Value Management

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 last 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 [email protected]  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 Value Management

According to a survey commissioned last year by Jon Baxter, value management is the area least practised by IT Business Partner community in the UK.  Sadly, we only had 10 minutes to cover this topic but there was some very useful input, which is summarised below.

  1. Benefits realisation is key within value management and needs to be undertaken at the initiation stage.  
  2. IT Business Partners need to ensure the process is continually going up stream, using the cost of the complexity and opportunity cost as your tools, and keep on asking why.  By doing this you will be able understand what the real problem is (think brown chairs or books).
  3. IT Business Partners need to demonstrate the value of the initiatives that are taking place.  Jon Baxter will be speaking about Value Management at the next UK IT Business Partner Buzz on the 19th July . As an IT Business Partner you need to be able to join the dots from business outcome to technology solution.  If you cannot then the initiative should not take place.  It is the role of the IT BP to make this visible to the stakeholder/business function and by doing so (and in case this halting an initiative) the IT Business Partner has demonstrated their value as they’ve saved the organisation time and money.
  4. Getting the stakeholders/business function to take ownership of benefits realisation, not the IT Business Partner, is also key.  IT Business Partners need to facilitate the process but ownership needs to be with the stakeholder/business function.
  5. Some delegates have had success by using their influence to ensure all board reports by management include benefits realisation.
  6. Another interesting idea was around benefits bank.  So for example, if you deliver benefits on a particular project (monetary being a good example) then this monetary benefit can be allocated to other projects in the future.
  7. For more information on benefits realisation the author Joe Peppard from Cranfield Business School is a useful source of information.
  8. Other points of interest from the session.
  9.  Those companies in a state of change/transformation are more likely to see the benefit of IT Business Partners.  Those in BAU are by definition more day to day, which is not where the IT Business Partner is most effective.
  10. IT Business Partners must realise that the strategic level you’re able to operate at will, to some extent, be dependent on the maturity of the organisation.  The more mature, the more likely IT Business Partners will be able to have the strategic conversations.


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