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Business Relationship Management needs IT Relationship Management

In an IT context, Business Relationship Management (BRM) represents the IT organization and manages the relationship with their customer, the business organization.  But if BRM represents IT, who represents the business in dealings with IT? Presumably ‘IT Relationship Management’. Except that we haven’t yet got around to naming and formalizing these activities. Or have we?

The Business Information Services Library (BiSL®) offers comprehensive guidance for business organizations (1) how to manage the information that their business processes rely on and (2) how to deal with the IT organization that provides IT Services. Dealing with IT is about transactions and relationships. The transactions encompass standard services, new or modified services and functionality, and advice as to how to benefit from new technologies. The relationships vary from operational to strategic, as illustrated by the three BiSL processes that address ‘IT Relationship Management’.

  • Strategic Supplier Management defines which parties are the most suitable to provide required knowledge and resources for information provision. It also defines the role and responsibilities of these IT providers so that the resources and knowledge are put to optimal use. Agreements are made and monitored on supplier-related subjects.
  • Contract Management is responsible for defining appropriate agreements for the IT providers’ services by the as well as monitoring and improving these. Within this process, the role of formal customer for the IT provider is fulfilled; Contract Management forms the interface at the managing level with the IT provider.
  • Operational Supplier Management issues assignments to the IT provider and monitors the work of the IT provider. This is the clear point of control of the IT providers at an operational level.


It takes two to tango. Only when the business organizes its side of the business-IT relationship, can BRM flourish and help the business to get the most value out of IT.

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