Stepping on the toes of the CIO


Recently a IT BP contact got in touch with the following question:

I’ve just read a piece of research where it spells out the ways CIOs are looking to get engaged in underpinning their organisations’ business strategies. In doing so they’re performing a lot of things we’re expecting a BRM to do.

This reminded me of my early years at XX when, as a BRM, I seemed to continually ‘step on the toes’ of the then CIO who was also seeking a seat at the top table and, consequently, felt threatened by me.

In your opinion, what can CIOs and BRMs do to work together in a more cooperative, rather than competitive way?

My response to him was as follows:

In my opinion, the CIO should be the most senior IT BP in the IT function. If that is not the case (as in your example) the IT BP should identify the CIO as one of the key five stakeholders that require your immediate and significant investment and spend the time building a level of trust, to ensure the CIOs full understanding of the IT BP role and what value you bring.

Without that buy in (and such buy is going to have to be instigated by the IT BP, not the CIO), I would question the ongoing success of the function.

Since my initial response I’ve also considered the following:

  1. My contact’s example was from a number of years ago (early 2000s) when the IT BP role was less established, less mature and more misunderstood. Surely such a situation does not exist today? Or does it?
  2. Does the community agree with my initial response? Should the CIO be one of the top five stakeholders that require immediate and significant investment by the IT BP? Are there other (better) ways that people can share?
  3. If you are unable to get buy-in from the CIO despite your best efforts, is it a good idea to update the CV?
  4. My contact refers to the top table which seems to be the end goal for most in the IT BP community. Do we need to be at that top table?
  5. Finally, what does the IT BP community think? What can CIOs and IT BPs do to work together in a more cooperative, rather than competitive way?

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

James O’Driscoll BRMP®

Director – Gilbert Scott Associates Ltd