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What is DigitalOps?

Let's begin with definitions from leading industry analysts. Gartner defines DigitalOps as: "the 'process' center of your digital transformation, providing the orchestration of systems and other resources. It incorporates mechanisms for sensing and responding, while potentially supporting dynamic learning and optimization."

At a high level, Gartner views DigitalOps as the beginning of a business discipline for increasing organizational agility. It encompasses a holistic set of methods and enabling technologies associated with how the firm delivers value via a digital platform in real time.

DigitalOps give businesses the agility to survive in an ever-changing world. CX has replaced cost reduction as the primary driver for process improvement, but it's digital business transformation that's the top priority – and for good reason. McKinsey research shows that "Organizations that report successful digital transformations are more likely to embed advanced digital technologies in their operations. And are 1.8x more likely to modify standard operating procedures to do so." 

The birth of digital operations

Before the web, brick and mortar operations departments were sometimes perceived as dull, repetitive or lacking creativity and innovation. Operations groups in large manufacturing companies were about managing supply chains with efficiency and automation, but they were not yet “digitized.” The marketing, finance and IT departments may have been more appealing places to grow your career. Even in the early days of the web, the concept of a “digital operations” team barely existed. Early websites for large brands tended to live within the overall sales and marketing function. There were a few basic job functions, such as marketing, SEO, UX, content, and metrics, along with more technical functions like web development and information architecture.

As digital adoption grew and scaled exponentially, the “eCommerce” or “digital” group often spun off into its own P&L and business unit. Soon, new functions appeared, like A/B testing, mobile, emerging tech, personalization and platform. The concept of a “digital operations” team emerged by default within large enterprises to address gaps in support for pre-existing operations functions and sales channels that were seeing increased demand for more tech savvy skill sets. A perfect example of this is the traditional call center, where customers were calling and emailing to complain about issues on the web site, when call center agents were barely trained to support it.

Shortly thereafter, user acceptance testing and QA teams were moved into digital operations, along with agile delivery, program management, platforms and content. Pretty soon, a bevy of digital support roles were being relocated into digital operations, and suddenly digital ops was born, with no clear definition of the function as a whole.

Re-defining digital operations

So what is digital operations anyway? And how did it become a catch all for so many different functions? A simple Google search offers a wide variety of inconsistent and even contradictory definitions of digital operations. Here are a few:

The Digital Operations Manager is responsible for the stability and availability of all of our Digital platforms, (including the management of our partners and vendors), to ensure the best digital experiences… The Digital Operations team also governs all processes and procedures which deliver change to those platforms, with a view to minimizing incidents and operational risk while maintaining the agility required …to be first to market.

Here’s another one:

Digital Operations is a new type of company operations. One that learns from the consumer technology products we love and use every day. It understands employees are customers. It knows that to get the best technology, it must look past traditional IT.

And another:

Digital Operations Management brings together machine learning, automation, and DevOps-centric workflows to mobilize teams when it matters most.

Okay, so none of these definitions is wrong, but they are broad and diverse in scope. If we combined all of them, digital ops would own everything from platform to personalization to vendors, automation, partners, process and risk. So what wouldn’t they own in the digital org?

Let’s take a step back and see if we can find a good definition of “operations” overall. Forrester offers the following:

Operations, compared to work in general, is work that is relatively less variable, more repeatable, more interrupt-driven, more concerned with efficiency and optimization, and more scalable in nature. It’s more about preservation as opposed to innovation.

Now we’re talking. Gartner offers the following definition for digital operations:

Digital Operations is the ‘process’ center of your digital transformation, providing the orchestration of systems and other resources. It incorporates mechanisms for sensing and responding, while potentially supporting dynamic learning and optimization. It is the beginning of a business discipline for increasing organizational agility. It encompasses a holistic set of methods and enabling technologies associated with how the firm delivers value via a digital platform in real-time.

In other words, operations is much more than just a support function for digital. Maybe new products are not born in operations. But operations leaders are increasingly responsible for improving agility, efficiency and automation of these products, as well as scaling, optimizing and orchestrating across systems. This means developing personalized relationships with customers, listening and responding to their needs and employing new and innovative ways to dynamically learn and enhance the journey. Not to mention measuring to ensure the value of the investment is realized. Rinse, repeat, cycle.

Functions now commonly found in a digital operations group may include:

  • Digital customer engagement centers (including voice, chat and CX support/issue resolution)
  • Digital user acceptance testing (UAT and QA)
  • Digital platforms and tools
  • Agile, process and program management
  • Digital content and asset management
  • SEO
  • Data, analytics and tag management

What is DigitalOps?

DigitalOps stand for Digital Operations. DigitalOps is a new type of company operations. We learns from the consumer technology products we love and use everyday. It understands employees are customers. It knows that to get the best technology, it must look past traditional IT. In the past, consumer-tech took the lead from business. Times have changed. Products developed for consumers now have a lot to teach companies of all sizes about how to do it right. Consumers are very demanding, and competition is fierce.

Companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Netflix have developed ways of working that allow them to respond faster to consumer demands than their rivals. They have proven that even the largest companies can be as fleet-footed as a start-up. Forced to put their users first to succeed, these companies have learned the art of listening to the people that use their software. They understand how to test new ideas, and release them to benefit the lives of their customers.

To develop a DigitalOps roadmap, you must make a mindset shift to view your operational investments not as stand-alone projects, but as an integrated set of synergies. You need to get support from your executive team. Sell the benefits of using process-centric models and technologies to drive digital transformation (DT) to your executive team. Develop your long-term plan, as it is part of needed success key factor (SKF) for achieve successful digital transformation (DT), beside TechQuilibrium.

Feel free to contact E-SPIN for any project and operation requirement from infrastructure to security protection your digital transformation initiative.

Developing a DigitalOps mindset

To develop a DigitalOps roadmap, you must make a mindset shift to view your operational investments not as stand-alone projects, but as an integrated set of synergies. Below are some guidelines to help you on your journey:

  • Get support from your executive team. Sell the benefits of using process-centric models and technologies to drive digital transformation to your executive team. With so many examples of how DigitalOps and a focus on CX are fueling leading businesses, it shouldn't take too much convincing.
  • Develop your long-term plan. Prioritize quick wins but also look beyond potential short-term ROI. Leverage new process discovery and mining tools to gain deeper insight into where to make additional investments, and remember to maintain your employee and end customer experience as your guiding principle.
  • Use the right tools for the right job. Robotic process automation (RPA) has its place, but an intelligent business process management suite (iBPMS) is better suited for more complex processes. Advanced analytics and artificial intelligence tools are also increasingly required for the necessary prescriptive intelligence and ability to learn.
  • Try something new. When you have a solid DigitalOps foundation in place, embrace the opportunity to experiment with how to shorten and evolve business product offerings by reconsidering your approach to business processes. It's this agility that will keep you ahead of your competition.
  • Leverage an industry expert. To develop your DigitalOps, you need a trusted advisor with a combination of deep industry knowledge, process domain expertise, and experience with innovative digital solutions. Industry analysts can help you develop a shortlist of potential partners.

Building your DigitalOps strategy requires a commitment to ongoing transformation. Don't be fooled by technology hype or seduced by something shiny and new. On the contrary, you need sustained focus and prudent investments to make your operations more agile. Your company will then be ready to take on anything that the future throws your way.

Conclusion

As CX and agility fuel the success of your digital brand, it shouldn’t take too much convincing to sell the benefits of reinvesting in your digital operations team. But doing so means ops must be repositioned as more than just a support arm of digital, or a catch all for various functions that don’t have a better home. Digital operations must be reinvented as a vital asset to your digital transformation, playing a central role in optimizing and being more agile.

Therefore, it’s not just the call center or customer support. It’s about voice of customer (VOC), listening, sensing and acting upon customer insights. It’s not just UAT or QA. It’s about reducing friction and moving customers seamlessly through the purchase funnel. It’s not just process. It’s about speed to market and automation. And it’s not just content and asset management. It’s about orchestration and enabling technology to dynamically optimize the customer journey. You get the point.

Creating a sustainable digital operations strategy will demand diligence and dedication to continuous improvement. It demands proper motivation and focus to be more data-driven and customer-centric, while increasing velocity and being more agile. Once a solid operational foundation is in place, your company will be better equipped to take on whatever challenges the future brings your way.

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