THE AD HOC SITUATION
No processes in place
Typically, the IT department is far too busy to listen to what the rest of the business is asking of them – let alone have the time to think about already established trends in information technology. IT staff have enough trouble trying to maintain the systems they already manage. Requests are already behind schedule, leading to a significance change in scope that inevitably ensues. Not only that, project priorities keep changing as requestors demand attention. Does this sound familiar?
How will you respond?
No one, sole party bears the full responsibility for the issues present in this situation. There needs to be a “smell the coffee moment” between both the business partner and the IT department where they realize that the current state of affairs cannot go on.
However, disentangling from the ways in which people work takes time and additional capability. This is where an acceptance of basic demand and supply management principles by both parties means everyone can start the journey – to a more orderly state.
How we can help
Baxter Thompson associates can help by carrying out a ' due diligence exercise' as part of our second step – initial consultation and diagnosis which involves both the business partners and the IT department to assess: the current capabilities, communications, processes and responsibilities.
Our associates can also work with the stakeholders in creating a mandate that allows space in the organisation for the business relationship management role to be created.
Business partners still distrust the IT department. They are only ever involved at the last minute – when something has to be done and there is no alternative option. This certainly puts the IT department on the back foot. IT staff will find it impossible to plan requests and resources. Inevitably, the outcome means deadlines are missed and business partners are disappointed with the outcome – which fuels an atmosphere of distrust. Does this sound familiar?
How will you deliver the service?
A first basic question is "what are your services?" Password resets? Small changes to websites? Provision of servers or mobile phones? Keeping which applications available? And secondly what processes and people do you employ to manage them? Can you track performance? What project management capability is there for significant deployments?
Baxter Thompson Associates believe that, at this point in the Journey, it's essential to stabilise the service and project management first – ie. define what those services are and scope projects that are realistic and set expectations with business partners accordingly. Effective communications is key – both at a personal level and at a fomal cross-organisation level. However, additional effort has to be made in establishing working relationships with those who influence spending and decide the direction of the business.
Even if the IT function establishes a set of services and maintains their effectiveness – and business partners are able to articulate their business goals and processes – alignment between these two still needs to be achieved.
So, we have 99.99% server availability – so what you might ask? How does that increase market share? IT is still viewed as a cost centre and at risk of being excluded from the strategic debate. Does this sound familiar?
How will you enable the strategy?
To be viewed as a strategic partner, establishing what capabilities are required to achive the business outcomes requires true understanding of the business and an ability to map those technologies that will deliver the most value. In addition portfolio planning, governance and business transition management will be fundamental BRM capabilities to deploy.
Baxter Thompson Associates believes this is where most BRM initiatives start to falter as this where the change in mindset, the effort and focus required to maintain the strategic focus is sometimes a step too far before people get distracted by operational requirements. Here, a reminder about the BRM mandate, a commitment to resourcing these activities are key to success.
THE TRUSTED ADVISOR
Acheiving competitive advantage
With the relationships firmly established and with 'mutual' respect and understanding present, initiatives delivering innovation , creating new business models, driving cost efficiencies and increased revenue streams can be discussed on a case by case in the context of value and risks to the organisation. Does this sound familiar?
How can the business relationship be improved?
Invariably at this point, project teams have stakeholders who have been involved from the very beginning of the project. The emphasis at this stage of the journey therefore needs to be focused more on continuous improvements. Improvements that identify gaps in communications, processes, tools and techniques so that the engagements between both sides becomes doubly effective.
At this level, driving real value for the organisation – and therefore significantly increasing competitive advantage will be the result of shared goals, shared plans and firmly established working relationships. Identifying the benefits is critical in order to succeed in today’s multi-national markets and dynamic, technology environment. However, to achieve this requires a significant investment of money, time and effort in order to reap the rewards.
Learn more about BRM
Reconnaissance for IT
Reconnaissance for IT is our unique, tactical framework and describes how we work. Learn more about our approach and how we use Reconnaissance for IT to diagnose exactly what is required to help move you along the BRM Journey >
Contact us now to arrange an initial meeting to see how Baxter Thompson Associates could increase the value of your business opportunities.