The principal benefit of good web operations is stability.
Get them right and you can take it for granted that things will (or should) always work, i.e. the right people in the right roles will follow the right processes to complete important tasks in a timely manner.
To build good operations you first need to know the Scale of your online presence.
Scale is a measure of the Size, Complexity and levels of Engagement of a website, intranet, portal or any other online service. Learn lots more about Scale and how to use it to build stable management.
When you know the Scale of your site, you can estimate how much to invest in manpower, skills, tools, technology, etc, to maintain minimum quality. For instance:
- Got a simple brochureware website with low content volumes and little traffic? A one-man web operation with basic tools and informal process is probably enough.
- Look after a giant corporate site with interactive services and complex technology? Don't kid yourself. You're going to need lots of skilled people, advanced tools, formal development processes and a big budget.
Despite these difference in Scale, you should notice that the basic categories of resource on both a big and small site are essentially the same, i.e. people, processes, tools, etc. The only thing that changes is the sophistication and level of spend involved.
For example, consider two businesses at opposite ends of the online spectrum: Mom-n-Pop's Diner vs. MegaCorp
Mom-n-Pop's Diner vs. MegaCorp
Mom-n-Pop's website is very simple.
It's composed of a couple of dozen pages of brochureware content, i.e. text and images, with a few downloads. Because it is aimed at their local community, it's not very busy and is mainly used to publicise opening hours and special offers.
MegaCorp, in contrast, operates a wide suite of websites, apps and social networking presences. Each contains large volumes of sophisticated, interactive content for diverse audiences and attract millions of visitors per month.
The difference in Scale between Mom-n-Pop's Diner and MegaCorp is obvious. Yet, both rely on the same categories of resource (i.e. people, processes, tools, etc) to make things work. Again, the only difference is the sophistication and spend involved.
For instance, Mom-n-Pop's web operations simply involve appointing their son Junior as "Webmaster" and asking him to look after things using a few freeware tools and a couple of hundred dollars a month.
Based on the Scale of their website, such a Jack-Of-All-Trades Webmaster with broad (but basic) skills in code, design and content is more than adequate.
In contrast, MegaCorp requires lots of skilled people (designers, techies, writers, etc) organised into teams with clear responsibilities and supervised by several Web/Product Managers. In addition, they require many expensive and specialist tools, and a large budget to support operations.
How to maintain stability as you grow in Scale
So the difference between a small and large Scale web operation is clear. What's not always so clear is how to transition from one to the other.
For example, let's imagine that Mom-n-Pop grows from a local diner into a regional restaurant giant, and its online presence expands hugely.
Not only do more and more people engage with Mom-n-Pop online but lots more content is published (including on new regional sites), a new online ordering service/app is set up, active Twitter and Instagram accounts are in place and Junior (the incumbent 'webmaster') is under constant pressure to deliver more and more online.
Every factor of Scale (size, complexity and engagement) is increasing massively and ultimately the strain on Junior becomes too much.
He simply does not have the time or the skills to do everything needed. He needs more people, more skills, more tools, better processes, a bigger budget and an enhanced web governance and management system to maintain operational stability and achieve his web goals.
To avoid an inevitable collapse, Junior (with the support of Mom-n-Pop's senior management team) must somehow transform their web operations so that high quality work can continue to be produced in a predictable and repeatable way.
Follow Junior's progress in my new videos
Over the next few weeks, I'll be publishing some new videos on YouTube that explain how Junior can meet this challenge of transformation.
These videos will build on the solution to Junior's growth problems as already explained in my Masterclass Training Tutorials and include extra tips and techniques for success.
In the meantime, you can get the full story of Junior's project of transformation straightaway by downloading the Masterclass tutorials and other supports.
Watch the introductory video to the Masterclass tutorials below.
All the insights in the Masterclass are based on examples I have gathered from web leaders such as GOV.uk in the government sector, RMIT in higher education, Starbucks in private enterprise, as well as research from institutions like the Harvard Kennedy School ('Digital Transformation in Government') and firms like Cap Gemini and Altimeter.
Read more practical advice....
About Shane Diffily
I am an experienced commentator on web operations. In 2015, I released the web's first online training course in website management and governance. Back in 2006 I published the Website Manager's Handbook, the original guide to online operations.