Business Partnering End of Year Review 2019

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When the Business Partnering team first formed, we created a two year roadmap of activities to guide us from 2018-2020. In December 2019 we took time out to reflect on the progress we’ve made and identify the key activities for our roadmap from 2020-2022.

2019 in review

As a team we are all now fully Business Relationship Management Professional (BRMP) certified. This gives us a shared terminology and recognised approaches to develop our partnering service. It also gives us the confidence that we have the right tools/techniques available to do our job.

2019 was a difficult year in IT Services, as the final stages of developing Core Systems took priority, making it difficult to move any other initiatives forwards. Therefore, the Business Partnering team had to focus on adding value in other ways:

  • Providing clarity about IT processes and services – ensuring we’re using Plain English and helping to demystify how IT Services works.
  • Intervening with clear communication to prevent issues escalating – having the business context and the IT context ensures we’re well placed to mediate and prevent escalations.
  • Highlighting opportunities to make better use of existing services – saving the University money by ensuring we’re using the full capabilities of existing services.
  • Finding opportunities to move business objectives forwards – understanding which IT teams have some free capacity enables us to shape solutions that need to meet short-term timescales.
  • Providing strategic input into business strategy to help develop business technology roadmaps – through three weeks of StARS workshops; creating proof of concepts to inform the Intelligent Campus vision; shaping a vision for a University-wide CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform.
  • Supporting business input into the Digital Strategy – through 1-1s; presentations; workshops.

Annual survey paints a positive picture

Responses from our annual Business Partner survey indicate that we’re definitely helping to make IT less confusing – note that none of the respondents selected “disagree” or “Strongly disagree”!

We’ve had some great feedback from our partner areas:

“We get great support from our IT Business Partner, Tara. What is really helpful is that Tara understands our business, what we need and how we work. This insight is extremely valuable.”

“Jon is a trusted and well regarded member of our extended team. He is willing to take ownership of issues and initiatives and helps steer them through the appropriate channels of escalation.”

“Sam Harrow is exceptional, he is extremely approachable and excels at trying to unite HAS and IT.”

“IT BP is extremely helpful on a personal level and helps to ensure that I am informed regarding major initiatives as well as being responsive to operational demands.”

Within IT Services, we are pleased that we have some really strong relationships with other teams. Several people outside of the team regularly join our Business Partnering daily stand-up meetings; they say it makes them feel more connected to the University and gives them a better understanding of what is going on within IT Services itself.

Aims for 2020

A lot of change is expected in our partner areas in 2020 and we already know to expect new senior stakeholders such as Academic Registrar; Head of Careers and Employability, Head of Admissions, Director of DARO and Director of Campus Services. We will therefore need to build up new relationships and prove our value again in these areas.

As the department starts delivering new services again – such as O365, MyUoB and Unified Comms – there will be an increased focus on the team promoting the new service capabilities and ensuring we’re getting the most value out of them.

We’ll need to support the new Digital Strategy, ensuring it’s understood by the Business – and that our partner areas are prepared and engaged with the digital changes planned. We will need to ensure that there is ongoing input and feedback from the Business to keep the Digital Strategy aligned to University ambitions.

We also want to continue to build up our network of contacts outside of the University, so when we’re asked “how do other HEs/businesses solve this problem?” we have the right contacts to source the input we need.

View the Business Partnering roadmap

We have started to update our Business Partnering service roadmap here:

Find out more

If you’d like to find out more about what we’re working on then please get in touch via

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