Most of us first heard about operating systems in the context of computers. Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux are all examples of computer operating systems, as are iOS and Android in the mobile environment. In all of these cases, the operating system provides a foundation upon which layers of applications can be stacked. These applications handle specific functions.
The operating system isn't concerned with the specifics of the applications. Instead, it coordinates the applications and establishes requirements that must be followed for the applications to behave properly. Sounds pretty important, doesn't it?
Well the same concept applies to businesses. In the case of a business, an operating system provides the foundation that helps get stuff done. It is essentially the business's way of doing things. The actual work is done through the applications, or functions like marketing, operations, IT, etc... The operating system ensures the overall activity of the organization is coordinated, that work is planned and prioritized, that performance is measured, and that the organization operates smoothly.
A business's operating system will include the following:
One more thing about an operating system. While it's highest purpose is to help the entire business operate in a coordinated fashion, the principles apply to the business functions as well. So if you need to get more from a function that is a barrier to the business's achievement, implementing the concepts of an operating system for that specific function will provide the boost that is needed.