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Book Review – Be The Business: CIOs in the New Era of IT

I reviewed Martha Heller's last book, The CIO Paradox: Battling the Contradictions of IT Leadership back in October 2012, because I thought it was an important book for my typical blog readership, the IT community. When Martha invited me to review her new book, I jumped at the opportunity because: I respect Martha's perspective—she is both an IT executive [...]

What Is Business-IT Convergence? How Do You Create a Converged Operating Model?

I was introduced to the phenomenon of Business-IT Convergence in the late 1980’s by one of the world’s leading IT thinkers and teachers—Professor James Cash, then Professor and Senior Associate Dean at Harvard Business School. I had just delivered a presentation about Business-IT Alignment to an audience of CIOs. The presentation was well received, and [...]

Razing Silos with Business Relationship Management

  IT Organizations are complex organisms that have to deal with rapidly changing, complicated subjects. Such environments are fascinating places for organizational archaeologists and anthropologists to study, revealing layer upon layer of legacy architectures, organizing structures, artifacts and sub-cultures. While the technologies we manage change quickly, the methods and structures we use to manage them [...]

A New Era of Enterprise IT Leadership?

This post proposes that we have been through two distinct eras of IT leadership, and are entering a third—one that is fundamentally different from prior eras. While the first two eras were characterized by centralized leadership, the emerging third era is dispersed and networked, emphasizing a different set of skills for IT leaders. This is not a return to the old ‘decentralized’ IT operating model of times long gone, and explains the emergence of the Business Relationship Manager as a key IT leadership role.

Why ITIL® Can Be Dangerous to Business Relationship Management Health

While establishing robust Service Management discipline is essential 'table stakes' for an IT organization with low supply maturity (i.e., one that is not good at keeping the proverbial 'lights on and trains running on time') it does not address the most important and powerful capabilities for driving business value realization from information and IT. And while ITIL® can be an effective framework for establishing good Service Management discipline, the ITIL framework describes BRM from a mostly tactical and operational perspective—a woefully restricted flavor of BRM compared to that described by Business Relationship Management Institute (BRMI) and embodied in the APMG-International accredited Business Relationship Management Professional® and Certificate of Business Relationship Management® training and certification. BRMI's Business Relationship Maturity Model defines five levels of relationship maturity. ITIL focuses on reaching Level 3—Service Provider. This is certainly significantly better than an Ad Hoc or Order Taker relationship, but should not be the ultimate relationship ambition, and should not be the primary focus for the BRM.

Business Relationship Management is a Contact Sport!

I sometimes find my Business Relationship Management (BRM) trainees, coaching and consulting clients assume that BRM is a somewhat passive role, lacking in accountability and without ‘sharp teeth’. This perception is badly mistaken and can be harmful to the successful deployment of the BRM role. Putting on the Boxing Gloves Among my most popular posts [...]

Are Business Relationship Managers Accountable for Anything?

Once again, this post was inspired by a question that recently appeared on the BRMI member’s Online Campus. The member asked the following question (paraphrased): Our IT Operations group does not see the value of the BRM role. They believe that the BRM role has no real accountability, while being viewed as holding others accountable [...]