Dedicated Business Systems (BizSys) teams are a relatively new concept, so understandably, there needs to be a clear delineation between IT, BizSys, and RevOps teams.
These teams often work in concert to ensure that the organization can perform at its highest.
Rich Archbold wrote a phenomenal article on the lessons learned as he transitioned into a Business Systems role. This post will focus on the roles and responsibilities and where the team fits in the larger enterprise.
The idea of business systems teams can be traced back to the days of adding machines, typewriters, and early computing systems. Essentially, if a business had started adopting new third-party technologies in the enterprise, a business systems team was there.
As businesses grew more complex and began adopting more advanced technology solutions, they realized they needed dedicated teams to manage and maintain these systems. In the 1960s and 1970s, companies created dedicated Information Systems (IS) departments to manage their technology solutions.
During this time, IS departments focused primarily on managing mainframe computer systems and other large-scale technology solutions. The role of these teams was to ensure that these systems were running smoothly and meeting the organization’s needs.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the focus of business systems teams shifted towards more specialized applications, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. These systems were designed to help organizations manage specific business processes, such as sales and inventory management.
These systems were primarily installed on-premise and required the support of IT teams to maintain the infrastructure these platforms ran on. This is where BizSys reported to IT to coordinate the build with maintenance.
As technology continued to evolve in the 2000s and beyond, the role of business systems teams also continued to evolve. Today, business systems teams manage a wide range of technology solutions, including everything from cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) applications to complex enterprise systems.
In recent years, the role of business systems teams has also expanded to include data management and analysis. With the explosion of data generated by technology solutions, business systems teams are increasingly responsible for managing and analyzing data to help organizations make better business decisions.
Overall, the history of business systems teams reflects the evolution of technology in business. As technology solutions have become more complex and specialized, enterprises have realized the need for dedicated teams to manage and maintain these systems.
Today, business systems teams are critical in helping organizations use technology to improve their operations and drive business success.
The role of Business Systems has always existed, but with different motivations. In the days of installed and on-premise software, dedicated teams were needed for infrastructure, database, and application management.
Historically, the function of Business Systems was under IT, which had a reputation as a blocking function.
This is why we saw the rise of “Shadow IT.” Shadow IT is any application purchased and maintained by teams other than IT.
This Shadow IT drove many efficiencies but opened doors for security risks and duplicated spending across the organization.
This resulted in the growth of RevOps teams. Teams that think outside the box and automate, with a significant focus on business function but with less emphasis on technical abilities.
We saw the rise of siloed software for each function imaginable. SaaS sprawl became a real thing. But, with easy-to-configure and implement solutions, it made sense.
The rise of native integrations and no-code workflows skyrocketed. We saw Zapier and Workato enter the market and dominate. Easy ways to prototype without worrying about the “red tape” of typical IT teams.
Challenges with the prior model
With decentralized management, we saw an increase in duplicative software purchases.
Organizations ended up with multiple platforms that served the same function and required extra maintenance. No economies of scale from a purchasing standpoint could be reached.
Due to the non-technical nature of some teams, if a platform didn’t have a native integration or a Zapier connector, integration stopped there.
We could extend other platforms and drive automation inter-SaaS. Still, it was a disincentive for some competing platforms to introduce native connectors.
We also lost oversight of what existed in the organization. Where exactly is our data? Are we able to handle GDPR or CCPA?
The team should have provided air traffic control to see the larger picture and introduce change. Silos started to arise, similar to the IT way. Groups naturally became siloed, focusing on their needs and touchpoints with others.
Enter Business Systems
Business Systems entered the chat prepared with two skillsets: strong technical experience and business acumen.
While the business acumen is less than that of an SME performing the role, a successful BizSys team can speak the same language and understand where their stakeholder is coming from.
Armed with a technical toolkit, these teams know how to integrate and automate across stacks.
With a centralized structure, they understand the big picture. They can identify trends across the enterprise and more than just one team.
The key responsibilities of a business systems team are to design, implement, and maintain the technology and processes that support an organization’s operations. This includes a range of activities, such as:
- Analyzing business processes: The business systems team is responsible for analyzing business processes to identify areas where technology solutions can improve efficiency, reduce costs, or enhance customer service.
- Identifying technology solutions: Based on the analysis of business processes, the business systems team identifies the most appropriate technology solutions to meet the organization’s needs and requirements. They evaluate available solutions, recommend changes to existing systems, and design new systems as needed.
- Project management: The business systems team manages technology projects from start to finish, ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget. They develop project plans, allocate resources, manage risks, and communicate progress to stakeholders.
- Solution development: The business systems team works closely with developers and engineers to design and implement technology solutions that meet the organization’s needs. They ensure that the solutions are appropriately integrated into the existing technology landscape and that they are secure, scalable, and easy to maintain.
- Testing and quality assurance: The business systems team is responsible for testing technology solutions to ensure they function as intended. They develop test plans and procedures, execute tests, and report on results. They work closely with developers and engineers to identify and resolve issues.
- Training and support: The business systems team provides training and support to end-users, ensuring they have the skills and knowledge needed to use technology solutions effectively. They also provide technical support to end-users, responding to issues, troubleshooting problems, and providing guidance on best practices.
The team’s ultimate goal is to enable the organization to operate more efficiently, effectively, and competitively.
Challenges with Business Systems
Business systems teams face a range of challenges in their work. Some of the most common challenges include the following:
- Keeping up with new technology: Technological change is accelerating. Business systems teams must keep up with recent technology trends and developments. This can be a significant challenge, particularly in industries where technology is rapidly evolving.
- Balancing competing demands: Business systems teams must balance the needs and requirements of different departments within the organization. This can be challenging because other departments may have conflicting priorities or requirements.
- Ensuring data security: Business systems teams must ensure the organization’s data is secure and protected from unauthorized access. This can be particularly challenging in industries where data privacy regulations are strict, and the consequences of a data breach can be severe.
- Managing complexity: As organizations grow and evolve, their technology landscape becomes increasingly complex. Business systems teams must manage this complexity, ensuring that different systems and applications work together seamlessly.
- Integrating legacy systems: Many organizations have legacy systems that are difficult to integrate with newer technology solutions. Business systems teams must find ways to incorporate these legacy systems with newer technology, often requiring creative solutions.
- Ensuring user adoption: Technology solutions are only effective if end-users adopt and use them effectively. Business systems teams must ensure that end-users have the skills and knowledge to use technology solutions effectively and provide ongoing support to ensure user adoption.
- Managing change: Technology projects often require significant changes to business processes, and change management can be a considerable challenge. Business systems teams must manage change effectively, ensuring stakeholders are engaged and informed. The organization can adapt to new processes and systems.
Overall, business systems teams face a range of challenges in their work. They must stay current with new technology trends, balance competing demands, ensure data security, manage complexity, integrate legacy systems, ensure user adoption, and manage change effectively.
Successfully addressing these challenges requires a combination of technical expertise, business acumen, and strong communication and collaboration skills.
Structure of Business Systems Teams
The structure of a business systems team can vary depending on the size and complexity of the organization. However, most teams will have several key roles and responsibilities.
- Business Systems Analysts: Business systems analysts are responsible for analyzing business processes and identifying areas where technology solutions can improve efficiency, reduce costs, or enhance customer service. They work closely with stakeholders to understand their needs and requirements and identify the most appropriate technology solutions to meet those needs.
- Project Managers: Project managers oversee technology projects from start to finish. They manage resources, budgets, timelines, and risks to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. They work closely with business systems analysts and other team members to ensure that projects are aligned with the organization’s goals and objectives.
- Developers and Engineers: Developers and engineers are responsible for building and implementing technology solutions. They work closely with business systems analysts to ensure solutions meet the organization’s needs and requirements. They also maintain and update technology systems to remain up-to-date and secure.
- Quality Assurance Analysts: Quality assurance analysts are responsible for testing technology solutions to ensure they function as intended. They develop test plans and procedures, execute tests, and report on results. They work closely with developers and engineers to identify and resolve issues.
- Technical Support: Technical support is responsible for providing support to end-users. This includes responding to issues, troubleshooting problems, and providing guidance on best practices. They work closely with business systems analysts and developers to ensure that end-users have the support they need to use technology solutions effectively.
- Data Analysts: Data analysts are responsible for analyzing data and providing insights that help the organization make informed decisions. They work closely with business systems analysts and other team members to identify data sources and develop reports and dashboards that provide insights into key performance indicators.
In addition to these roles, some business systems teams may have specialized positions, such as cybersecurity experts, database administrators, or cloud architects.
Overall, the structure of a business systems team should be designed to support the organization’s goals and objectives. Team members should have the necessary skills and qualifications to effectively plan, implement, and maintain technology solutions that support the organization’s and its stakeholders’ needs. Effective communication and collaboration between team members are essential for success.
Business Systems teams are a force multiplier of any organization, but they still face many challenges in achieving their objectives.
To be successful, organizations must invest in support of their third party platforms, such as their CRM or ERP, and ensure these teams receive the appropriate budget and staffing levels for their importance in the business.