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What Makes a Successful Partnership?

Good relationships are critical for good partnerships:

  • Relationships must be continuously nurtured.

  • Relationships must be institutionalized.

  • Relationships must grow beyond individual relationships to departmental relationships.

  • Relationship must be viewed as value-added.

  • A partner's perspective must be anticipated at all times.

  • A partner must be able to answer a question before it's asked.

While relationships are strongly encouraged on an individual level, they need to be understood on a group level. For example, if a particularly difficult partner has been unable to form a relationship with the technology staff, the technology department must recognize this problem and take steps to forge the right relationships. This requires senior technology managers to identify the sources of the relationship problem and proactively correct them, perhaps dealing with issues of competence, mutual respect, credibility, business knowledge and perspective, communications, and so on . Relationships are not built overnight, and require patience and consistency.

Success is based on these factors:

  • Managing technology as a strategic asset rather than a cost center, focusing on the following areas:

    • Managing risks

    • Managing expectations

    • Business alignment

    • Vision

    • Strategy versus tactics

  • Partnering with the business and becoming part of the business (rather than being apart from the business), by implementing these strategies:

    • Building relationships

    • Creating business teams

    • Presenting business cases

    • Acknowledging business unit champions

    • Building a track record

  • Building a culture based on shared values such as these:

    • Guiding principles

    • Common culture

    • Quality of life

  • Recognizing and communicating value to the enterprise with the following tactics:

    • Expressing the value of IT to the enterprise

    • Recognizing value

    • Measuring value

    • Communicating value

IT organizations need to sell to their business colleagues the idea that IT can and should be leveraged for business value and growth. Dedication requires an educated understanding. It's the CIO's responsibility to demonstrate the relationship between understanding strategic technology initiatives and the long-term success of the firm. If executive management fails to see the value of their involvement, it's the CIO's role to change that perception...or to think about his next career move.

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