Convergence Culture is Key to Business Success

Posted | Category: BRM Capability | Contributed

It’s time to stop playing the children’s game of “Whisper Down the Lane” (or “Telephone”) and move past the culture of alignment.

Think back to when you were younger. Picture yourself in a classroom or the schoolyard. The kids you are with decide to play a game called “Whisper Down the Lane” (or “Telephone,” depending on where you lived).

The premise of the game was simple—everyone stood in a line, the person at one end whispered a message into the next person’s ear, and the message traveled down the line in a whisper until it reached the last person. That person would then say the message out loud and everyone would compare it to what they heard.

The final message was almost always a far cry from what was originally relayed by the first person in the line.

Fast Forward to Today

Many professionals still play “Whisper Down the Lane” without even knowing it. How?

Their organizations haven’t moved past an alignment and cooperation culture to that of full convergence yet. Instead of IT and business partners working together as one unit, they align. Similar to the game above, the message is relayed one person at a time down the line.

In a culture of convergence, however, everyone is told the original message simultaneously, as a group. Which method do you think is more effective? The answer is clear.

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IT must be involved intricately with the business in order to meet needs and share ownership of results.

A culture of convergence is key to business success in our modern age. Today’s organizations are more pressured than ever to adapt to business partner demands that can change at a moment’s notice. This requires organizations to be nimble—meaning IT must be involved intricately with the business in order to meet demands, build strategy, and share ownership of results. Without convergence, you get a corporate version of “Whisper Down the Lane.”

Ways of Facilitating the Convergence Culture Between IT and the Business

Create a Business Relationship Management Capability

You can’t master what you don’t focus on—therefore, build a BRM function. Taking this action can bring immediate focus and attention to working together. The dedicated BRM role is the lynchpin to convergence and brings best practice and vision to the needs of today’s agility environment.

Develop a Value Realization Focus

Our business partners typically get compensated on results, which are tied to value, not activity. IT needs to have the same focus. When IT focuses on the same goals as the business, it can thrive and enable convergence. Therefore, value must be the focus.

Ask your partners how they are measured. Learn the keys to their success, and then work hard to achieve it—the effort itself will drive convergence.

Lead from the Front

Convergence spreads when individuals in organizations commit to it. We all can find reasons why convergence is not possible, but in reality, these are only excuses.

Recognize that convergence is possible, and it starts with those responsible for business relationship management. Stand up! Take the lead. Others will join you.

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When IT focuses on the same goals as the business, it can thrive and enable convergence.

Business partners everywhere are shouting for more from companies with which they do business. It’s time to stop “whispering down the lane” with alignment activities—instead, bring out the bullhorns and shout value through convergence. It is the key to business agility, and it is the key to success in our modern age.

Gerry Robinson is the Chief Executive Officer of Cognitive Insights and has over 17 years of experience in the field of information technology. He is on the Executive Council at BRM Institute, and he is a published author of four books on technology, IT leadership, and business and IT convergence. Gerry holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) with the Project Management Institute (PMI).

You can read more from Gerry here.

4 Responses

  1. Moustafa says:

    A short amazing and to the point article.
    Amazing word “Instead of IT and business partners working together as one unit, they align. “

  2. Anne Matthews says:

    Thanks for sharing. Agreed! ITS measures for implementing a new solution or application successfully is not the business partner’s target. For example, if the ITS goal is to successfully implement an electronic invoice processing system; but the business partner’s goals are on-time payments and an X% increase in achieving early payment discounts. The project could be so much more successful if the ITS goal was also on-time payments and an X% increase in achieving early payment discounts! Not the activity of delivering a system. Important to note – if the system is not delivered successfully, then that’s a whole other topic.

  3. Byron Lynn says:

    Great article. We often brag about how well we are “aligned” in our business models but in reality it is not that successful.

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