile development processes are one key aspect of this shift. A key value of agile is continual involvement of project business sponsors, flexibility with requirements, and the emergence of a “minimum viable product” (MVP). An MVP is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future product development, taking advantage of the continuous feedback mechanisms to incrementally enhance and improve.

More mature organizations have also adopted a DevOps approach or “development to operations” that coordinates the entire delivery chain spanning development to deployment. A key aspect of DevOps is the automation of the chain to reduce cycle time. It is this approach (among other factors) that allows organizations such as Amazon to deploy 10,000 changes per day.

Despite the advantages of Agile and DevOps approaches, many organizations also face challenges. One challenge is the difficulty in integrating architecture into the Agile approach. A second challenge is that while DevOps greatly increases the speed and efficiency of development, this often comes at the expense of strategic alignment. At a project level, organizations are deploying software faster, but at an enterprise level, they don’t know if they are deploying the right things, or just heading faster toward more debt and redundancy and less consistency and interoperability.

While the speed is important, it is the right things at the right speed — the “speed of business change” — that is critical to success in the new economy. Business operations (BizOps) is aimed at enabling the speed of business change. And while DevOps and Agile are critical components of any business or digital transformation (DX) initiative, they are not incompatible with architecture; in fact, they are better with architecture.

Earlier this year, we published BizOps: The CIO’s Guide to Multiplied Business Transformation (IDC #US44873518, February 2019), which discussed one perspective of BizOps as “a decision support mechanism for connecting business functions together to enable the smooth operation of the company.” This document will examine a different interpretation of BizOps, sometimes called “BizDevOps,” which is about extending the continuous feedback loops of Agile and DevOps to include business strategy and architecture.

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