IT as a Business Partner

The Challenges and Overcoming Them

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter

Baxter Thompson Associates (BTA) in conjunction with the British Computer Society Elite Forum (BCS)  held a debate on the 21st September 2016 “IT as a Business Partner. Jacqui Hogan, Bill Limond and Jon Baxter and 20 executives looked at some of the challenges facing the Chief Information Officer (CIO) in becoming a Partner with the rest of the organisation and some of the solutions that could help the CIO overcome those challenges. BTA has produced a report on the outcome of this debate. See below to download our latest whitepaper.

The debate participants discussed three questions, using the Mckinsey survey ‘Partnering to shape the future - IT's new imperative’ as a cue:

1)    How can IT become a credible and valued partner with the business?
2)    What are the causes for the current challenges faced by the CIO in becoming a business partner?
3)    What are the solutions for these challenges? 

About 20 IT executives from a broad range of backgrounds were split into three teams to respond to each question. After a lively hour-long debate, responses were gathered and these provided input into this report, essentially a synopsis of the observations fielded. Due to the similarity of observations presented in questions one and three, for the purposes of this report the responses have been aggregated into the first question – “How can IT become a credible and valued partner with the business?”. The observations are summarised below in the following statements:

  • Benchmark your Organisation. 
  • Gain Role Clarity. 
  • Work “on" not "in" the IT Department. 
  • Maintain a Service Catalogue. 
  • Provide Exemplary Service. 
  • Build Relationships. 
  • Speak Business Language. 
  • Leave your Comfort Zone. 
  • Drive Business Outcomes. 
  • Drive Accountability. 
  • Focus on Governance.

Following the debate, Jon Baxter and Bill Limond presented a framework and infographic depicting the different perspectives of partnering that can be found in the appendices of the report. Baxter Thompson Associates believe that becoming a partner to the business requires effort in resolving a complex set of inter-related issues. However the start of this resolution requires four things:

1)    Clarity on the role of the CIO and their organisation. 
2)    Excellence in service delivery
3)    A commitment to enabling relationships
4)    A strategic intent.

Our latest whitepaper - IT as a Business Partner - gives some fantastic insight into how the challenges of IT Business Partnering can be overcome and how CIOs can move closer to being a Partner with the business. 


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