Why is everyone now some kind of IT Business Partner?


Due to my continued work in the IT BRM/IT Business Partnering space I like to keep abreast of who is else is advertising such vacancies.  What I’m beginning to see more and more are roles being advertised as IT BRM/IT Business Partners when on further review of the roles and responsibilities, they are clearly not.  Below are a number of examples I’ve seen, published on just one job board in the last couple of months, that have “Business Partner” in the job title.

  • Technology Business Partner – reads like a very delivery focused role (i.e. the person is accountable for roadmaps, not defining them)
  • PMO Business Partner – this is a PMO position
  • Technology Business Partner (Marketing Operation)– reads like a hybrid BA and PM opportunity
  • IT Business Partner (Home Based) – is working for an MS Gold Partner and looks like it is managing their suppliers
  • IT Business Partner/Systems Manager – this is a Systems Manager vacancy
  • IT Business Partner – this role sits within Service Delivery and is very focused around problem management

Whilst those in the IT BRM/IT Business Partnering community should be delighted with the fact more companies are looking to embrace such roles, there does seem to be a trend of chucking in the job title when it is not required, I’m presuming to make it more appealing and/or because there is some level of stakeholder engagement.

My concern is that there remains confusion, both within IT and the business, regarding what the roles and responsibilities of an IT BRM/IT Business Partner are (something that was highlighted in our most recent forum – http://bit.ly/2uNgHlV). This is clearly not going to be helped if organisations decide to utilise the job title more and more when it is not appropriate.

I do accept every organisation/business stakeholder is different from a cultural and strategic engagement perspective and when hiring an IT BRM/IT Business Partner this should be one of the first things to consider as you are defining the roles and responsibilities of the positon.  I also accept there is a push for everyone in IT from CIO and below to become “mini” IT BRMs/IT Business Partners as IT becomes more of a business facing function.  However, to call everyone by the same title, in my opinion, will cause greater confusion at a time when more clarity is required.

Within the IT BRM/IT Business Partnering community we need to be aware of what I believe is a growing trend and where possible influence and advise the necessary stakeholders to ensure a company only looks to recruit an IT BRM/IT Business Partner when that is what is required.  If an organisation is looking to recruit a Problem Manager, they should be encouraged to call them a Problem Manager.

Your thoughts and comments are, as always, very welcome.

James O’Driscoll BRMP®

Director – Gilbert Scott Associates