Gartner Research

The Politics of Powerful Partnerships

Published: 01 February 2013

ID: G00248205

Analyst(s): Andy Rowsell-Jones , Tina Nunno


Transitioning from order taker to partner is difficult for IT because of politics — specifically, the nature of power and status. CIOs can create powerful partnerships between IT and other departments by building IT’s power and status in key areas to reach equality with business peers.

Table Of Contents


Executive Summary

  • Powerful partnerships are valuable, yet difficult for IT to establish
  • CIOs can systematically “power up” IT to lay the foundation for powerful partnerships
  • CIOs can “level up” IT to achieve reciprocity with partners

Powerful Partnerships Are Valuable, Yet Difficult for IT to Establish

  • Partnerships are not what many CIOs think they are
  • Powerful partnerships are valuable for IT and the enterprise
  • The fallacy of IT performance and successful partnerships
  • Political conflict on the path to partnership is unavoidable
  • Power up IT, then level up partnerships to increase reciprocity

CIOs Can Systematically “Power Up” IT to Lay the Foundation for Powerful Partnerships

  • Real and perceived power and status are equally important
  • Select partners wisely and in the right order

CIOs Can “Level Up” IT To Achieve Reciprocity With Partners

  • Create reciprocal investment patterns with partners
  • Create reciprocal rating systems
  • Create reciprocal risk and reward systems
  • Develop your IT organization’s partnership maturity
  • Conclusion

Appendix: Case Studies

  • Establishing a personal partnership to manage terabytes of litigation data at Baker & Hostetler
  • Transitioning IT at France Télécom — Orange from order taker to “the business’s most important pain in the neck”
  • InfoCo uses a capabilities-based partnership to deliver results despite a short timeline
  • Partnerships rebuild trust between the business and IT at MeadWestvaco
  • Moving from being an order taker to a personal partner at Roche Diagnostics Division
  • Taking IT from “plumber” to partner at ServCo
  • Bypassing politics to form strong partnerships at Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America
  • Ensuring that V.F. Corporation has the technology to drive revenue and growth

Further Reading

  • Related content
  • Gartner Executive Programs reports
  • Core research
  • Books
  • Articles
  • Websites

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