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ITSM and the Role of the Business Relationship Manager

by Chief Navvian on

The role of the Business Relationship Manager is relatively new in ITSM. What is it, and how can it help your organization.

One of the trending topics in ITSM is business relationship management (BRM) and the role of the Business Relationship Manager. Do you need to add this capability to your organization, or is business relationship management just the latest buzzword, something that will go out of fashion quickly?  

What is business relationship management?

According to Wikipedia, “Business relationship management consists of knowledge, skills, and behaviors (or competencies) that foster a productive relationship between a service organization (e.g., Human Resources, Information technology, a finance department, or an external provider) and their business partners.”

BRM is nothing new, and the discipline has been researched and defined for a decade. IT service management seemed to be a little late coming to the party.

Business relationship management was an addition to ITIL® in the 2011 edition of the framework. ITIL defines it: ‘The Process or Function responsible for maintaining a relationship with the business. Business Relationship Management usually includes:

  • Managing personal Relationships with the Business managers
  • Providing input to Service Portfolio Management
  • Ensuring that the IT Service Provider satisfies the Business needs of the Customers

This Process has strong links with Service Level Management.’

Business Relationship Manager

The business relationship manager functions as a two-way conduit, working with the business to define requirements, communicating these to IT, and conversely representing IT to the company.

In an environment where the business can independently source services from outside the organization, business relationship management is crucial in maintaining a healthy relationship and communication stream between IT and business. This two-way conduit of information will ensure that the internal IT organization is a partner and not left out of the loop in planning new services.

The BRM can communicate the value of using in-house expertise to broker IT service agreements with third-party suppliers and ensure that IT is fully aware of all business requirements for the proposed service.

The BRM process is rapidly becoming one of the most pivotal roles in IT Service Management. With outsourcing, the business relationship manager provides the glue that enables a holistic provision of services to the business.

The flow of information between IT and the business is more critical now than it has ever been. These two sides of the service equation must work together as partners to bring innovation and value to the organization. This partnership is where business relationship management comes into its own.

Far from being a buzzword with a limited lifespan, BRM is here to stay and expand. Gartner predicted in its 2012 report – IT Professional Outlook, 2012 to 2016: Prepare for a Future Unlike the Past – that by the end of 2016, around 20% of IT personnel would be dedicated to Relationship Management and Change Leadership functions.

Business relationship management will add value to the business as a whole and give IT a clearer understanding of business requirements and a much-needed voice outside the walls of the IT department. Visit the BRM Institute to learn more.

Navvia Live DemoOriginally published Jan 19, 2015 13:52, updated July 15, 2022

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