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Business and IT alignment: the importance of being focused on the same goals – Part 1

Based in Cape Town, South Africa, ITWinners is a consulting and education company founded by Gary Hardy. Focusing on the learning and development of people in enterprises linked to business strategy, their goal is to deliver business value from skills development and to facilitate adoption of improved working practices by coaching and guiding people at work.

Gary explains: “Our focus is on technology but we develop skills across the enterprise in the business as well as in the IT function. We cover the key pillars in a digital world: governance, strategy, architecture, emerging technologies, service management, security, and performance measurement. Over the past year Business Relationship Management (BRM) has become a primary focus and has widened our scope to include HR and Finance teams as well as IT.”

To help us learn/understand a bit more about the increased focus on Business Relationship Management and the growth of the BRM community in Africa, Gary answers a few of our questions below.

What do you feel successful Business Relationship Management can achieve?

BRM is the answer to the business and IT alignment challenge that we have struggled with for as long as I can remember. In an era where technology is so critical to enterprise success, support functions and services providers have never been more important. BRM focuses on business value and makes sure providers of services recognise and respond to these value drivers, rather than just blindly providing a service out of a “catalogue”.

At the end of the day any good practice is only as good as the people who apply them. With everyone focused on valued outcomes and communicating with one another effectively, technology becomes a success story rather than another disappointment or serious operational failure.

What does your role as a #BRM Legend (BRM Regional Leader) entail?

The BRM Institute is a bit different to the traditional view of a membership/educational organisation. It is more like a community of passionate people who want to make a difference and want to share practical expert know how. I connected with Aaron Barnes, the CEO of the BRM Institute, a year ago and it was an instant meeting of minds and I gladly took on the role of leading this concept in our region.

“My role is to communicate and explain why BRM is so powerful, and to facilitate a growing number of individuals to get involved, contribute and build a local community here in Africa.”

Africa is an exciting region growing faster than anywhere else in the world and without the legacy challenges that more developed countries are struggling with. We also have the youngest demographics globally with people hungry for change and success. Business relationships are however immature and so BRM is key to successful adoption of technology and to facilitate economic growth.

Why do executives need to embrace IT as an integral part of running the business?

I don’t think anyone can any longer ignore the fact that technology is an integral part of everything we do, both in business as well as in our personal lives. Technology has broken down all the barriers and everyone is connected. Commercial and public sector enterprises deal directly with consumers enabled by IT. So strategically and operationally IT is vitally important. When it doesn’t work we see clearly what this means.

“Executives need to be fully aware of both the potential opportunities that IT provides as well as the dangers of not using IT properly.”

It is the executives who have to make the tough decisions and ask the difficult questions – Where to invest? What are the risks? What to improve? BRM facilitates the involvement of executives by encouraging collaboration, teamwork and trusted relationships. It promotes the idea of shared responsibility, not simply passing the buck or expecting leaders to instantly grasp an understanding of complex issues.

See part 2 of Gary’s blog for more information.

Visit http://itwinners.com to find out more about IT Winners

For more information about becoming BRM certified visit: http://www.apmg-international.com/brmi

Posted in Business relationship management, Qualifications.

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