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Part 3: The Town Crier Syndrome

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
January 2019

This article is the third in a series of five about finding time to become more strategic (see part 1). This is one of the key challenges faced by anybody who has a partnering role on behalf of technology support functions in a company. Here we discuss a common symptom - "the Town Crier" syndrome, how we can become more than relayers of information; and how we can consequently improve our tenure in role by avoiding this syndrome. A long…

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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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Supporting Island Voyagers

Rowing around the UK for the HoneyPot Children's Charity

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
May 2017

Supporting Island Voyagers as they row around the UK for the Honeypot Children's Charity Baxter Thompson Associates are proud to be a sponsor of Jeremy Webb, a Business Relationship Manager from The University of Southampton, and his crew of four as they attempt to row non-stop around the UK in aid of The Honeypot Children's Charity, who offer respite breaks and outreach support to young carers and vulnerable children, many of whom would otherwise have nowhere to turn. On the…

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Podcast - How to get your business case approved

Our first podcast! With special guest Dr Robina Chatham

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
April 2017

Our first podcast - How To Get Your Business Case Approved April 2017 Hosted by Jon Baxter, with guest Dr Robina Chatham The most simple business cases can struggle to get approved. Even when Jon wanted to do something as essential as installing a firewall at a relatively low cost, it took him three attempts to get sign-off. Jon chats with Robina, who has many stories to tell from her several years as a CIO. If you’re struggling to get…

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Organisational Stress: Mergers and Acquisitions

Managing your organisation through changing times

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
April 2017

What is the opportunity for the IT Director? According to Clayton Christianson et al. in their article “The New M&A Playbook” between 70% and 90% of acquisitions fail. When two organisations come together, it can create a significant amount of work to realign processes, organisational structures, integrations between systems, and employment contracts. That by itself, if not planned for, can be more than what the organisation can bear. However, that’s just what is at face value. Mergers can also bring…

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Employee Awareness in Information Security

Finding the optimal infosec solution for your organisation

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
March 2017

Current and former employees were found to be the biggest source of information breaches globally according to the Global State of Information Security Report in 2016. Information Security, for all the technology that is available, is to a large extent, a people concern. Infosec technology can only go so far in mitigating the risk of a costly information security breach. And the costs can be huge. Not only is there a risk of fraud to your organisation and to its…

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Measuring Business Maturity

Results from the 2016 IT Business Partner Survey

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
March 2017

In 2016, we carried out a survey of UK based IT Business Partnering professionals (or Business Relationship Management professionals) to assess the state of IT business partnering. The results show a snapshot of the companies in which IT business partner professionals work, and go some way to a better understanding of how IT business partnering is being used to develop organisations effectively or otherwise. The survey measures the degree to which IT Business Partnering is embedded in the culture and…

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Corporate Politics in IT Business Partnering

Putting the Relationship into Business Relationship Management

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
February 2017

Think of the term ‘Corporate politics’ and it may be that negativity dominates your thoughts. People trying to score points, secrecy and subterfuge, and departments competing against each other may be some of the examples you would quote. Work in a large organisation as an IT Business Partner and you’ll probably feel you could write a book on these issues alone! By Robina Chatham Corporate politics is about ways of handling difference, which can also be achieved through positive means…

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The Role of the IT Business Partner in Organisational Change

Change: Are we ready?

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
January 2017

In business, organisational change is inevitable. An organisation has to adapt to changing demands – of the customer and the market, of technology, and of the wider environment. With changing demands, it’s the organisations that can keep up with that change that survive, whilst the others fall behind and eventually by the wayside An effective IT Business Partner can identify the organisational change that is needed to keep the company one step ahead. What an IT Business Partner is good…

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What is Shadow IT?

How does Shadow IT impact on Organisational Efficiency?

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
January 2017

The rise of SaaS (Software as a service) applications over the last few years has opened up opportunities, and created challenges for anyone in the business of managing organisations of all sizes. While SaaS has enabled smaller businesses to scale up quickly and cheaply, widespread use of SaaS within larger organisations can create headaches for IT departments, and senior managers trying to get their individual teams as effective as possible on their allocated budgets. Where IT management has not been…

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Managing Difficult People

Business Relationship Management

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
October 2016

This post is an aide-memoire for Business Relationship Managers to help identify the key styles of engagement with Business stakeholders . It is last in a series of posts on how to influence others. In our last post we explored the various styles of engagement used in negotiations and sales interactions, and how we can recognize and utilize those to our advantage. Let's now move on to a topic that we will all inevitably encounter: managing challenging people. The key…

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The [email protected] Business Simulation Game

Business Relationship Management

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
October 2016

This article is the second part of two that discusses the outcomes of the BRMIConnect,written by Paul Wilkinson, owner and director of Gamingworks, a Baxter Thompson Partner who licences the "Grab-a-Pizza" Business / IT simulation. ‘This was incredible….’, ‘I am so pleased I attended this session…..’ , ‘ I have to do this exercise with our key stakeholders….’, ‘….this clearly shows we have a long, hard, rocky road ahead of us if we want to be seen as a strategic…

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Taking Business Partnering to The Next Level

Business Relationship Management

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
October 2016

The BRMIConnect conference in Amsterdam was the 4th and final international BRM conference in 2016. This article is the first part of two that discusses the outcomes of the BRMIConnect,written by Paul Wilkinson, owner and director of Gamingworks, a Baxter Thompson Partner who licences the "Grab-a-Pizza" Business / IT simulation. The conference kicked-off, in my mind, with a refreshing approach of actually asking the audience what they wanted to learn in the conference so that the speakers could align their…

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Adopting Different Styles of Engagement

Business Relationship Management

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
October 2016

This post is an aide-memoire for Business Relationship Managers to help identify the key styles of engagement with Business stakeholders . It is part of a series of posts on how to influence others. In our last post we discussed negotation techniques and how to utilize them, let’s further hone our skills by exploring and adopting different styles of engagement. It's important to recognize and master the different styles of engaging in order to achieve our ultimate goal of influencing…

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Negotiation Skills

Business Relationship Management

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
September 2016

This post is an aide-memoire for Business Relationship Managers to help identify the key elements in negotiation with Business stakeholders . It is part of a series of posts on how to influence others. There are four considerations when negotiating: People Maintaining the relationship and the dialogue is the first priority. This means making allowances for emotions (both yours and theirs) mis-perceptions, mis-communication, and different methods of expression. Discuss the other parties values and perceptions. Acknowledge their concerns, agenda, wants…

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The Vocabulary of IT Business Partnering

Business Relationship Management

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
September 2016   1 comment

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…

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Conflict Management Skills

Business Relationship Management

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
September 2016

This post is an aide-memoire for Business Relationship Managers to help manage conflict with Business stakeholders . It is part of a series of posts on how to influence others. Now we’re comfortable with the crucial selling skills needed for influence, but what if our interactions don’t go as planned? There are five strategies to dealing with conflict, each of which have merit - this can vary depending on the context in a given situation. Your preference can be determined…

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Business Stakeholder Selling Skills

Business Relationship Management

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
September 2016

Business Stakeholder Selling Skills This post is an aide-memoire for Business Relationship Managers to ensure that the basics are covered in engaging Business stakeholders with new ideas. It is part of a series of posts on how to influence others. Once we’ve established our personal brand and values, we have successfully established who we are and what we can offer to our relationships in business. The next step is utilizing that influence. Selling an idea or a solution requires homework.…

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Managing Your Brand

Business Relationship Management

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
September 2016

Managing Your Personal Brand and Value Proposition With an understanding of the skills and traits for influencing in place (see our previous post "The Principles Of Influence") , now we must get back to basics through building and utilizing our “brand” in influencing relationships in business. Your values and beliefs are a critical component of your personal brand and being authentic means acting according to your values and beliefs. You would then have a “consistent brand image”. There should be…

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The Principles of Influence

Business Relationship Management

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter
August 2016

Achieving your goals as a Business Relationship manager begins with clarifying some core principles of what you do and why mastering influence impacts your effectiveness. The goal of the Business Relationship manager is to become a Strategic Partner. In order to do that, you will need to master influencing people. Self-assessment is important. To measure your effectiveness in influencing people you will need to have an appreciation of your own Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Political Intelligence (PQ). This provides a…

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