Who is responsible for the relationship between the technology team and other business units (BUs)?

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Member Board of Directors in Finance (non-banking), 201 - 500 employees
I always took on the responsibility of building strong relationships with my peers on the executive committee, as well as with the CEO. I fostered the same type of strategic partnership in my direct reports by always having them and myself be part of the executive staff meetings. If a person was responsible for financial systems, I would want them to be on the CFO staff as I was part of the CEO staff. Building those relationships made us well-positioned to be part of the business. We were at the table whenever discussions happened that impacted business and technology organizations, and we were able to be equal partners in those conversations.
CEO in Software, 11 - 50 employees
My experience has largely been that a culture is driven by leadership. You can't hire someone to divine a culture for you. When you lead, you set the standard that becomes the company culture. From an IT perspective, if you're successful and you can prove success, then you have a culture of interest in working together. The most important aspect of any relationship between IT and other senior leadership is that they have an expectation that you have their best interests at heart. And if you say you're going to do something, they expect you'll actually be able to do it. After that, it doesn't matter what else you do. You could bring cookies every day or have parties on the weekends, but it won't matter if you're not delivering. Having a culture of deliverable success is the most important aspect of CIO relationships and success in any company.
Chief Information Officer in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
I make sure I have monthly one-on-ones with all my bosses, peers and all our key stakeholders, and my teams do the same because they're responsible for one vertical each. I also make sure that each one of my direct reports knows their business partner's targets for the year. Whether it's CX case deflection or enablement, I want us to align our targets with theirs.

Making it metrics-driven helps a lot because we can build that trust and credibility. For example, productivity was a big issue on the finance team. We were able to show a hundred percent improvement in productivity in three months by measuring it through a number of user stories, etc. The major thing that I've been able to bring into the company is metrics. For the longest time we didn't have SLAs for operations, or P1s — none of that existed. It was so difficult for me to understand where we stood, and benchmarking to improve from there is critical.

Meeting with business partners regularly is essential to understanding their success criteria and what's top of mind. When I asked my team if they have a regular cadence with their business partners, they said, “Yes, we meet with them to prioritize.” But I meant one-on-one meetings, because if you don't have that one-on-one cadence with someone, you are not providing a forum for them to vent. In the absence of that forum, an individual who owns a business unit is not going to think about setting that up with you. If an issue arises, it will go to whoever else has provided that forum, and at some point I will find out about it and have to go back to the source, which becomes an escalation. So let's just set up a one-on-one so I can hear the issue firsthand, because it really helps.
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CIO in Finance (non-banking), 51 - 200 employees

I 100% agree. Global service delivery (GSD) and building relationships are the two things that you have to get done as an operational crew. If you're a trusted partner, you need to be a trusted partner. Not just for what's on the sprint board, but for getting context, because that is super helpful. 

Director of Technology Strategy in Services (non-Government), 2 - 10 employees

I like that: to be a trusted partner, you need to be a trusted partner. You can't just say, “I'm here for you” to build trust. You have to actually go out and be there for them as well. 


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