Executive Support

The Top Challenges Facing IT Business Partners today

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter

At the BRM Forum in London delegates gained some practical takeaways after participating in the BRM Forum. This is the third in a four part mini-series.

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 Grab@Pizza.  In terms of the debate this was a panel discussion hosted by James O'Driscoll on top challenges facing IT Business Partners today.   The challenges were derived from a survey commissioned by Jon Baxter specifically for this event.


The panel for the debate were as follows:

  • Katie DeLay – Head of IT (Corporate Functions) – Rolls Royce Plc

  • Mark Lenton - VP IT: Industrial / Electronic Divisions – RS Components Ltd

  • Joanna Goodrick - Head of Business Architecture and Strategic Alignment - Cambridge Assessment


We’d like to thank all our panellists and delegates for their input in this session, which is summarised below.  A special thanks must go to Joanna Goodrick who stepped in at the very last minute.

Challenge #3 Support  for the IT Business Partner role in the organisation

A number of recommendations were made, including;

  1. Ensure the CIO is also the Head IT Business Partner.  Influence the individual to ensure they are introducing the IT BP function at the very start of any initiative.
  2. Ensure the IT Business Partner sits at a senior management level within the organisation.  If it’s not, influence the relevant people to get this changed.
  3. IT Business Partners must know the business area they’re working with.  This will improve the perception of the IT Business Partner, which will lead to a greater level of trust and respect from the stakeholder/business function.  Some delegates found hiring from the business (outside of IT) can help here.  
  4. IT Business Partners must be communicating in a business language, not an IT language.  If the IT Business Partner can demonstrate commercial acumen (bottom lines, P&Ls etc.) the perception of that individual will be far greater.
  5. Again, hire the right people both from a skills perspective (especially the soft skills) but ensure their strengths align with the competencies of the stakeholder/business function.
  6. Ensure the projects/programmes you’re involved in get delivered and more importantly demonstrate what value you brought to the project/programme being delivered.  
  7. When things do go wrong, accept that your brand will be damaged in the short term, but have processes in place to limit this damage and the tenacity to start re-building those relationships immediately.  

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