Role of Business Relationships Manager is a fairly new item on HR list and looking at all my years in IT I can definitely say that we do need this role. Thankfully it finally exists. More and more companies recognizing the need for it, and that’s great!
Let me explain WHY.
Here what this role does: it helps establish relationships and open communication channels between business units within the same company. By doing this it usually either discovers hidden issues or addresses the obvious ones and fixes them. These issues are usually silent suckers of money, time, productivity, good relationships or in most cases all of the above. Now let me elaborate.
When a company grows it expands within itself: more departments, branches, etc. So what is happening next is a disconnection between parts of the company. Since I am an IT girl – I’ll be talking about relationships between IT and Businesses.
IT department needs to accommodate businesses with more requested services by adding new application infrastructures, 3rd parties tools, online services, etc., plus take care of everything else that comes out of this adventure, such as maintenance, support, updates, etc. So what is happening next? In this process, some important areas are missed, and these created gaps are becoming “silent issues”. Here are just several examples:
- Lack of service catalog is usually causing duplication of services, so that means not only building additional unnecessary infrastructure but all bells and whistles that come with this venture: additional production licenses, backup and recovery processes, monitoring, security matters, etc. = extra money
- Applications misuse. Here is my favorite example: SharePoint was built, but nobody explained to the Businesses that there is a certain limit to how many records you can stuff into the DB. The end result is poor application performance and frequent outages. Due to the fact that the obsolete docs are not moved out of production, there are additional costs for production licenses, storage, backup/recovery, monitoring, incidents. And! Sometimes to respond to the incidents a company have to involve 3rd parties consulting companies which can become very pricey… = extra money
- Some shared services are orphans, which causes neglect of those services = extra money
There are more things that maybe don’t cause extra expenses, but definitely friction and stress in teams, such as misunderstanding between businesses and IT about what does it take to deliver the service and support it, or why IT is so slow to respond to some minor issues, etc.
Other issues that growing department is usually dealing with are “vertical” and “horizontal” disconnection within the department itself. In IT’s case, I’ve seen cases where there is barely an understanding between what are the functions of L1, L2 and L3 support and lack of communication between them. That can definitely cause certain problems. In “horizontal” case there is a lack of communication and understanding between IT sub-divisions (such as Network, DB, Security and other sub-divisions) which is another evil attribute of a big IT department. And here is the most painful one: misunderstanding of project time frames.
So tons of things are forgotten, neglected, misunderstood… and the reason it all happening is: just like a governance those gaps – missing links are nobody’s responsibilities. There is no accountable person for making sure those missing parts are taken care of.
An alignment of business expectations and IT abilities are very important when a company reaches certain maturity level. Also, a certain level of IT transparency should exist in order for businesses and IT co-exist peacefully and understand each other.
That’s why BRM is a very important role. Definitely worth having it.
In addition, I’d like to say that BRM and Governance are very connected disciplines. The processes should be outlined and implemented in many areas. This way the results will be achieved much easier.
To conclude I want to give the BRM movement thumbs up. We do need it and if you are a big company and have a good BRM on your team – good for you! Things will go much smoother.