What really is a Business Operating System?

What is a business operating system

Business Operating System (BOS) is essentially the framework that helps you manage all aspects of running a business – from operations, finance, HR, to client relations. Each business OS has its own philosophy – how to execute processes, recommend different communication styles, propose how to measure KPIs, and analyze important data… however, all of these systems have one main goal: to enhance productivity and support informed decision-making within an organization.

Btw, this article is not AI generated. We used AI for grammar check only.

The formal definition

Let’s get the formal definition out of the way first, so that we can focus on the more important things regarding the breakdown of what a business operating system is and why it is important for every company and organization that wants to operate without stress…

By Wikipedia’s definition, Business Operating System (BOS) refers to the “standard, enterprise-wide collection of business processes used in many deiversified industrial companies“.

The article also states that business operating systems can also be refered to as business OS, production system, management operating system… To give examples, some of the most well-known operating systems in the world are:

  • Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS): A set of simple concepts and practical tools used by a lot of companies to clarify, simplify, and achieve their vision.
  • Toyota Production System (TPS): A pioneering framework by Toyota focusing on manufacturing efficiency.
  • Danaher Business System (DBS): Danaher’s approach to operational improvement.
  • Fortive Business System (FBS): Derived from DBS after Fortive split from Danaher in 2016.
  • Ingersoll Rand BOS: Defines six focus areas and emphasizes Lean Six Sigma for process improvement.
  • Honeywell Operating System (HOS): Honeywell’s methodology for operational excellence.
  • Magellan Operating System (Magellan Aerospace): Tailored system for productivity and decision-making in aerospace.

The simpler version

In Layman’s terms, a business operating system is just a fancy term used by management people to explain all of the ongoing business operations, practices and rules that define how a company really works. If we apply even further simplification: a BOS is actually the manual that helps everyone in a company know how to do their jobs the right way – a guide on how to work together, keep track of money, and assure everyone is on the same page.

Or as we at Aqtos like to say:

Considering the above, and keeping the narrative simple, it can be argued that every company and business out there has some form of a business operating system within its organization. They might not explicitly label it as such or even realize that their standard way of operating forms a business operating system. However, their methods for task execution, financial management, business vision, and handling of personnel and clients align with the principles of a customized business operating system. It might not be perfect, but it still functions as a type of business OS.

Here is a good illustration of good vs bad business operating systems:

business operator with good BOSbusiness operator with bad BOS

Why is a business operating system important?

The problem with this unaware usage of a business system is that people, especially founders, business owners and decision makers are constantly under a lot of stress, and often change their opinions and moods which affects how they run things within the business on a daily basis. For example, a business operator can get emotional easily when a direct competitor executes certain things before them, and might prioretize tasks and company direction just for a speedy fight with the competition on an ego-boosting principle, while forgetting the core operational system that actually helps the company stay sane and make money.

This kind of improvisational operating principle affects the business in many ways, and it strongly affects the people culture and their overall productivity, also the vision of the company which makes future planning hard, as well as complicates money management and the ultimate business goal: profitability.

To avoid this kind of shift in direction and to stay in control, management wisdom requires that a company implement a structured set of rules that ultimately create the business operating system for its daily operations.

To understand the importance of why your company needs some ground rules, consider the following scenario:

  • You are the coach of an NBA team (pick your fav).
  • To have a good performing team you have to give them a set of rules for daily operations such as: when does the team come to practice, who plays which position, which team members are first crew, which ones are substitutes, what they need to work on every practice in order to improve, etc.
  • To win that championship, you also need to have a proper playbook that utilizes your team’s strenghts and as well covers some scenarios like who shoots if the clock is only 3s, who blocks etc…

So, now substitute the following terms in the above example:

  • NBA team = the company/organization,
  • coach = the founder/manager/business operator,
  • team = all the people in the organization,
  • practice = daily tasks that keep the company profitable and move it forward on its vision path,
  • championship = that end of year P&L statement that tells a business owner how much money are left on the table,
  • the playbook = the written (or unwritten) rules/procedures of how the business operates.

Having set of processes and a well-tought system that supports your company’s operations is key to success. No doubt.

Meet the BOSS*

Operating a business on gut-feelings and improvisational tactics that sometime work and sometimes don’t, shouldn’t be a case in 2024, especially when we have an ongoing AI revolution. Wheter you are an experienced entreprenuer or a startup founder fresh out of school, the importance of having a good business OS cannot be overstated. It is the core of your business operations. It will help you a lot.

Because implementing a business operating system in a company is not a small task, at Aqtos, we spent years creating an opinionated SaaS product that actually simplifies the implementation a business OS within a company. And we believe can help many small and mid-sized businesses and organizations out there implement a business OS backed by data and AI that can make their lifes much easier and improve productivity and profitability.

We created our first product, called the BOSS* – Business Operating System as a Service, that focuses on 5 core principles a good business OS should take into consideration:

  • WORK,
  • MONEY,
  • OFFICE and

Our logic is that the best business operating system for a company is the one that gives you the results you want, acts proactively, while helping you complete your WORK projects and tasks on time and without stress, the one that keeps your clients and employees (PEOPLE) sane and productive… and that helps you make MONEY, while having an organized OFFICE operations supported by proper TECHNOLOGY in the meantime.

tnx for reading.

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Damjan Dano

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