BizOps at SEP

June 16, 2020

You may have heard of BizOps as a business function, but there’s a good chance you aren’t sure exactly what that looks like day-to-day, or specifically how that plays out at a custom software consultancy like SEP. This post will give you a glimpse into what BizOps looks like for us.

The History of BizOps at SEP

BizOps at SEP began as a business internship program. The first class of business interns (or “bizterns,” as we like to call them) started helping us take on business intelligence, process improvement, and engagement support tasks in 2011.

We started the biztern program knowing that we wouldn’t have full-time jobs to offer them at the end of the summer, but the tasks bizterns worked on evolved into more permanent needs of SEP.

Emily Murray joined our second class of bizterns in 2012. In 2016, she returned to SEP full-time as our Client Engagement Coordinator (and now Business Operations Specialist).

In 2019, Maddie Beadle joined SEP as a Business Operations Analyst through Orr Fellowship.

Jess Jewett joined SEP as a biztern in the fall of 2019 and then was hired on full-time as our Data Analyst.

What is BizOps, anyway?

There’s no one-size-fits-all definition of BizOps because the function looks a little different from organization to organization. However, one broad description that most BizOps teams agree on is that BizOps is a support mechanism for the business. This means helping with everything from optimizing day-to-day operations to carrying out prioritized initiatives to tackling important strategic questions.

Dan Yoo at Coinbase explains in this article that “BizOps offers a view into all corners of a business, along with the opportunity to carry projects from conception to implementation, take on new challenges and have a major impact on the company’s future.”

In another article, Yoo explains, “There’s no “typical” day for a BizOps professional. Team members may shadow co-workers, interview outside experts, develop skills like Python and SQL proficiency, analyze data, lead a brainstorming session, write up a strategic plan, design and monitor pilot projects, conduct postmortems on projects, formulate and monitor key performance indicators, synthesize best practices, interview candidates — or just block off time to think about how to break immense challenges down into manageable chunks.”

At SEP, the BizOps team helps connect different areas of the business, improve processes through insights on our data, and continuously level up our customer experience.

Our categories of work

We’ve broken our work into five categories to paint a clearer picture of what BizOps looks like for us at SEP. Those categories are:

Sometimes our work fits into multiple categories at once, and sometimes it’s focused on one specific category.

Here are some examples of projects we’ve worked on and how they fit into each category.

  • Creating a dashboard on project health = Seeing Around Corners
  • Finding and fixing inconsistencies in reporting data = Seeing Around Corners + Fixing Broken Windows
  • Writing case studies (like this one) = Telling a Better Story
  • Creating an experience report for a client on a workshop = Telling a Better Story + Supporting Engagements
  • Facilitating and planning our CX Skill Development Program = Leveling Up CX
  • Revamping our visitor sign-in process = Fixing Broken Windows + Leveling Up CX
  • Improving our processes for gathering customer feedback = Fixing Broken Windows + Leveling Up CX

We each focus specifically on a few of our five categories of work, but our work often bleeds into other buckets as we collaborate. Emily and Maddie focus on Telling a Better Story, Supporting Engagements, and Leveling Up CX. Jess focuses on Seeing Around Corners. We all Fix Broken Windows whenever we can.

SEP’s BizOps Team

There are four of us on SEP’s BizOps team: Mike, Emily, Maddie, and Jess.

Most summers, we add one or two bizterns to the team. This summer, Julia and Jaala are our awesome bizterns!

Our Vision

Our vision is to support SEP! Whether that looks like lightening our project teams’ loads by streamlining a process or helping them improve their customer’s experience by thinking through ways to engage with their customer better and holding them accountable, we’re here to help.