Strategic Human Capital Insights

9 Critical Competencies for the IT Relationship Manager

Romantic relationship concept as two hearts made of torn crumpled paper on weathered wood as symbol for romance attachment and exchange of feelings and emotions of love.I recently hosted a forum with Fred Mapp of Mapping IT for CIO’s and Senior IT professionals entitled "Future Proofing the Business of IT" dealing with:

  • Future organizational needs
  • Future technology needs
  • Future competitive advantage
  • Company growth acceleration
  • Maximum corporate profitability

Taking a page from the recent Fortune Global Forum, one of the 4 challenges facing business today:

The Greatest Challenge Isn’t Tech, but People - Creating the right culture is the central challenge for surviving technology-driven change. Process has dominated our business thinking and operations for the past 15 – 20 years.  At this point in business, we have taken process about as far as it can go.  People, a company’s human capital, have finally been acknowledged as a key, critical business driver for the future.

The Role of the IT Relationship Manager:

The role of the IT Relationship Manager came up as a major discussion point. An IT organization can have the best strategy, technology and processes in place. This represents ‘The What’ planning critical to the positioning of IT. However, the best strategy can stall or fail at implementation, without a human capital strategy supporting it. All the talk of strategy, technology and process are great and must take place.  We can talk about them forever and likely agree on the concepts. HOWEVER, the link between strategy, ‘The What’, and Execution – ‘The How, and When’ critically relies on one key role in any IT organization – the IT Relationship Manager. This role is the linking pin that aligns strategy with execution and creates the ongoing IT Value Proposition.

Download our 13-step competency checklist to build the IT department of the  future

Without this high-functioning role delivering at the highest possible level, IT organizations run the risk of misalignment, missed execution and unmet expectations. If this role is non existent, undefined or non performing, do we still need to wonder why IT is seen as a cost center, overhead and simply a disenfranchised maintenance function that is not invited to the strategic party. 


Two-Part Considerations Regarding the IT Relationship Manager Role:

Part 1 – IT Relationship Manager Role Definition

Do you have a defined IT Relationship Manager role?

Do you have specific competencies defined for this role?

Do you have a robust governance process regarding the role and the functions interacting with this role?

Part 2 - 9 Critical Competencies for the IT Relationship Manager

  1. Business Acumen and Intellectual Curiosity
  2. Transformative Change Leadership – Anticipating and Partnering
  3. Managing the Matrix Organization
  4. Stakeholder Management
  5. Critical Thinking and Collaborative Problem Solving
  6. Accelerated Decision Making
  7. Managing Client Expectations
  8. Influencing and Negotiating
  9. Marketing the IT Message


The IT Relationship Manager role has come of age.  It’s time to plan for and act upon establishing this robust role as the critical business function it is!

Are you looking to build the IT department of the future? Download the IT Competency Checklist to help you determine if your IT Department is ready to perform at sustainable peak levels for all necessary business skills in your organization. We also invite you to schedule a complimentary assessment with a member of our team.

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Topics: Information Technology

Posted by Joanne Flynn

Joanne Flynn

Joanne T. Flynn heads up the human capital advisory group, Phoenix Strategic Performance, Inc. Previously, she was a Managing Director with Phoenix Group International and was Vice President / Director of Global Learning and Development at Goldman, Sachs for nine years. Joanne works with organizations as they face global growth and competitive challenges. She works with her clients to be both externally focused and internally responsive. With her unique background, she aligns competitive strategic efforts with related internal organizational leadership challenges. With the benefit of her career-long focus, Joanne contributes the unique insight of aligning strategy to internal organizational structure and process. She focuses on human capital relative to strategic initiatives, accelerated business growth, value creation, and business development. Joanne holds a Master of Arts degree in Business Management from the University of Oklahoma. In addition, she holds a double degree major in History and German from St. Elizabeth University, as well as certificates from a variety of leading universities and professional training and development organizations. Joanne has recently published her latest book, Accelerating Business Success, The Human Asset Management Strategy.

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