TO BRM or not to BRM?

Part 1: Your Motivation as an IT Leader

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter

There are three fundamental areas to consider in deciding whether your company is ready for a Business Relationship Manager (BRM):

1) Your motivation as an IT leader
2) Business partner and IT Organisation Maturity
3) Skills of the BRM required and existing skills within the current organisation

1) Your motivation as an IT leader.

The point at which you realise there is a requirement, and the fact that you need to do something differently is crucial in terms of starting the journey. However, the rationale you formulate as your start point will  determine the success in the final outcome.

  • "There are too many requirements and they keep changing"
  • "We need to improve communications"
  • "We have some very demanding stakeholders"
  • "Our customers just don't understand IT"
  • "We need someone to manage client projects and be the face of IT"

As a consequence of these start points other implementations experienced have resulted in a BRM describing their role in the organisation as an outcome more akin to:

  • Key Account Manager
  • Consultant/ Business Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • Service Delivery Manager
  • More anecdotally "Requirements Gatherer", "whipping boy"....

Let's start with a definition of what a Business Relationship Manager is:

"A Business Relationship Manager (BRM) is a role that serves as the strategic interface between a Provider (eg. IT function) and one or more Business Partners to stimulate, reveal and shape business demand for the Provider’s products and services and ensure that the potential business value from those products and services is captured, realised, optimised and recognised."


Key words are:

  • "strategic" - articulating and converging the long term plans for the company, business partners and IT provider
  • "value" - ensuring that the provider benefits delivered are those required by the business plans.

So the question is, does the BRM role fit the rationale you have ?

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