Business technology is no longer a department, it is a virtual entity without definable boundaries. The challenge of managing this sprawl is why Business Relationship Management (BRM) is set to become the principle that underpins all business IT.
If IT-as-a-service adoption continues growing at the current rate, it will represent more than half of all IT spending within five years according to research from Deloitte. In other words, the majority of IT used by the business won’t sit within the walls of the organisation, instead residing in faceless data centres in far-away locations.
For IT department suffering long-standing issue with communication, this represents a massive challenge. The business needs IT that is responsive to its specific needs and to deliver this, communication must become faster and more focused. Yet if vast swathes of the technology elements are located elsewhere, how can they all be juggled successfully?
Time for BRM
Welcome to the new world of Business Relationship Management (BRM). What started off as a sound principle within the ITIL body of knowledge has grown in importance and relevance every year. BRM is not about processes or technology, it is about people, and the relationships that ensure the IT ‘nuts and bolts’ are in the right place at the right time. As IT grows outwards, the importance of keeping these relationships healthy and manageable becomes more of an imperative.
IT-as-a-service could actually be a blessing in disguise. By moving the technology elsewhere and treating it like a commodity to be switched on and off, IT departments can begin acting less like technology guardians and more like facilitators of business strategy. By effectively ‘unplugging’ IT, savvy Business Relationship Managers can move the emphasis away from the mechanics of IT, and focus instead on business value, business outcomes and sourcing the IT services the business needs to progress.
As 2017 begins, BRM seems like an important topic to research. By 2018, I believe BRM could become indispensable for managing business IT.