The Manifesto of an ‘Outside-in’ Business Relationship Manager

Posted | Category: Business Relationship Management Research | Contributed

Traditionally, Enterprise IT controlled the choice and supply of IT within the firm, Outside-in BRMand CIOs deployed Business Relationship Managers out to ‘the business’ as essentially a sales force to understand requirements and define new IT solutions. The astute BRM aspired to be a full member of the business management team, participating in discussions about strategy and business change, not just about IT. While Enterprise IT tended to be positioned as a ‘Provider’ of various systems and services, the effective BRM was also a ‘Promoter’ of new technologies and a ‘Partner’ of business colleagues, envisioning, defining and implementing business change.

Today, cloud computing and consumerization are causing Enterprise IT to lose control of IT within the firm. Many support functions that were once serviced by Enterprise IT can now be sourced more effectively from the cloud. More importantly, sales, marketing, engineering and product development are developing and ‘owning’ their own technology. At the same time, modern employees expect to be able to use the technologies they are familiar with, hence the burgeoning BYOT movement.

These developments, which we collectively refer to as Outside-in, represent a major transformation of the technology landscape and threaten to push Enterprise IT to the sidelines. If Enterprise IT is to retain a central, front-of-the-firm role going forward, its BRMs will have to raise their game and learn to operate effectively in an outside-in world.

BRMs will have to be comfortable in this world if they are to be effective, and this represents a substantial cultural change. However, inside-out IT isn’t going away any time soon, and ensuring the necessary interoperability between both sides will continue to be a key BRM role. Thus becoming more outside-in requires both a change in emphasis and an expansion in the BRM role. It presents new challenges and opportunities.

This article is extracted from our report, Outside-in BRM – Turning Relationship Managers into Digital Leaders.

I will expand on this further in our next article, but for more information in the meantime, visit or contact me at [email protected].

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