Bridging the ops divide

Bridging the ops divide

Benoit, Co-founder and CEO

26 Apr 2024

Have you ever felt like your team is stuck in the mud, with endless bottlenecks, miscommunications, and busywork piling up and slowing you down? Maybe the marketing team is spending too much time manually segmenting customer data. Or the sales team's brilliant product requests get lost in translation when relaying them to engineering. Even finance have to wait for developers to customise their management systems for simple reporting needs.

Although the specifics can differ, the root causes are often the same: excessive maintenance work, overdependence on tech teams, and a lack of shared technical understanding. In turn, this leads to an unbridgeable divide between the operational realities of getting work done and the technical capabilities needed to streamline processes. It’s a common cycle of frustration that plagues teams across every part of a business.

The good news? When you peel back the layers, every team is essentially an ops team, driving towards the same outcome: smooth, adaptable internal operations. And that shared operational DNA points the way to common solutions.

3 Top Challenges for Ops Teams

1. Busywork and maintenance

When teams find themselves bogged down in routine tasks and system upkeep, it diverts focus from more impactful work.

Finance teams waste countless hours each month manually consolidating data from various systems into spreadsheets for cash flow analysis and forecasting models. This time-consuming, error-prone data wrangling prevents the team from focusing on strategic planning and analysis, such as optimising investment strategies or developing useful financial models.

Busywork hampers business operations, dragging down productivity and morale.


  1. How much of your team's time is consumed by routine tasks that could potentially be automated?

  2. Are there specific recurring tasks that significantly slow down progress or innovation?

  3. What impact does busywork have on your team's ability to engage in high-value tasks?

2. Dependency on technical teams

Operational teams are often trapped in a vicious cycle of dependence on engineering for essential internal tool development and streamlining of routine tasks. As the backlog grows, the engineering team is overwhelmed, further compounding bottlenecks that threaten to derail operations.

For example, a sales ops team at a SaaS company needs custom reports and dashboards to accurately forecast revenue. But they’re constantly filing tickets to engineering for even minor changes to metrics or visualisations. Because the developers prioritise customer-facing product work over internal tooling, this creates a massive bottleneck for the sales team, ultimately impacting their numbers and the company's growth.

Is dependence on technical teams creating dangerous bottlenecks for you? Consider:

  1. How much does your team's productivity depend on technical support for routine tasks?

  2. How does dependency on technical teams affect ability to respond to customer needs?

3. Communication breakdowns

When it comes to inter-team communication, failing to establish a common language among different parts of a business - especially between technical and non-technical teams - is a big problem. It breeds miscommunication, confusion, and frustration.

Imagine a business intelligence (BI) team that provides strategic data-driven insights and visualisations across the company. The analysts tend to use industry jargon and terminology, while non-technical execs tend to speak in broad, high-level terms. As such, BI deliverables often miss the mark, wasting valuable time and resources while answers to critical business questions go unanswered.


  1. How often do miscommunications lead to delays or errors in projects?

  2. Are there established processes in place for ensuring clear, accessible communication across all team members?

  3. Have efforts been made to create a common language across different departments and levels of technical ability?

The Solutions

Fortunately, there are solutions to these operational challenges for any team. The key is to embrace an operational mindset, develop a shared language, and remove barriers to rapid technical iteration.

Embrace an operational mindset

Every team is essentially an ops team, in that it must make sure that specific, internal operations run smoothly. Being aware of this fact is an important first step, because it means that every team can embrace an operational mindset.

What do we mean by an operational mindset? When a team thinks operationally, they recognise the importance of efficiency and streamlined processes in all their tasks. This involves automating routine work, equipping all team members with the tools and knowledge to handle tasks more independently, and prioritising clear, effective communication across all levels of the organisation.

Develop a shared language

The operational mindset is only possible with a common language around technology and data that all team members can understand, regardless of technical background or lack thereof. Creating a shared language means that, at a minimum, all team members are able to understand how data and applications are designed and structured, without an excessive amount of technical background knowledge. Ideally, a team’s tools blur the lines between natural language and code — examples of this include the use of schema-based systems and infrastructure-as-code. This ensures that all team members are on the same page, reducing misunderstandings, streamlining project execution, and distributing responsibility and knowledge across teams.

Enable rapid technical iteration

Enabling rapid technical iteration allows for rapid responses to changing business needs and seamless introduction of new features or fixes, significantly reducing the time spent on development cycles.

This is closely dependent on the other two solutions. Embracing an operational mindset involves automating routine work and reducing dependency on tech teams, both of which lower the barriers to rapid technical iteration. Likewise, developing a shared language promotes rapid technical iteration by removing development bottlenecks. Technical iteration can be streamlined by using no-code or low-code tools that don’t require a computer science degree to use.

What Keel offers

Addressing these operational challenges is essential if you’re going to be successful. By embracing shared communication around data and technology, enabling rapid technical iteration, and prioritising the operational perspective, organisations pave the way for a more collaborative and flexible development process.

Keel fosters a shared language and model through its data-centric, schema-based system. This model not only allows non-technical team members to understand the data and create apps built on that data, but also streamlines project execution by reducing misunderstandings and making project requirements clearer.

Keel enables rapid technical iteration, allowing developers to swiftly adapt and implement new features or modifications. This is achieved through Keel's comprehensive tooling and APIs, including:

These features allow for quick transitions between development and integration with existing operations, ensuring that all businesses can respond quickly to changing needs without compromising on security or operational integrity.

Crucially, Keel is designed with ops in mind, simplifying backend management and automating internal tool generation. This approach ensures that ops teams can efficiently manage and execute tasks, like user authentication and background job management, without needing in-depth technical knowledge. By maximising operational efficiencies and project outcomes, Keel can make sure that your team moves forward in unison.

To learn more about how Keel works, check out our documentation.

Together, we build world-class products

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Together, we build world-class products

Join the waiting list for early access to Keel

Together, we build world-class products

Join the waiting list for early access to Keel