The Vocabulary of IT Business Partnering

Business Relationship Management

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter

I come away from reading various consulting surveys that one of the key messages is that:

IT stakeholders should partner strategically with Business stakeholders more. 

This is an easy itch to scratch and something that I have responded to my company's offer of services. However this thinking panders to stereotype roles and ways of (not) engaging. Is the paradigm so simple?

  • Business stakeholders accuse IT stakeholders of not engaging, or the efforts to engage are not credible.
  • IT stakeholders have to do something different in order to win the trust of the business stakeholders (whereas Business stakeholders do not)
  • Business stakeholders have the "strategy", IT stakeholders do not.
  • Business stakeholders are the customer, IT stakeholders are the supplier.

Thus the inference being IT has the problem. My past experience that on many occasions is that IT stakeholders do fall short of strategic partnering expectations, but so do Business stakeholders. On reflection, I personally prefer a more nuanced question:

How could IT and Business stakeholders strategically partner better together? 

Perhaps we're missing something here. Before we can even start to answer the question, how do we express "partnering"? Maybe we need to establish some terms of reference that articulate how we engage with each other?

I've compiled a list of statements below that can help broker a conversation around how we partner today. Then we can start to ask the right question. I hope it's useful.

How Baxter Thompson Associates can help

We help IT understand the opportunity with business partners through our Reconnaissance for IT framework and can help implement a business relationship management capability to ensure that the Value in IT is delivered. We also provide training - the BRMP(R) and the CBRM(R) courses in addition to coaching and Interim Management.


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