New breed of Outside-In Business Relationship Managers critical to IT’s future

Author: Kirt Mead, James Kirk (

Categories: BRM
Typically the business will have discussions about some initiative and those discussions typically do not involve IT.  They will have discussions with sales, with product management, with marketing, with every function except IT. After they have decided what they want to do then they call up IT and they bring them in and they say ok we want to have the following system by next week and so IT is treated as a vendor, the business doesn’t see them as a partner and so they bring them in only after the important conversations have occurred. Now moving to the issue of business relationship management most of our clients have developed the business relationship management or BRM function as a way of attempting to establish better relationships with the business and those BRM’s have typically seen themselves as the sales force for central IT. They are the ones that would go out and try to understand the businesses requirements and then go back and get a system built to meet those requirements and so that has been the model and it is still the case that the BRM activity very often involves this kind of dialogue and the acid test of a successful BRM is whether he or she is at the table for the early meetings of any business change and so the thrust of our training programme is to create the skills, particularly the soft skills, in BRM’s that permit that to occur. Without strong relationship skills the BRM’s don’t get to the table and they remain suppliers, they remain providers in the model that I presented earlier, so they are in the lowest level of value. Now with the shift to Outside-In, with more services coming from the cloud then the BRM needs to be representing not only enterprise IT but also representing alternatives that might come from the cloud directly and so the BRM has to have a wider set of alternatives available and has to be able to advise the business on broader provisioning opportunities that might be there, that is a more demanding mandate than simply selling your enterprise IT solution because in the past enterprise IT had a monopoly on IT basically and the strengthened the BRM in their discussions, now enterprise IT has lost that monopoly and the BRM has to compete against other services so in effect the Outside-In BRM is a more demanding role that the traditional BRM.  
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