Nine Keys for Managing the Relationship Between Business and IT

  • by Davin Wilfrid, Former Contributing Editor, SAP Experts
  • December 15, 2008
A successful SAP project requires the efforts of an entire team pulling in the same direction. Unfortunately, project teams often find themselves in a tug-of-war pitting the IT department against its counterparts on the business side.

Scott Barrett, director at Axon Global, says getting business and IT teams to work together effectively is a challenge for many of his clients.

“I am surprised at how consistently I run into this problem from client to client. I keep thinking these are isolated problems, but they are really widespread,” says Barrett.

Over a 12-year career spanning operations, IT, and consulting, Barrett has accumulated a number of tips for getting the business and IT units to work together. In this article, he shares nine keys for managing that relationship in SAP projects.

Key #1 — Identify and Map Key Stakeholders

Under ideal circumstances, project managers would select their own stakeholders for a given project. Unfortunately, that just about never happens.

SAP projects in particular draw extra attention, according to Barrett.

“There’s a lot of money and a lot of people involved with big SAP projects, which means project managers end up having more stakeholders and review committees and steering committees,” says Barrett. “As a project manager, you want those people involved, but the key is how you communicate with and manage that group.”

Barrett suggests grouping stakeholders into three categories: influential stakeholders, high- maintenance stakeholders, and those who simply need to be kept in the loop of the project’s progress. Project managers should then formulate plans for dealing with stakeholders in each group and initiate one-on-one meetings with influential and high-maintenance stakeholders to formally address a working model.

Davin Wilfrid

Davin Wilfrid was a writer and editor for SAPinsider and SAP Experts. He contributed case studies and research projects aimed at helping the SAP ecosystem get the most out of their existing technology investments.

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