BRM + IT: the superheroes that build bridges

BRM + IT: the superheroes that build bridges

How the special powers of BRM can help IT to demonstrate its true value

It’s hard not to notice that Business Relationship Management (BRM) is the topic de jour on the Service Management scene right now. Die-hard ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) fans will know that BRM has been referenced in ITIL3 and ISO20000 for Service Management. So, what’s all the fuss about?

The big news is that BRM has become strategic and has also come of age, with responsibilities reaching far beyond those originally defined in ITIL version 3 and ISO20000 and is crucial to almost every trend and development within business IT.

Today, BRM has stepped up to its strategic role within the organisation with vigour. Indeed, C-suite and senior IT leaders are now appointing and deploying a host of dedicated business relationship managers as the conduit between IT and the rest of the business, safeguarding business convergence and the advocating of business strategy. With the prevalence of digital transformation and its management within a business context, it is easy to appreciate why BRM has become critical to business success and performance, bridging voids between customer, business unit and IT.

Forces that have influenced the rise of BRM include:

  • Increased pressure for business value from IT service management standards, best practice frameworks and improved IT service delivery and operations
  • Business convergence ̶  the switch from traditional service provider/order-taker to strategic partner providing improved business agility, availability, innovation and increased performance and costs management
  • Pressure from tech-savvy internal customers expecting full convergence with the business
  • The rising need to meet customer’s expectations of an entire digitised customer experience
  • The rise of predictive analytics advances in machine intelligence ̶  the ever-increasing connected world of the Internet of Things (IoT).

BRM’s special powers

Business Relationship Management powers digital transformation; facilitates progressive approaches such as DevOps, lean and agile IT; supports a dispersed SIAM IT infrastructure; and allows IT to finally bring its contribution to the fore and converge fully with the business to support strategic objectives.

By focusing on communication and people, BRM breaks down business unit silos, forges collaboration between previously disparate groups and delivers value in every interaction.

Moreover, BRM is found at the juncture(s) of end customers, business units and partners, IT business transformation, business ecosystem, business strategy, industry and operating environment, and IT service operations. The business relationship manager understands, interprets, guides and works with those tenants and interrelating areas. They can harmonise customer and business units’ needs with the provider’s capabilities and resources, while utilising legacy technology to increase business performance and success.

Through BRM, IT is empowered to think and communicate in business terms and direct business change that embraces continued innovation and fosters continuous business performance and success. To this end, IT is then no longer seen as a service provider but as a fully converged partner with the business, working together with all business units exploiting technology with agility and cost-efficiency. IT becomes an augmenter of accelerated positive business outcomes and business performance.

IT that does not have a true BRM capability can become marginalised, which is a huge risk factor for the future of any IT organisation and one that critically heightens the likelihood that IT will be separated from the business.

Through the adoption of strategic business maturity characteristics, BRM becomes the enabler of IT transformation. With this maturity, the IT business unit will flourish and embrace BRM by establishing the roles needed to deliver true IT-business partnership.

What about the technology?

BRM is about people and communication. However, as more BRM roles are recruited, a platform to harness and assist the function will be needed. This technology needs to accelerate digital business value through a unified value-centre platform and converge with multiple data sources across IT. It should include data exchange logic to translate, manipulate or augment integrated data in real time, and pull, push or synchronise data across systems. These platforms will need to provide a way for the business relationship manager and IT to address value discovery, value creation, value realisation and value optimisation. Such a BRM solution would provide an end-to-end business-value-centred IT.

Exciting times ahead

While many organisations persist within the malaise of their siloed existence, it is safe to say that the proliferation of BRM is changing things for the better. It is this impetus that may finally demonstrate the value that IT brings to the business.