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News, Insights, editorial and comments on hot topics relating to Strategic Partnering

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE?

Instigating A Business Partner Function

Skanska UK Plc, Tony Michaels
August 2018

Many central departments have recognised that the interaction between the IT function and the rest of the organisation are not as good as they could be. Indeed quite often we exacerbate this division with ‘us’ and ‘them’ type references. I have heard many times people bemoaning of the other ‘they just don’t understand us’ and ‘they are asking the wrong question’. So… (drum roll)….. Introducing the IT Business Partner.... (cymbals clash) ….That’s the answer, because with one role sitting in…

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Beyond Service Partner

A review of the afternoon's discussions in one track at the June IT BP Forum

Parliamentary Digital Service, Gavin Berman
August 2018

The Beyond Service Partner track contained two sessions facilitated by myself, Gavin Berman, with a workshop by Mark Smalley, all helped by Theresa Jacobs. In the first session I began by setting the context in which the Parliamentary Digital Service operates, providing the digital tools for two separate albeit very similar organisations – The House of Commons and The House of Lords – and the Politicians they serve in the UK Parliament. Since the introduction of the Business Partner function…

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The Challenge of Delivering Value

Our Survey Results

O2 (Telefónica UK), Sarah Fogg
August 2018

At the Baxter Thompson Associates (BTA) IT Business Partner Forum in June, we looked at the challenge of Value Management. Previous survey respondents had said that this was the third most challenging aspect of their role. To investigate this further a new survey was issued following the DAMAC framework for Value Management created by BTA. What is Value Management? Value Management is a set of management techniques to ensure that customers’ expectations and needs are met through supporting activities, products…

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June 2018 IT BP Forum - From False Demand to Outcome Focus

Key Observations - Getting Started Track

Warburtons, Paul Kirkham
July 2018

Getting Started Track From False Demand To Outcome Focus It was great to gather together with over 70 like-minded people at the excellent NFU Mutual facility in Stratford for the summer IT BP Forum. The sun shone on what turned out to be an enjoyable and productive day. The ‘Getting Started’ track kicked off after lunch with a presentation from Luke Radford on how he’s put together a team that have built business partnerships within the Department for Transport. Luke…

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June 2018 IT BP Forum - Build More Solid Business Cases and Hold People To Account.

Key Observations - Debatable data

Gilbert Scott Associates, James O'Driscoll
July 2018

Debatable Data Build More Solid Business Cases and Hold People To Account Tony Koutsoumbos (https://www.linkedin.com/in/tkoutsoumbos/), the founder of the Great Debaters Club (http://www.debate-training.co.uk), the UK's only debate club and training programme for adults kindly completed the masterclass track and after a few technical issues (thank you George Kerby for resolving them! - https://www.linkedin.com/in/george-kerby-022653134/) kicked off his talk around debatable data. This workshop was focused on how we use data to test conclusions for the presence of bias and how delegates…

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June 2018 IT BP Forum - Change Your Questioning Language

Key Observations - Discovering Business Outcomes

Gilbert Scott Associates, James O'Driscoll
July 2018

Discovering Business Outcomes Change Your Questioning Language Mike Burrows (https://www.linkedin.com/in/asplake/) the founder of Agendashift (https://www.agendashift.com/), a champion and enabler of outcome-oriented change kindly kicked off the afternoon masterclass track. The purpose of his session was to introduce and then workshop a needs based, outcome oriented approach to organisational change, rather than the norm where you start with a solution(s) and then deal with the inevitable resistance. Obviously such a huge topic cannot be covered in 50 minutes, so Mike focused…

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IT Demand Management

Five Guidelines On How You Can Make A Huge Difference

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
June 2018

Quite often the IT department is overwhelmed with more projects than it can actually complete. What seems an intractable problem that tests the most resilient leader, there are in fact some guidelines that can deliver breakthrough results. One of them, based on Little's law, is so counter intuitive that only practising it can sway the doubters. The best metaphor is congestion on the smart motorway: More people get to work on time by driving slower. Question: How many projects did…

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Value Management

Why such a challenge?

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
June 2018

So, value management was the third top challenge as portrayed by over 40 respondents to our IT Business Partner survey. Click here to view the results. So why should it be such a challenge? We believe that fundamentally, Value Management includes Continuous Improvement. Here is our rationale: As a business-focused partner, you want to define value, measure value and then what? Whatever step you take after it will be pretty crucial in the engagement with our peers. If we stop…

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GDPR

Our Response

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
May 2018

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Our Response Baxter Thompson Associates are passionate about Strategic IT Partnerships. We want to help clients achieve competitive advantage through the use of our Reconnaissance for IT® framework and share our passion with a growing community of like minded individuals in the UK and beyond, so that they too can become Strategic IT Partners. To do this effectively we review the way we communicate and engage with you, our audience. With General Data Protection Regulation…

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Ego is the Enemy

Personal reflections on the book by Ryan Holiday

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
May 2018

Ego is the Enemy. Personal reflections on the book by Ryan Holiday Ego is a strange one to tackle and one that had been sitting on the backlog of articles to write. At face value, you're probably wondering a) why the title and b) is this relevant? In one company, I wasn’t getting on with the Project Management Office. As far as they were concerned they already did the strategic partnering with the business functions, they already had the demand…

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IT Business Partner

The Inspiration, The Sell And The Implementation

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
March 2018

IT Business Partner The Inspiration, The Sell And The Implementation An Interview with James Endersby, Head of IT, Dog's Trust It's my pleasure this month to discuss with James how he has made IT Business Partnering a core theme of his IT department at the Dog's trust. I delve a little deeper into what makes James tick to elicit some key traits and behaviours that make IT Business Partnering a success. It helps other IT Business Partners understand "How do…

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Relationship Management

Survey Results

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
March 2018   2 comments

Only 22% of IT Business Partners surveyed consistently explain clearly their role and how that adds value to their stakeholders We sent out a survey last month to investigate the quality of our relationships amongst our audience. We took 5 questions from our 20 question relationship competency model to sample how we perform as IT Business Partners in this space. Out of the 23 fully completed questionnaires, we found that: Suprisingly only 22% consistently explain clearly their role and how…

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Relationship Management

Are you falling back into bad habits?

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
February 2018

Through taking on board lessons from my personal journey and with talking to many of my peers on how our roles can be most effective, Relationship Management stands out as the competency that makes the difference between getting something done, gaining agreement or commitment. We should be well beyond the stage now of thinking that professional relationships are just communications and communications is just email. Yet even if we know better, habits are hard to break. Indeed whilst my wife…

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Building Credibility

....to get a seat at the Decision Maker's table

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
January 2018

Building Credibility to get a seat at the Decision Maker's table This post takes a look at a practical example of how we can build credibility in the organisation and start the journey towards Strategic IT Partnerships. In our blog post "Learning to Drive" we identified that value management is a key challenge and one that limits our potential to move away from being considered a service provider. Value management is poorly implemented in many organisations and not withstanding our…

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Past, Present and Future

Reflections on the pace of technology change

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Robina Chatham
December 2017

‘What are people for in a world that does not need their labour, and where only the minority are needed to guide the bot based economy?’ I feel privileged to have lived in unique times. As someone who was born in 1956 I have witnessed the introduction of computers into our lives from the very beginning. At school I used logarithmic tables, during my first year at university I used a slide rule, by my second year hand held calculators…

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The Twelve Principles  of  Strategic  IT Partnering

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
October 2017

The Twelve Principles of Strategic IT Partnering The essence of what it means to be a Strategic IT Partner..... As a consultant I get the opportunity read broadly and in depth looking at how the IT business partner role is evolving. I get to reflect on how I performed in my corporate roles and recognise where I could have improved. In addition, this consulting role allows me to speak to dozens of clients on a monthly basis to validate where…

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Learning To Drive

Breaking The Cycle of Negative Feedback

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
September 2017

Our surveys suggest Value Management is the third biggest challenge IT Business Partners face. Given where we currently are as an industry it is also a fundamental enabler on gaining credibility with our peers. I argue that a lack of Value Management (and as part of that Continuous Improvement) in an organisation is the root cause to why IT departments find it so difficult to get beyond what I call a “Service Partner” level. That is where an IT department…

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Earning The Right

To become a Strategic IT Partner

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
August 2017

We at Baxter Thompson Associates have come to the conclusion that whilst IT organisations are effective at being a “Service partner”, they may not necessarily be effective. This conclusion is reached through assessing two different surveys sampling the same group of people – IT Business Partners (ITBP) Whilst Business Stakeholders report that they want strategic technology insight and indeed many ITBPs we have spoken to want to position themselves more as Strategic IT Partners, in order to earn that right…

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Dealing With Organisational Politics

The Political Zoo

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
August 2017

By Dr. Robina Chatham In the workplace organizational politics are a fact of life. Organizations, being made up of people, are essentially political institutions. All business professionals need to be adept at dealing with political situations, but some are better at it than others. As a a Business Relationship Manager (BRM) political acumen is an imperative skill: since you do not have position power to fall back on other people have to want to do business with you! Success in…

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Value Management

The Top Challenges Facing IT Business Partners today

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
July 2017

At the BRM Forum in London delegates gained some practical takeaways after participating in the BRM Forum. This is the last in a four part mini-series. BRM Forum: The Panel Article written by James O'Driscoll, Gilbert Scott Associates. On Friday 9th of June the 5th BRM forum took place in central London. The session was a mix of debate, presentation and business simulation via [email protected] In terms of the debate this was a panel discussion hosted by James O'Driscoll on…

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