As the person with the CIO job you are faced with a double challenge: despite the importance of information technology you have a limited budget and you have limited resources. This means that in order to get everything done that the rest of the company is expecting you to do, you are going to have to get creative. One way to do this is to get some outside help in the form of partnering with other businesses. The secret lies in knowing how to do this.
5 Tips For Establishing Business Partnerships
One of your jobs as CIO is to always be on the lookout for partners who can help your IT department achieve more. The difference between a partner and a vendor is that a partner won’t be trying to sell you anything. Rather, they will be trying to grow their business by working with you. In order to determine if a given company would be a good partner, here are 5 tips for evaluating their potential:
- Inside Your Industry Is Where The Best Potential Partners Are: Studies have shown that when a CIO chooses to partner with a company that is within his or her industry, this produces the best results. The thinking is that your IT department will be able to provide something that they can’t and vice versa. Their hope is that by partnering with your IT department, they will develop new skills or insights that they can then use to bring in new customers. A good way to find potential partners is to check out their web sites and see if they have a “partners” page. If they are already partnering with other companies in your industry, then they may be a good candidate for you to partner with.
- Make The Effort – Reach Out: No matter how long you’ve been a CIO, this is the scary part. The company that you are thinking about partnering with probably doesn’t know about you. You are going to have to take the initiative. Find a way to get in contact with them. Reaching out through a common friend is the best way, but you can always use their web site or even LinkedIn to make contact.
- Create A (Simple) Plan: If the other company expresses interest in partnering with you, then you are going to need to show up with a plan for how you can work together. Your plan needs to clearly show how the partnership is going to benefit both of you. Keep it nice and simple – there is no need to complicate things at this early stage of the game. A good way to get things started is for both firms to cross-promote each other’s offerings. Give that a try and see where things go from there.
- Test, Test, Test: You can never know if a partnership is going to work out from the start. This means that you are always going to have to be testing the partnership in order to make sure that both of you are getting out of it what you need. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to what your IT department’s customers think – with the partnership in place have you become more valuable to them?
- Dance With Other Partners: No one partner is going to be able to provide your IT department with all of the extra resources that you are going to need. Even while you partner with your new partner, you are going to want to still be exploring partnering with other firms. It is entirely possible that you may bring on board additional partners that your existing partners will also be able to work with.
What All Of This Means For You
The person in the CIO position is always dealing with limitations on what they can do: limited budgets, limited staff, and, of course, limited time. One creative way that they can overcome these limitations is to partner with other businesses in order to be able to accomplish more of what the rest of the business is expecting them to do.
In order to set up an effective business partnership, a CIO has to be able to find other businesses within his or her own industry – similarities can help to make a partnership work out. The next step is to overcome any doubts that you might have and reach out. Every partnership is a test. Give it a try and see if it works. If it doesn’t, then try different partners.
The good news for CIOs is that there is a virtually unlimited number of firms that may be suitable partners for them. The trick will be determining which ones hold the highest probability of being good partners. Take the time to follow these 5 tips and you just might find that with your new partners you are a CIO who can do more with what you have.
Question For You: How many business partnerships should a CIO have?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
In the 21st Century, all business seems to be done globally. However, in order for the person with the CIO job to be effective, you are going to have to be able to communicate in the old fashion way – face to face. What this means is that you will need to master the art of office communications as yet another way to capture the importance of information technology. It’s not impossible, but you do need to know what you are doing.