business-engineer

What Is A Business Engineer? The Rise Of Business Engineering

A Business Engineer is a hybrid between a business administration and technology expert, a person with the business acumen and engineering abilities to understand a complex organization and devise solutions and work as a liaison between commercial and technical teams.

A glance at the Business Engineering world

At its core, a business engineer is a hybrid between a business person and an engineer. The business engineer is someone with the understanding of how the business world works ad macro level, combined with how organisms function at a micro level, that can architecture solutions based on several key elements.

As pointed out in Osterle, H. (1995), Business in the Information Age

The business engineering concept enables the transformation of enterprises from the industrial age into the information age by means of procedure models, methods, and tools

Some of the key elements comprising business engineering require a deep understanding of several disciplines and areas:

  • Business model
  • Business processes
  • Organizational structure
  • Digitalization
  • Information process and technologies
  • The interaction between people and technologies within organizations

In one of its vacancies for Business Intelligence Engineer Amazon defines it as someone that can help “improve and define the best way of doing things throughout the company using the power of your analysis, technical skills, and business acumen.”

While this particular role is focused on improving internal processes to “identify opportunities to improve and optimize ship costs.” 

As pointed out by Amazon “the successful candidate will be able to retrieve, integrate, visualize and present critical data in a format that is immediately useful to improve the business decision-making process.”

A discipline between business administration and technology

Business engineering is a discipline in between business administration and technology. As more and more organizations are innovated by combining technological product and processes with remixing old and new business model patterns, it becomes critical to understand and drive those processes.

A business engineer is a manager that can guide companies through hard decisions by looking at quantitative data, navigating ambiguity and reducing the noise where needed. Some of the disciplines part of business engineering are:

A business engineer is a hybrid between a commercial and technical role. It can work as a liaison between commercial and technical teams to device complex solutions to its organizations or other companies for which the business engineer partners with.

What tasks a business engineer performs?

Some of the job descriptions from Indeed and LinkedIn say:

Developing sales and service with regional and global accounts, supporting Account Managers and business development. Driving sales-related activities, implementing customer projects such as product and prototype selections, costing, pricing, quotations, preparation for serial production, and logistics setups.

For instance, among the task required:

  • Interacting with customers and consulting with Account Managers providing technical and commercial support
  • Applying financial analysis to evaluate business opportunities
  • Coordinating and driving customer-related and internal projects and activities
  • Supporting and training the organization in technical, commercial and market-oriented tasks
  • Handling claims with internal partners and managing quality control

On a position for Business Intelligence Engineer Amazon points out:

  • Design, develop and maintain scaled, automated, user-friendly systems, reports, dashboards, etc. that will support business needs
  • Partner with operations/business teams to consult, develop and implement KPI’s, automated reporting/process solutions and data infrastructure improvements to meet business needs
  • Apply deep analytic and business intelligence skill to extract meaningful insight and learning from large and complicated data sets
  • Serve as liaison between the Business and technical teams to achieve the goal of providing actionable insights into current business performance, and ad hoc investigations into future improvements or innovations. This will require data gathering and manipulation, synthesis and modeling, problem-solving, and communication of insights and recommendations

What kind of background, education, and experience do you need to become a business engineer?

For some of the open vacancies for Business Engineer, the required background is:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical or Chemical Engineering or comparable technical field.
  • Preferably up to 3 years’ experience in technical sales and knowledge of heat transfer and thermodynamics
  • Advanced Microsoft Office with an understanding of calculation tools.
  • Experience of CRM/ERP systems is an advantage

Skills:

  • Enjoy working in an international environment
  • Proactive, positive, and target-oriented team player with a keen interest in technical and commercial matters
  • Very strongly customer-oriented
  • Strong networker with good interpersonal skills and the ability to cooperate and communicate with many different layers and cultures

Those, of course, are just some of the skills required. Those will widely vary from organization to organization.

How much does a business engineer make?

According to PayScale, the average yearly pay for a Business Engineer is $67,429. The total pay goes from $35,479 – $83,845 based on salary and bonus. 
 

By running a search on Glassdoor for Business Engineer, the average salary can go from $64k per year for smaller organizations to senior Business Intelligence Engineer at eBay and Facebook, for $117k and $140k of yearly base salary respectively.

A new discipline? 

Business Engineering as a foundational discipline of the FourWeekMBA Curriculum

business-engineering-fourweekmba

I argue that the next step to the evolution of business innovation is that of Business Engineering, usually intended as a person using technology to build technical processes within the organization.

However, in the FourWeekMBA view, the Business Engineer is a hybrid between an entrepreneur, a customer-centered business designer, and a business analyst, able to prevent false patterns, thus growing the business with a mixture of intuition, business acumen, testing, and experimentation.

While for many, business engineering is something more technical connected to attaching technology to business processes.

To me, that is more conceptual, and it stands for an understanding of the business world that comes from various disciplines. 

In fact, the business engineer borrows experimentation from business modeling:

Business-Model-Experimentation
Where scientists use labs to test their hypotheses through experimentation. Entrepreneurs build business model experiments to test their business ideas in the real world.

It borrows a customer-centered approach from design thinking:

design-thinking
Tim Brown, Executive Chair of IDEO, defined design thinking as “a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” Therefore, desirability, feasibility, and viability are balanced to solve critical problems.

At the same time, it brings it to the next level with customer obsession:

customer-obsession
Customer obsession goes beyond quantitative and qualitative data about customers, and it moves around customers’ feedback to gather valuable insights. Those insights start with the entrepreneur’s wandering process, driven by hunch, gut, intuition, curiosity, and a builder mindset. The product discovery moves around a building, reworking, experimenting, and iterating loop.

And all of that, while understanding the distribution model:

distribution-channels
A distribution channel is the set of steps it takes for a product to get in the hands of the key customer or consumer. Distribution channels can be direct or indirect. Distribution can also be physical or digital, depending on the kind of business and industry.

And financial model:

financial-modeling
Financial modeling involves the analysis of accounting, finance, and business data to predict future financial performance. Financial modeling is often used in valuation, which consists of estimating the value in dollar terms of a company based on several parameters. Some of the most common financial models comprise discounted cash flows, the M&A model, and the CCA model.

But most of all, the business engineer understands the difference between linear and non-linear thinking and knows when to apply one or the other:

lateral-thinking
Lateral thinking is a business strategy that involves approaching a problem from a different direction. The strategy attempts to remove traditionally formulaic and routine approaches to problem-solving by advocating creative thinking, therefore finding unconventional ways to solve a known problem. This sort of non-linear approach to problem-solving, can at times, create a big impact.

Indeed, the business engineer knows that in a context of continuous, linear improvement, linear thinking might work:

continuous-innovation
That is a process that requires a continuous feedback loop to develop a valuable product and build a viable business model. Continuous innovation is a mindset where products and services are designed and delivered to tune them around the customers’ problems and not the technical solution of its founders.

But also how to drive breakthrough innovation:

innovation-theory
The innovation loop is a methodology/framework derived from the Bell Labs, which produced innovation at scale throughout the 20th century. They learned how to leverage a hybrid innovation management model based on science, invention, engineering, and manufacturing at scale. By leveraging individual genius, creativity, and small/large groups.

In what I like to call technological modeling or barbelling

technological-modeling
Technological modeling is a discipline to provides the basis for companies to sustain innovation, thus developing incremental products. While also looking at breakthrough innovative products that can pave the way for long-term success. In a sort of Barbell Strategy, technological modeling suggests having a two-sided approach, on the one hand, to keep sustaining continuous innovation as a core part of the business model. On the other hand, it places bets on future developments that have the potential to break through and take a leap forward.

So that business innovation isn’t driven anymore in siloed departments, but the walls between product and marketing/distribution are wrecked, to create bottom-up growth

Financial Modeling

competitor-analysis
It’s possible to identify the key players that overlap with a company’s business model with a competitor analysis. This overlapping can be analyzed in terms of key customers, technologies, distribution, and financial models. When all those elements are analyzed, it is possible to map all the facets of competition for a tech business model to understand better where a business stands in the marketplace and its possible future developments.

Business Analysis

business-analysis
Business analysis is a research discipline that helps driving change within an organization by identifying the key elements and processes that drive value. Business analysis can also be used in Identifying new business opportunities or how to take advantage of existing business opportunities to grow your business in the marketplace.

Business Modeling

business-model-innovation
Business model innovation is about increasing the success of an organization with existing products and technologies by crafting a compelling value proposition able to propel a new business model to scale up customers and create a lasting competitive advantage. And it all starts by mastering the key customers.

 

fourweekmba-business-model-framework
An effective business model has to focus on two dimensions: the people dimension and the financial dimension. The people dimension will allow you to build a product or service that is 10X better than existing ones and a solid brand. The financial dimension will help you develop proper distribution channels by identifying the people that are willing to pay for your product or service and make it financially sustainable in the long run.

 

business-strategy
A business strategy is a deliberate plan that helps a business to achieve a long-term vision and mission by drafting a business model to execute that business strategy. A business strategy, in most cases, doesn’t follow a linear path, and execution will help shape it along the way.

Technological Modeling

technological-modeling
Technological modeling is a discipline to provide the basis for companies to sustain innovation, thus developing incremental products. While also looking at breakthrough innovative products that can pave the way for long-term success. In a sort of Barbell Strategy, technological modeling suggests having a two-sided approach, on the one hand, to keep sustaining continuous innovation as a core part of the business model. On the other hand, it places bets on future developments that have the potential to break through and take a leap forward.

Revenue Modeling

revenue-modeling
Revenue modeling is a process of incorporating a sustainable financial model for revenue generation within a business model design. Revenue modeling can help to understand what options make more sense in creating a digital business from scratch; alternatively, it can help in analyzing existing digital businesses and reverse engineer them.

Intution, guts, wandering and customer obsession

customer-obsession
Customer obsession goes beyond quantitative and qualitative data about customers, and it moves around customers’ feedback to gather valuable insights. Those insights start by the entrepreneur’s wandering process, driven by hunch, gut, intuition, curiosity, and a builder mindset. The product discovery moves around a building, reworking, experimenting, and iterating loop.

Do you want to become a business engineer? Start from the resources below:

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