Operations encompasses a broad range of, well, operations within a business. It varies from business to business and by company stage. Shopify offers a fantastic definition
of operations: Everything that happens within a company to keep it running and earning money.
One great advantage of launching a career in operations is the deep exposure to the ins and outs of how a business actually works. At a company’s earlier stages, it can also mean a lot of facetime with people who make decisions–like the CEO, CFO, and COO, or other executives. And, as a function that focuses on efficiency, this department tends to run lean–which offers ample opportunity early in a company’s life cycle to wear different hats.
For the most part, operations can encompass everything from finance, accounting, human resources, and IT to system administration. In some organizations, customer or technical support also live in the operations organization. As companies get bigger, many of the departments that once lived in the operations function tend to split off into their own separate functions.
Operations prioritizes several distinct elements:
• Business processes:
the way departments and teams function together, administering systems and infrastructure, and more
• Human capital management:
staffing, recruitment, training and development, and more
• Office management:
day-to-day operations at a headquarters, vendor management, and more
• Asset management:
choosing a company's technology, equipment, and more
Regardless of the specific department within operations, the foundational skill sets that apply to each of these functions are a great baseline for your career–even if you take a different path later in life.