Winter 2018 Strategic IT Partner Forum – The role of Strategic IT Partners in Digital Transformation


On Thursday 22nd of November 2018 the seventh Strategic IT Partner forum (previously known as the IT BRM/IT BP forum) took place near Heathrow.  In my opinion the content of the day was our best yet and offered those in the IT Partnering community an opportunity to network and attend various talks, including:

  • Liam Hogan – The role of Strategic IT Partners in Digital Transformation
  • Ian Golding –  A CIO’s Perspective on Delivering the Technology Vision
  • Matt Ballantine – Cross Silo Responsibilities and Developing the Agile Mindset
  • Luke Radford and Zach Arundel – Innovation Case Study
  • Deborah Meredith and Richard Coldwell – Relationship Maturity Model Case Study
  • James O’Driscoll – The Partner Recruitment Challenge
  • Jon Baxter – Demonstrating Value and Managing Expectations

Further details of all presentations and videos of the day can be found here – You’ll need to be a member of our online community to have access and please ensure you are logged into your account before clinking on the link.

If you are not a member of our online community yet, you’re more welcome to join an event.  To register online click here –

We’re aiming to have a full summary of the forum by the beginning of 2019.  In the meantime I wanted to share my thoughts on Liam Hogan’s ( presentation “The Role of Strategic IT Partners In Digital Transformation” where he explored the subject including how the position has evolved and considers what the future might hold.

My key takeaways from the session were as follows:

  1. The future is now. Digital is being discussed at the board level.  Your customer’s expectations are far higher (seamless engagement, lots of value added services etc. are now the norm).  Strategic IT Partners need to embrace this change, understand it and make sure we know how it effects our business.  Once we have this understanding we need educate our senior stakeholders on the impact and try to ensure we exploit it to its full potential (or our competitor(s) will).
  2. Technology is the easy bit. Strategic IT Partners need to understand the opportunities technologies such as Cloud, XaaS, IoT, AI, Data etc. can offer to assist with digital transformation.  However, we should also realise that it is the organisation not technology that will offer the greatest challenge.  Are the benefits of the transformation understood at the very top?  Will the attitude to risk change?   Can you move away from a big bang to an incremental approach?  Can the culture become more collaborative rather than top down?  If the organisation is not ready, a successful digital transformation is highly unlikely, despite whatever shiny kit you buy.
  3. A new landscape. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  We need to move away from our legacy ways of working and embrace the digital landscape.  Think Agile, DevOps, automation, collaboration, focusing on business outcome etc.
  4. Changing of the guard. Are Product Managers in this new digital world the next generation of Business Relationship Managers?   There are certainly similarities between the two roles as both should have a high level view, own the overall roadmap and manage the senior stakeholders.
  5. Living in the real world. As with all IT methodologies we need to use the techniques that work for us, at that particular time.  For example, if most of your software is off the shelf, embracing a full Agile/DevOps environment might not work but you can utilise the elements that will.  Automated testing for example.  Moving away from big bang etc.
  6. Try before you commit. Clearly we cannot abandon all controls and rush headlong into something.  It is about making smaller investments which probe an area of opportunity.  Some will work, some will not.  If it is the latter, they will at least be cheap and quick mistakes.

All Strategic IT Partners know that the IT landscape has changed.  Digital is everywhere and offers huge opportunities.   Moving from a legacy to a digital environment is not easy but we need to embrace this change and exploit it to its full potential.  If we do not, someone else will.

For those interested in exploring this area further, Liam highly recommends the book, The Age of Agile (

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

James O’Driscoll BRMP®

Director – Gilbert Scott Associates