Regardless of industry, many companies aim to become more product- or data-driven companies. It’s no surprise that data is king. But how do companies achieve this goal? Automation. The movement from art to science is taking hold in every aspect of operations in big companies and startups alike.
With the rise of cloud, data, and the tooling to support it, there are more opportunities than ever to create efficiencies, automate workflows, and manage functional areas with greater precision via automation.
More companies are adopting this mindset – undoubtedly, you’ve heard of DevOps and Marketing Ops – but how about DataOps? PeopleOps? ProductOps? Business-supporting strategies continue to evolve, and a large part of that future is Ops. To understand the trend, let’s look back at how it all started.
THE OPS MOVEMENT
The Ops trend isn’t new. DevOps and Marketing Ops are both mature concepts that permeate the development and marketing functions, respectively. In early 2007, DevOps formalized as a significant influencer in the software development process when developers and IT professionals had separate, competing objectives. A discussion about the drawbacks of Agile between two developers, Andrew Clay Shafer and Patrick Debois, resulted in DevOps as we know it today – a blend of agile philosophy with lean thinking around processes and tools that unite every team involved in the project.
DevOps represents a logical change in approach to age-old problems in IT. Likewise, Marketing Ops can be tied back to Peter Drucker’s vision of tightly integrating customer insights and analysis from the 1970s. More recently, Gary Katz published the first article citing Marketing Ops on MarketingProfs. While the average organization uses over ninety cloud services, Marketing Ops ensures these tools work together to reach critical goals, encompassing everything from planning and processes to technology and resource allocation.
As we consider DevOps the software core of Tech Ops and Marketing Ops at the front of the funnel, we realize the benefits of new technologies, automation, analytics, governance, and enablement from an Ops perspective throughout digital domain touchpoints across the entire customer journey and lifecycle. The growing collaboration and coordination across these Ops domains enable companies to adapt to market and customer shifts more quickly by building on the data, tool, and process domains within their digital business.
PICKING UP STEAM
If DevOps and Marketing Ops signify “Wave 1” of the operational trend, we’re currently in the midst of “Wave 2” – and it’s about to get interesting! Many organizations are starting to pick up speed with DataOps, Product Ops, and RevOps.
Let's start with some definitions.
Data Operations (DataOps) brings together DevOps teams with data engineer and data scientist roles to provide the tools, processes, and organizational structures to, in many cases, provide data as a product in a more consistent and consumable manner across the enterprise.
Product Operations (ProductOps) is an operational function that supports and accelerates the intersection of product, engineering, and customer success, by building and supporting more data-driven product management teams.
Revenue Operations (RevOps) describes the shift in B2B organizations to align sales, marketing, and customer support teams better to sustain and accelerate growth.
The landscape in this area is still nascent – we see companies shift their focus to DataOps to mature data management in the organization. Every department depends on reliable data – and, more importantly, turning that data into usable information. DataOps takes an agile approach, prioritizing data automation and continuous analytic insight to satisfy customers internally and externally.
Likewise, Product Ops is a related approach, where product management aims to equip the organization with relevant data for decision-makers and automate time-consuming tasks. The entire focus is to build products that delight customers. It’s no surprise that organizations are turning to this discipline as they seek to be product companies.
On the other side of the house, the business is also getting in on the operationalization fun. RevOps is helping to generate more revenue and profits by better managing, measuring, and monetizing revenue-generating assets. With a shift in operations and the explosion of tooling, there also comes a shuffling of roles in the org chart. Leaders of RevOps are going by expanded C-suite titles, like Chief Growth Officer, Chief Revenue Officer, or even Chief Customer Officer. All represent the dramatic shift in focus from distinct siloed areas, like Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success, to a broader scope representing the entire customer experience.
PREPPING FOR THE THIRD WAVE
So, what’s next? Clearly the trend doesn’t stop here – “Wave 3” will be upon us before you know it. As the Ops train keeps rolling, we believe the next five to ten years will see the operationalization of every business and technology area.
Scott Brinker of ChiefMarTech shared a model that we believe nicely represents the future of Ops.
The companies that stay ahead of the curve in operationalizing their business will be the first to enjoy the advantages of full-scale automation, making better use of their data, and a continued customer emphasis.
How do you take your company into the new era of Ops?
We have a few recommendations to get started:
Build the Right Framework. Before you can move to the cutting edge of the Ops trend, you have to get the basics down. Digital businesses must continue to strive to capture and use data more effectively to improve decision-making across the enterprise. Marketing Ops and DevOps are two common starting points for Ops adoption and maturity.
Operationalize the Enterprise. With the right datasets integrated across systems in the organization, it’s time to align executive leadership on an Ops mindset. An enterprise-wide approach to Ops will take advantage of the lessons learned in earlier Ops-domain thinking. It’s much easier to accelerate the adoption of tools and processes when the organization aligns on the outcome – that is, to drive more compelling customer experiences and internal operational efficiencies.
Think Outside the Ops Box. Ultimately, operationalization is more than just tacking the word “Ops” to what you already do. Instead, the Ops mindset is approaching activities with scaling and efficiency in mind. Doing so can drive value in functions you might not normally consider, like people, finance, and business operations.
Ops has some trendiness behind its naming convention, but early adopters have realized the value. A solid indicator of the importance of these ops domains is the growing organizational alignment many companies are adopting around these newer Ops areas (e.g., Chief Revenue Officer, Chief Data Officer, Chief People Officer). The ops roles and responsibilities, alongside the corresponding tools and processes, will continue to mature, and we are excited to be part of the Ops evolution.
About Eric Carr
Eric is the Chief Delivery Officer at Concord. In this role, Eric focuses on developing new offerings, solving high-value customer problems, and building great teams.
Eric's background includes leadership positions across sales, product, engineering, and finance, which has driven a well-balanced perspective and curiosity for new customer development, identifying and executing on broader industry trends, and betting on new technology stacks to enable better solutions.