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Nancy Zhou

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How to Manage Operations across the Enterprise.

Posted by Nancy Zhou on Aug 10, 2019 3:20:31 PM

Running a smooth operation requires the right techniques and tools to help you run a business efficiently and effectively. As an operations manager knowing your role and its importance to the enterprise will ensure satisfaction and a smooth sailing ship.  

At Visible Systems, we maintain Operation Management deals with the creation of goods and services through the application of a business model - vital in both service and manufacturing firms.  Operations Management has a primary objective, which is to employ the company’s resources to produce goods and services fit for the market. And, we'd like to add the most agile manner. This post highlights the definitions, importance, and function of this concept.

What is ‘Operations Management’

Operation Management is in charge of managing the conversion process. This unit handles the day-to-day running of the business to ensure operations within the organization are carried out smoothly. It is also in charge of production administration, manufacturing and other processes like the rendering of services.


BREAKING DOWN ‘Operations Management’

In short, everything regarding involves utilizing resource such as designing, implementation, and control is the duty of operation management. And the sole aim is to deliver the desired products and services to clients while also ensuring that all parties involved are adhering to the policies presented by the management of the company. The focus is also to make sure that there is little or no wastage during and after the production process, through the effective use of the firm’s resources.

Specific Responsibilities of Operations Management

As earlier mentioned the duty of the operations manager entails making sure that resource are used for the right thing and plays a significant role in the production process to ensure the team delivers quality output. Below are the functions of operations management.

  • Finance

Operation management’s responsibility is to make sure that the company’s resources are used in the right manner to generate goods that satisfy its customers.

  • Strategy

Operations managers also help in the development of plans or tactics that could lead to the maximization of resources and production of products that gives the company a competitive edge over its competitors.

  • Product Design

It is the operations manager’s responsibility to come up with product design that not only caters to the needs of customers but follows the market trend.

  • Forecasting

Operation management also predicts the performance of products or services in the future. In other words, he critically analyses what customers’ demand for certain products would be in the future.

Importance of Operation Management

The role of the operation manager is to ensure that products or services are always available and reaches customers promptly. He also makes sure that raw materials are transformed successfully into finished products. One importance of operation management is to improve the overall productivity of the business. Resources are also used properly in other to eliminate wastage and boost profit.

To continue, with running a business, try to have an image or an idea that will help you organize your thoughts and ideas into one specific packet. Being apart of the management team, its okay to organize your thoughts and illustrate it out and portray it to other people. One way to help you is the business plan. 

In its simplest form, a business plan is a guide—a roadmap for your business that outlines goals and details how you plan to achieve those goals. If you’ve ever thought about starting a business and written down a few ideas about your business strategy on the back of a napkin, you’ve written a business plan.


Now, to successfully start and run a business, you’ll need more than a sketch on a napkin. Thankfully, modern business planning is simpler, easier, and faster than ever before. Business plans can be as short as one page and are rarely longer than 10 pages.

To give you a clear understanding of what a Business Plan is, here is my example I did from high school. In my high school career, we were given the opportunity to research something we were interested in and I chose starting a new business and becoming an entrepreneur. In this term, I chose to research and learn about business plans about companies. In my case, I have chosen to start a business called NJ Bakehouse. In this business, we are known for bakeries and cupcakes and our wonderful atmosphere and service.

In my business plan, it includes an executive summary of the company, a company description, operations and management, products, services, marketing industry, advertising, competition, locations, loans, and appliances needed for the business and a conclusion. Typically, a business plan ranges from one page to ten pages, it depends on how much you need in your plan and how much detail you want to provide to help you in the future. You can make it short and simple or you can make it creative and understandable.

In a business plan, all of these topics are necessary because essentially, you are planning out your whole plan for the business hence the name. the executive summary clearly states what the business is known for and its goals in the current and future state. The plan identifies and recognizes its competitors in the location it is desired in. As well, in order to run a business, it needs to obtain licenses, sometimes loans to help out, and the purchase of appliances and furniture.  The business plan is essentially your plan in running the business and making it succeed in the future with goods and services. From analyzing results and data, to labor costs, to competition, to operations etc. This business plan will guide you through a starting business. 

I have provided the link for my business plan I did for my bakehouse. You can see my mentality through it, some steps I did in order to reach goals for the future. As well, with the help with my mentor and friend, we were able to complete this business plan together efficiently and effectively. 

Here is the link for an authorized example.

As well, in being apart of the Management Team, it is critical to make positive business decisions that will benefit the company as well improve the management team within. 

Making decisions can be extremely tough especially in the business industry whether it is in a crisis or making a decision in general. Strategize what is the best plan and what is efficient and effective. Consider all the information to help you. Here are some helpful tips to help you make your decision easier and run smoother. 

1. Stay calm/ relaxed 

2. Look/research at your resources 

3. Gather the relevant information 

4. Ask for opinions 

5. Thoroughly think through 

6. Take Action 

7. Learn from your mistake/ success and grow within 

With making business decisions, always remain calm even when there is a crisis. I know this is hard but try to stay calm and relaxed therefore you might make the wrong decision due to anxiety and pressure. Take time to breath and get into the mindset and then make the decision. always look at your resources and see what we can do with the information already given to us. Next, research some more and gather more information to help you! The more information, the better. You can learn more as well as see what others have to offer. As well, always ask for help if needed. Ask around and talk to people that you trust and are reliable for the situation. Asking for their opinion and advice isn't a bad thing. Having another set of eyes and ears is extremely helpful because having their perspective added onto yours, you might learn something. As well, they might have you see things in a different perspective, something that you never even considered. Having help is always an advantage. After having the relevant information in front of you as well as asking for advice, it is time to throughly think strategically.

Leveraging Data across the Extended Enterprise.

Posted by Nancy Zhou on Aug 10, 2019 1:20:52 PM


Can IT and Business Work Together in Harmony?

For years, business executives and IT experts have been at loggerheads with one another. Both work differently albeit for the same goal – ensuring the business stays on track and meets its revenue milestones regularly. However, both speak and utilize different languages and that goal is lost in translation, so to speak.

The main issue lies in the fact that technology plans do not take business realities into account and conversely, business plans over estimate tech capabilities. Nowhere is this more apparent than in data governance and the ownership of that data.

Ownership of data is passed back and forth between both parties - one that is responsible for directing and storing the data via application systems and the other is responsible for reading and using the data to determine business outcomes.

However, are each using data productively? Both IT and Business have distinct pieces of the puzzle that can help their organization meet goals more efficiently and effectively. However, for that to be possible, they have and close that gap in terms of who is responsible for what.

Blended Business Models That Bridge the Gap between Technology and Business Goals

This is what we advocate here at Visible Systems. We understand that no department can work in isolation but it can flourish by collaborating using one of many available enterprise frameworks. resources via collaboration. These frameworks, for example, the Zachman Framework, are no longer only IT-centric as there has been a significant shift that is also focused on the business perspective.

This is where blended solutions come into the picture which emphasize the fact that today technology cannot exist for its sake alone – it has to be tailored to suit the business and the customers.

This has also resulted in blended job titles that focus on the best of both worlds such as business process and enterprise architect teams. While they work on different tasks, both realize that their ultimate goals are the same and to meet them, they have to coordinate their efforts.

One of the best examples of this blended approach is data modeling. Even though business process teams and enterprise architecture teams depend on it, they rely on different levels and use different tools. However, a consolidated approach to data modeling can streamline mutual business plans and ensure reciprocal outcomes.

What role does an Enterprise Architecture play?

Enterprise Architecture helps business management achieve its strategic goals. It supports the company in creating competitive advantage, reduces risks and enhances cost-efficiency and scalability. Mergers and acquisitions, outsourcing and major organizational changes all set additional demands on the flexibility of Enterprise Architecture.

The purpose of Enterprise Architecture Management is to:

  • Provide a long-term view and facilitate the development of the company’s processes, systems and technologies as well as the execution of the business strategy
  • Create, manage and develop a holistic, interconnected model of the enterprise that encompasses processes, information, applications and technology
  • Ensure consistency and enable integration
  • Create, develop and manage a holistic, high-level roadmap of engagements and projects that realize required solutions and to provide a clear path from current state to target state
  • Enable lifecycle management of the solution portfolio

Digitalization has a major impact on Enterprise Architecture, as businesses flow over enterprise boundaries and business solutions expand to cover customers and ecosystems as well. A traditional monolithic architecture becomes complicated to manage and limits creativity inside company boundaries. The IT Standard for Business presents an approach that gives more room for planning the digitalization by integrating business to different ecosystems. The modularity of this approach allows a more agile development of architecture for different business areas.


The elements of Enterprise Architecture.

The major focus of this approach is on the vision, future state and business development of the company, which fall under the Business Architecture layer. The Business Architecture integrates company to various ecosystems, such as customer and partner ecosystems. The company itself is a corporate ecosystem with dependencies between business units and incorporates a business support ecosystem that consists of all vendors and partners related to business support (i.e. HR, Finance, IT, Legal). The vendor ecosystem could, for example, be business subcontractors, component suppliers and service suppliers to name a few. And finally, the partner ecosystem defines the dependencies between business partners, who have a peer role towards the business.

With Enterprise Architecture looking ahead, we also need to look ahead into our current and prospective consumers. Will they stay or will they go? What products will we need to invent in order keep them interested? However good your product or service is, the simple truth is that no-one will buy it if they don't want it or believe they don't need it. And you won't persuade anyone that they want or need to buy what you're offering unless you clearly understand what it is your customers really want.

What can we gleam from an Enterprise Architecture about our Customers?

Knowing and understanding customer needs is at the center of every successful business, whether it sells directly to individuals or other businesses. Once you have this knowledge, you can use it to persuade potential and existing customers that buying from you is in their best interests.

A well planned out and constructed Enterprise Architecture tells you what you need to know about your customers, how to use this information to sell to them more effectively, and how to win business from your competitors.

Why do your customers need you?

Every business needs a reason for their customers to buy from them and not their competitors. This is called a Unique Sales Proposition (USP). Your USP can be identified by completing the phrase "Customers will buy from me because my business is the only..."

Your USP can change as your business or your market changes, and you can have different USPs for different types of customer.

For example:

  • a stationery store could offer a free same-day delivery service for its business customers within a local area - an effective USP for businesses that need fast delivery
  • the same stationery store could offer a 5 per cent discount to businesses that spend more than $1,000 a month - this would be a USP for cost-conscious customers
  • the stationery store could also make sure it offers the most comprehensive stock of artists' materials in the area - a USP for local professional or amateur artists

All of these USPs can be effective because they are driven by what the customer looks for when making a buying decision.

It's a good idea to review your USPs regularly. Can you tailor your products or services to better match your customers' needs? Consider asking your customers why they buy from you. This will tell you what they think your USP is - this may differ from what you think your USP is.

It's also useful to check constantly what your competition is doing. Remember - if your competitors are doing the same, your USP isn't unique any more.

What do you know about your customers?

The more you know about your customers, the more effective your sales and marketing efforts will be. It's well worth making the effort to find out:

  • who they are
  • what they buy
  • why they buy it

If you're selling to other businesses, you'll need to know which individuals are responsible for the decision to buy your product or service. For information on targeting decision-makers, see our guide on how to target the right people in an organisation.

You can learn a great deal about your customers by talking to them. Asking them why they're buying or not buying, what they may want to buy in the future and asking what other needs they have can give a valuable picture of what's important to them.

Strong sales are driven by emphasising the benefits that your product or service brings to your customers. If you know the challenges that face them, it's much easier to offer them solutions.

It's also well worth keeping an eye on future developments in your customers' markets and lives. Knowing the trends that are going to influence your customers helps you to anticipate what they are going to need - and offer it to them as soon as they need it.

You can conduct your own market research and there are many existing reports that can help you build a picture of where your customers' markets - and your business - may be going.

The customer's current supplier

Chances are your potential customer is already buying something similar to your product or service from someone else. Before you can sell to a potential customer, you need to know:

  • who the customer's current supplier is
  • if the customer is happy with their current supplier
  • if buying from you would offer the customer any benefits - and, if so, what those benefits would be

The easiest way to identify a potential customer's current supplier is often simply to ask them. Generally people are very happy to offer this information, as well as an indication of whether they're happy with their present arrangements.

If you can find out what benefits they're looking for, you stand a better chance of being able to sell to them. The benefits may be related to price or levels of service, for example. Are there any benefits your business can offer that are better than those the potential customer already receives? If there are, these should form the basis of any sales approach you make.

Ten things you need to know about your customers

  1. Who they are
    If you sell directly to individuals, find out your customers' gender, age, marital status and occupation. If you sell to other businesses, find out what size and kind of business they are. For example, are they a small private company or a big multinational?
  2. What they do
    If you sell directly to individuals, it's worth knowing their occupations and interests. If you sell to other businesses, it helps to have an understanding of what their business is trying to achieve.
  3. Why they buy
    If you know why customers buy a product or service, it's easier to match their needs to the benefits your business can offer.
  4. When they buy
    If you approach a customer just at the time they want to buy, you will massively increase your chances of success.
  5. How they buy
    For example, some people prefer to buy from a website, while others prefer a face-to-face meeting.
  6. How much money they have
    You'll be more successful if you can match what you're offering to what you know your customer can afford.
  7. What makes them feel good about buying
    If you know what makes them tick, you can serve them in the way they prefer.
  8. What they expect of you
    For example, if your customers expect reliable delivery and you don't disappoint them, you stand to gain repeat business.
  9. What they think about you
    If your customers enjoy dealing with you, they're likely to buy more. And you can only tackle problems that customers have if you know what they are.
  10. What they think about your competitors
    If you know how your customers view your competition, you stand a much better chance of staying ahead of your rivals.

How we at Visible Systems can help you get a better handle on your data.

Data may be formless, but Visible Systems can help you harness it by coordinating those efforts via a common repository that can help business and IT work together without losing the plot so to speak. Our data discovery software is designed to help organizations visualize and understand data effortlessly.

In other words, our solutions enable Business and IT to work using the same data blueprint comprised of business glossaries, data dictionaries, lineage, etc. Our solutions are designed to help professionals like yourself understand the elements of data most relevant to your role for better accuracy, outcomes and productive efficiency. In other words, our tools help business and IT remain on the same page even if they are working separately, remotely or within the same four walls.

Our blended business models and solutions connect profit with sustainability by giving businesses visibility and an understanding of their data. Since all of processes around data are automated, they reduce chances of errors and ensure strategic decisions within reasonable deadlines.

In pure and simple terms, Visible Systems brings IT and business management together via solutions that unlock knowledge and value that is mutually beneficial. This results in improved services, merged and efficient business models and new products/services that can update client perspective for the better. With time our solutions can become a part of your business’s DNA and which can drive it to success without leaving anyone behind.

Next Step:

Read more about how a "unified" perspective of the Enterprise plays a key role in leveraging data and see the article published by the Harvard Business Review on "The Business Case for Curiosity".


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