Are you wondering what activities and behaviors you can perform to improve your business relationship with IT partners?
There is a clear distinction and often friction in any organization between ‘business’ and ‘IT’ groups. This is compounded when your IT partners are external to the organization. IT partnerships, such as utilizing a transportation management system from TMW Systems, create opportunity for each organization to strategically align themselves with one another. However, the process can often be complicated by tactical necessities or unfocused efforts. This is further compounded when each organization is tasked with running their business and not focused on improving relationships. One fundamental distinction is that the two areas of focus, business and IT, often do not see a complete picture. Key shortcomings and differences in focus include:
- Not clearly articulating strategy, expectations or communicating to involved stakeholders
- Focused on desired solutions, not desired outcomes
- Not setting priorities, assessing risks, making decisions or providing funding
- No clear understanding of IT capabilities or limitations
- Not clearly presenting lines of engagement or contacts for deliverables
- No clear understanding of business process, desires or how IT impacts and contributes to these factors
- Not taking time to clearly discuss benefits, costs or risks to the organization
- Being system-focused and not process-focused
- Falling into the “No, we can’t!” trap, instead of accessing solutions and starting with “Yes, we can
When these shortcomings are prevalent in an organization or with an external business partner, success is hardly assured! However, there is a way to begin to develop a much more steady relationship or working environment.
What are the keys to developing a steady, positive culture focused on moving toward both business and IT goals?
- Maintain an active, ongoing dialogue
- Strike a balance between business and IT objectives
- Focus on improving the relationship by moving projects along
This process is iterative, moving gradually toward improved relationships, strategic alignment and ultimately alignment of business goals for any business and IT organization.
(John Faria is Sr. Strategic Relationship Manager at TMW Systems.)