Business relationship management is crucial for building and maintaining strong relationships between a service provider and customers.

If organisations want to get the most from IT, they need to ensure their IT service provider and the organisation work with rather than against each other. The same applies if the IT service provider is to get the most from its relationship with the customer organisation. The role of a business relationship manager is therefore vital to both provider and customer alike.

In my recently published BCS book, Business Relationship Manager, I look at best practice for this business-centric role: the skills required, responsibilities and career progression.

From my experience in this type of role in local government and in the CCTA, where I managed the relationship between the central government IT authority and a number of government departments, here are my top tips:

  • Ensure the BRM role is understood by both the business and IT service provider and that expectations are clear
  • Be open and honest in your communication with all parties involved - long lasting relationships are fuelled by trust and integrity
  • Ignore the internal politics at your peril, but remember that playing politics can easily undermine trust
  • Remember the role is about adding value on both sides of the relationship and not about being an advocate of one side or the other
  • Allegiances need to be made on both sides, so keep skills and knowledge as up to date as possible
  • Have a real understanding of your customers, this will give an insight into what will make them successful

Do you work in this type of role? Let us know what skills and/or training you think are pivotal to succeeding as a business relationship manager. We would also welcome any interesting stories of your experience in the role.

About the author

Dr Ernest Brewer has over 30 years’ experience in IT. A long-time champion of ITIL Service Management, he has a record of implementing ITIL good practice in complex organisations.