The quest to align IT and business is manifesting itself as a new role in IT: the business relationship manager (BRM). This person is assigned to a business unit to assess its IT needs and then translate those needs into projects. Chris Barber, senior vice president and CIO at WesCorp, a $1.3-billion financial services company, recently created 10 such BRM positions, each with responsibility for a different business area.
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BRMs at WesCorp. don't have the official BRM title; WesCorp calls them project managers or business analysts. At Welch Foods Inc., BRMs are known as business process specialists. Barber says the new role is working out well, but ideally he would have preferred that the business units create and oversee the role rather than the IT department. "Midsized companies don't have the resources to have a technology liaison," he says. But "we had to do this to better understand the business needs."
Megan Santosus, a former senior editor at CIO Decisions, is now a features editor for SearchDataCenter.com. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.