BRM Cafe with Paul Wilkinson – Learning by Doing


Peter: Welcome to BRM Café, Episode 11. In this episode, I talk to Paul Wilkinson about simulations to show business IT convergent, skills and behavior for BRMs. This BRM strategic partnering and the importance of communication. In the end, we discuss his cartoons and how old they are and him being a grumpy old man.

Peter: So Paul, welcome to the BRM Café Podcast. Can you explain a little bit to who you are and what you've done?

Paul: Okay. Yeah. Paul Wilkinson is the name. I'm one of the co-directors, co-owners of a company called Gaming Works. Gaming Works, we build business simulation games to help organizations learn new best practices or to help organizations change behavior. One of the games we have is called Grab a Pizza which is a business and IT alignment game. I use the word alignment. I know you're going to look at me in a very horrible way in a minute, trying to get people to go from alignment to convergence. So we've been using business simulations for many years. My background is in IT I was an IT operator database administrator system manager. I've done lots and lots of IT functions and now moved across more towards helping business and IT

Peter: Okay. So, yeah, you built the simulation and, of course, I have experience with those. Can you tell me a little bit about the Grab a Pizza simulation and what it's about and how then does that work?

Paul: Okay. Our first game that we had was called Apollo 13 which was very much for IT service management and ITIL and a lot of companies have put the ITIL stuff in place. But they're struggling to actually move towards being a partner for the business, understanding the business. So we developed a new game. It's called Grab a Pizza, is based around Domino's pizzas and what it is, it basically in the game we have three-- a very badly performing organization. They're losing revenue. They're losing share price of news and market. They've got old IT systems. The systems don't support the business. So when they get--

Peter: So normal situations?

Paul: Normal situations. So we create a normal situation where we have three business managers in the game, all wanting to get their strategic objectives. All with lots of projects that they want to realize. Now they all have to share the IT resources to get these projects done. Now in the game, I.T it is also a bit falling apart, old infrastructure. A lot of downtime. A lot of outages. So in the game, IT is struggling with maintaining existing infrastructure and services and quality. But now having to take on board all of these various projects from the different business units and it's just a question of how do you prioritize all this work. How do you decide what goes first? Either businesses initiatives deliver value or upgrading IT initiatives to reduce value leakage and risks and outages. So it's a good way bringing IT and business people together to explore and how do we manage this stuff and explore what is the role of the business relationship manager in being a partner to both the business as well as the IT organization and helping both of those understand each other better.

Peter: And this is where you-- I know you mentioned business IT alignment.

Paul: Yeah.

Peter: That's where it started, of course. It is about a business IT convergence eventually where they actually--

Paul: Eventually.

Peter: Eventually were to get together.

Paul: Yeah. It is.

Peter: And that's what they experienced during the simulation.

Paul: Yeah, that's it. We play a number of game rounds. In the first game round, it's pretty much like you said, people recognize it. They say, "Hey, this is just like reality." The business shouting that's all the time, when not knowing what's going on and the business is not listening to IT So the first couple of game rounds are all about aligning, aligning mental attitudes. Do we both see the same picture? Are we both understanding the same problems? Are we both willing and ready to make the next step to become that partnership? And by the end of the game, we have business and IT converge with one strategic direction, one strategic focus.

Peter: What I find with-- from business IT convergence eventually becomes so fused together that there is no difference between business and IT anymore.

Paul: That's right. At the end it is we. What are we going to do about this? And then the first couple of game rounds is a lot of what are you doing. Only you guys need to do this for us. But at the end, they all get together and we need to solve this problem. We need to address these issues.

Peter: Yeah.

Paul: So it is very much changing that attitude.

Peter: So when people do this, what is the experience possibly for them. And I mean do they see that possibly, okay, this is now exactly what I need to do. And then--

Paul: Yeah. What we do is we take them back throughout the day through the three game rounds and we say to them, "What did you apply today in this game that you need to take away and apply?" And then they'll come out with a whole list of improvement actions like changing the role and responsibilities of the BRM, putting service portfolio management in place. The business helping IT with priority and escalation mechanism. They'll come up with a complete list of things they want to take away. But now we get to the difficult issue. They go back to their daily work and their daily frustrations and they go back to behaving the old ways they behave.

Peter: It's the same, basically, when you're-- even when you're teaching them, basically, just the foundational material IT to a lot of the BRM professional classes. And you can basically say this is what you need to do but it's so difficult for people to actually after that--

Paul: After.

Peter: -- to do something about it. So--

Paul: That's the big problem especially as you think about is-- the problem is even worse because if you think where many IT organizations are and business, they're both immature in doing this. They're both immature and in the game, they learn and they recognize, we're immature. We have to change. But unless they got somebody to help coach them and make that change, it's like bringing up kids in a way. You can tell your kids to tidy up the room and they know they should tidy up the room, but they're not going to tidy up the room. You have to continually remind them, continually coach them, continually show them. And it's the same after the game.

Peter: Isn't that just sending a text message to your kids? Basically saying--

Paul: Exactly. Yeah, yeah.

Peter: -- tidy the room.

Paul: Really. Yeah. I'm sure that work, Pete. I'm sure that worked. I know it took about five years before my kids started picking up the clothes off the floor.

Peter: They'll still don't do it.

Paul: They still don't do it. And the same applies to this business and IT and that's why I think the BRM has a crucial role in this behavior change stuff, is taking and helping coach business and IT people to change behaviors.

Peter: In your opinion, what does a BRM need to-- and have for skill sets and competencies then to be able to do that?

Paul: Organizational change, management competencies are really critical. There's a particular set of training that's out at the moment. Organizational Behavior Management which I think is very, very valuable. It teaches people to say, why do-- what motivates people to behave the way they do? What are the consequences that drives them? Because consequences dictate everything you do. It's like speed traps. You can put a speed limit on the road saying, maximum hundred. People die, people go-- you can put all the posters up you like. But people will still speed. If they are late for an appointment, they're going to speed. So trying to get people to change behavior, there must be a consequence that will actually stop them do that. Road signs are not enough. Maybe one of the consequences is make the fines so high they won't speed or you have to show them, demonstrate to them the other benefits they're going to get from it. And I think BRMs need to learn this. They need to learn what motivates people to behave the way they currently do and how can you build a relationship to help them change. So empathy with stakeholders is critical. Communication skills are absolutely critical. It's still one of the biggest barriers all teams discover is that business speaks a totally different language to IT and even when we played the Grab a Pizza game at the last BRM conference, you saw how difficult it was. These were even practicing BRMs. And when we had that change meeting, they were talking in RFCs and bits and bytes and network and nobody was talking in business terms. So BRMs have to help IT overcome that language barrier as well.

Peter: Yeah. We often say that BRMs need to be what we call bilingual. And they talk a language of a business and IT But I think its more than even that, they need to do that translation but also being able to be educator and still explain to the business mostly what they need to--

Paul: Very much.

Peter: -- they need to have.

Paul: Very much. Help the business understand the questions they need to ask.

Peter: Yeah.

Paul: So you're right. It's not just speaking the same language. It's also happen in I-- business understand what question should you be asking? What is the information you really need to be able to make decisions? How do you need to help IT understand what value is from your perspective and then help translate into IT and help translate all of those IT technical terms back into business terms?

Peter: Yeah.

Paul: I think a big part of it-- communication is one. But I think the biggest issue most IT companies have is understanding value. It's still-- we have these ABC cards, attitude, behavior, culture cards. You're familiar with them? We've done workshops all around the world more than 4,000 companies now. And for the last 15 years, every year, IT has to learn understanding of business impact and priority comes out. It's the number one card. And BRMs, I think can play a really important role in helping IT people understand the business better.

Peter: From a value perspective, you mean?

Paul: From-- well, first of all, understanding what is the business does. What other business processes. What other business activities. But how do they generate value and what does each business stakeholder see as value.

Peter: Yeah. I think this has been going on forever. I mean it's--

Paul: Yeah, it has.

Peter: I know we talked about it in the-- what is it? The end of the 90's or something. Like already [inaudible]. Okay, what are some of our challenges? But value is-- I mean currently working on the value guide for the BRM Institute and it's one of the most difficult things to do is to even define value for a lot of organizations because value needs to be measurable. And when you get to that measurement, it becomes very, very difficult to sort of say what it is. And most people actually translate it in very dollar--

Paul: Yeah, financial terms.

Peter: Financial terms, etc. But there is so much intangible value that still needs to be managed. But it's--

Paul: There's so much-- you're absolutely right. And I'm looking for that guidance when it comes out because that guidance--

Peter: Me, too.

Paul: Yeah. It's needed for business people and it's needed for IT people.

Peter: Yeah.

Paul: Because even business people-- you're right. They often think in terms of just the hard financial aspects.

Peter: Yes. That is a little bit cultural as well, I have a feeling. A lot of organizations are purely focused on everything needs to be translated in dollars.

Paul: Yeah.

Peter: To be honest, I mean that's sometimes just not possible.

Paul: No. You're absolutely right.

Peter: But it's in the complex world that we are in right now becomes so difficult to even get simple measurements, basically, for a lot of organizations that show clearly the value. So-- yeah, that's some of the work--

Paul: There's a lot of work still to be done. I think the first step needs to be understanding what somebody perceives as value. Just asking the question. Is it Leanna?

Peter: Leanne. Yes.

Paul: Leanne. 

Paul: No. I think that's a great example of something that needs to be done. I loved it when she said she spends a lot of time in the business with business people and going to business conferences. We've seen at the start she had no idea what they were talking about the business conferences. But the more you sit with your business partner to listen to business problems, you'll start to understand what they consider is valuable or what they see as risks and most IT people don't take the time out to try to understand that. So sit down with them. We had one of these, I think it was one of the European tax authorities. I explain this to the CIO and I asked him, "Have you ever sat down with a user?" And he said, "I speak to the business units all the time." I said, "No, not the business directors. The users." And he said, "No." He's never actually sat down with a user. So he sat down with one of the ladies, 19-year old who fills in the tax forms and the computer when people come in off the street. And he sat watching her, flip from screen to screen doing cuts in place. And he said, "What on earth are you doing?" And she says, "Well, I've got to get this data and these systems aren't coupled." And he said, "Well, why didn't you tell us. We could have solved that in half an hour." And quite right, she said, "Wait a minute, who works for who here? You're the first person from IT I've ever seen come and ask me how I use the systems and what is important." So simply by sitting and watching how users use systems, the CIO got insight into how he could deliver value. And he said, "That's the first time I've actually sat down and asked this question." And I think most IT people have the same issues. They never actually sit down and see how systems are used.

Peter: And with the BRMs as well. But some of the BRMs are actually scared to do that because it will generate more demand from the business. Okay, you need this, you need that. And that's quite often where they-- where I say, okay, you need to actually start looking at, okay, priority setting etc.

Paul: That's when that--

Peter: But yeah. This is BRM, the slogan they used for the conference as well. Absolutely. Yeah, you need to observe the business. You need to start looking in that. And I've seen some great examples of that. But it's very, very difficult for IT people that are very far removed from business people to actually do even consider it.

Paul: Yes and no. There's enough examples. I can't remember which one it was. One of the big delivery companies that said every new IT person, every new IT person sits in the delivery truck for one day. So 4 o'clock in the morning, there at the factory, getting stuff loaded into the trucks. They have to understand which information system ensure the truck went to the right loading bay. Which information system said these packages got on this truck. So when you sit within the core process for one day and understand which information systems support it, you're changing the mindset before people even start working in the company. So there are ways of doing it. When I was a data center manager in the Middle East, we brought somebody from the oil rigs into the computer room. And he was dirty, covered in oil and he actually presented to the IT people what happens when the system goes down. After that I never had to tell any operator, you must always be somebody in the computer room because they've seen the impact. They see a real user. So there are lots of different ways you can do this and to say that people are too far removed, I think, is a simple excuse, as an excuse we try to give. When if-- getting back to your original statement, convergence, you're not an IT person. You're a business person. And if you do understand your own business, then I'm sorry but the future should be outsourcing for a lot of IT companies. We have to wake up and realize we're part of the business.

Peter: That's what someone mentioned to-- eventually anyway, you're either with the business or you're in the basement or in the clouds and that's possibly the three choices you have.

Paul: Those the three choices. That's right and that's the way it's going. And what I'd like to see happen, this is the most exciting time ever to be in IT With all of this digital transformation stuff going on. It's totally revolutionizing the way everything is done IT Which puts IT people in an enormous, important, responsible position within the business that we have to wake up and realize that.

Peter: Don't you think that eventually, we're going to get to that business leaders on from a business unit perspective or going to take more delete and already are doing that with a lot of shadow IT

Paul: With a lot of shadow IT

Peter: Yeah.

Paul: They're taking more and more the lead. If you look at dev ops, dev ops is certainly the more advanced dev ops companies are shifting that way. They've got a product owner with his own small team of IT specialists, who are totally autonomous in actually making business changes and this is an example. Just one small self-contained team. Lots of different business product owners with their own small IT teams being able to release features when they like.

Peter: Yeah. So you've mentioned dev ops which is great. I mean that's the new flavor of the month. [Laughs]

Paul: It's the new flavor of the month. Yeah.

Peter: Is it that significantly different? I mean I know there is a lot of talk about, etc. Then some other things we've talked about in the mid 90's, early 2000's, etc.

Paul: It is that significantly different when it's done. There's a lot of talk about bimolitina, where you can't do dev ops type work with legacy ERP systems. You can't at the moment. So you've got this bimodal where certain small teams in web interfaces and web services are self-contained dev ops type teams. So it is working and if you can actually get a small team for a business function and a business suite, where you can measure the impact and the value of that generates, then it's a no-brainer. Some banks have twice as many or certainly maybe a third as many IT people. And people are laughing at them. Your total cost of ownership propriety is much higher than anybody else. That's because we have self-contained dev ops teams. But our share price has gone up significantly higher with a faster time to market for every new single financial product. We beat all of our competitors by having these small dev ops things. So it will change. I think next year is going to see a significant uptake in it.

Peter: I do see the market-- with every new framework, I also see that religion actually coming in there that okay this is the best thing that has ever happened. [Laughs]

Paul: You're absolutely right.

Peter: And I'm afraid, basically, that it's still a behavior issue that will not change in behavior enough.

Paul: I totally agree. What we see happening now-- because you've got a dev ops game as well. So what we see happening now is dev ops usually come like the new ITIL. Remember ITIL came out. Nobody really knew what it was. But everyone wanted ITIL. Nobody knew where all this processed stuff was, so they all adopted the tools. Then after using tools and poor processes, people realized it was all about people and culture. But they blamed ITIL. They said, "See, we told you ITIL was no good." That's what dev ops is at the moment. Not many people know what it is. They all want it because everybody's talking about it. It's a bit confusing so they will buy tools. So everybody's buying the dev ops tools. And now they're starting to hit the barriers. It's all about people, behavior and culture.

Peter: Yeah. That's coming back again.

Paul: That's coming back again.

Peter: -- organizational behavior and ITIL that's a-- but organizational behavior on the IT side but I think also organizational behavior on the business side that needs--

Paul: Equally.

Peter: -- change. Yeah.

Paul: Equally.

Peter: Because a lot of the BRMs see, basically, that business groups are still seeing IT as an order taker. Just do this, do that.

Paul: Yeah. Absolutely.

Peter: Just fix it. I mean I understand where any business IT alignment originally came from and that we absolutely need to go to a business IT convergence where it's more as one team together. But the problem is is that there are so many business people that have just an order taker mentality and--

Paul: Yeah. I'm the business you do what I say.

Peter: Yes.

Paul: No. I agree that has to change as well. That whole-- I know Aaron doesn't like the word governance but that whole IT governance aspect needs to be embedded in the business. That governance thinking is not on the business. Now you can call it value management. Fine, I don't mind people calling it value management. So long as value management, you make a difference between performance and conformance, between value creation and value leakage. Too many business product owners think it's all about the features and business value generation. And they forget about the technical debt, the downtime and the risk and the hidden leakage by not addressing that as well.

Peter: Yeah. I don't like the term governance as well because it's from a perspective of the fact that it's misused in a lot of cases.

Paul: I agree. I agree.

Peter: It's been a word that has been used for a very operational management task and there needs to be governance around it. And then, it's not really governance. Governance should be a board of directors issue and--

Paul: It should be about effective decision makings to manage performance and risk within the business.

Peter: Yes. And absolutely, I agree with the performance and compliance. And need to the value creation and value leakage. The challenge with that is for-- even for BRMs, it's way more fun sometimes to talk about value creation and then--

Paul: That's what my worries are about and then that's not business and IT convergence either.

Peter: No, no, no.

Paul: That's a question of let's run for the latest, fastest, business feature time to market sexy stuff and show how good we are, forgetting that you've also got the security issues involved in this and you've got the hidden risks.

Peter: Yes.

Paul: That cybersecurity is so incredibly important. You've got to look at the risk side as well.

Peter: Yeah. And that's why I mean keep telling BRMs as well. I mean it's about any discussion that you have. You need to make sure that-- and I mean you talk about value. But you also need to talk about cost and risk because if you missed one of those elements, it's not going to have a good discussion.

Paul: Absolutely. So I'm looking forward to reading your value management framework when it comes and balances both of these value creation and value leakage.

Peter: Yes, absolutely.

Paul: I can't wait because I've been telling lots of CIOs it's coming. So I'm waiting.

Peter: The thing is, is it's interesting because there's a lot of things that enable value. Things like for instance, I mean strategy in a way enables value which strategy can also cause value leakage. Things like value competencies processes, training and communication, et cetera, all can create value and can enable value. But on the other side, it can also create value leakage. So it's a very difficult balance because good communication will help in creating value and show business value while bad communication, basically, on the other side that actually can create enormous amount of value loss.

Paul: Absolutely. Definitely. That's what a lot of people are discovering in the Grab a Pizza by having poor communication and not communicating the right things, wrong decisions are made.

Peter: Yeah.

Paul: And people leave work lying around not knowing how critical it was or don't put the right quality in because they don't realize the downstream impacts of it. Absolutely crucial to communicate upstream, downstream, that value all the way through the value chain.

Peter: Yeah. So BRM Institute at this moment has been using the foundation class really is promoting business relationship management. It has been-- it has on top of that a practitioner class but it's very much focused on techniques BRMs. They're now coming out in 2018, basically, with strategic partnering which is in the forum discussions they did in 2017. There's a whole guide possibly around that, very specifically around, okay, how do you build strategic partnerships? And then I mean when I'm working on with Aaron and [Inaudible] is becoming a value-focused organization. Those actually going to include workshops, et cetera as well. But one of the things they've-- they are now doing is building a certificate of experience. So people actually can go attend these workshops and there is coaching combined with those workshops. And then starting to say, okay, eventually when someone has proven that you have done it, they can get a certificate of experience.

Paul: Excellent.

Peter: So I'm really looking forward to having people mostly say, "You know what? I did this. Yeah, and I got these type of business value results."

Paul: That would be my ideal. That's what's been missing in the market from all of these training certification programs. We're pumping out far too many theoretical certificates. And then hoping that people can go away and apply it. And we've seen how badly that is that people have a lot of difficulty translating the theory into practice. So the more you can help coach them, the more you can get feedback in case studies to show how this stuff has actually delivered value. And if you can capture all of these and put them on the BRM site as best practices or case studies, I think that will help the community enormously.

Peter: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's the exciting part for me as well is actually to see people start using this. I mean with coaching I do for value management is so much fun to actually hear what people are doing.

Paul: Yeah, yeah. That's what I'd love to see more and more of that. And I think that the BRM Institute website and forum is a great platform for putting all that stuff on for sharing all of those case studies. Certainly, what I see is, like you say, there's the BRMP which gives people the foundation level. Now they got to go back with that foundation level training and they got to convince their business partner to take them seriously and they've got to convince their IT partner to take them seriously. And a lot of people say, how do we do that. One way is what we do is we put them in the game together with their business and IT people to share with them. But if you're not playing the game you need some sort of road map to say what are your next steps to get there. Because most of them come out of the training and say currently in our organization we don't have the trust or credibility to become the strategic partner. So yes, business and IT convergence is the ultimate aim but it's a long rocky road to get there. And they all need help. What are the next steps? So the more you can provide a roadmap for people to move from that order taker, a lack of trust and credibility.

Peter: But then again that requires coaching.

Paul: Yeah.

Peter: And I think we are not spending enough time really on coaching people.

Paul: Yeah. No, I think you're right. Yeah. Because it is hard. You're going to go back and you're going to try and apply some of these models and frameworks. And you are going to get some knocks from the business. Just shouting it if you're in order taker that's what you've always been, go back to being an order taker. So people need to come out and say, "Well, this is what I tried and it didn't work. What else can I do?" Otherwise, they'll give up and they'll say, "See, we told you BRM doesn't work."

Peter: Yeah. And I've seen that, unfortunately.

Paul: Yeah. Which is the biggest worry because I've always been excited from BRM, the first time I saw it. I thought this is one of the missing links to this business and IT alignment problem that we've had for the last 40 years. So we need to take this really seriously because this is a critical capability.

Peter: Yes, it is. Absolutely. But it's a capability not just for BRMs. It's a capability wider because it's the CIO. It's the operations director--

Paul: And the business people as well. It is a capability which is what I like the way that BRM doesn't position, it just that's BRM is the role. A lot of organizations think that's what it's all about, developing the BRM role because it's a capability.

Peter: Yeah. And then you get to situations where one BRM group were always training, basically, told me that, yeah, we were told to go on to a training course and BRP class. And while the rest of the organization is going to transform.

Paul: [Laughs] Oh, brilliant.

Peter: So here's-- we just need to get the information on what we need to do. We need to figure out what roles. But that's what you hear, possibly.

Paul: That's what is, is--

Peter: People sending people to training classes and then--

Paul: To get this

Peter: -- automatically changed.

Paul: Yeah, to get a certificate and then things will automatically change.

Peter: Yeah. And it doesn't.

Paul: It doesn't.

Peter: It doesn't. I think personally that some of the BRM material is already with some other techniques that can immediately be applied is for a lot of BRMs. They're very exciting because they can apply it immediately. I'm not saying they always do, but a lot of them do because it's that easy. If you look at a relationship improvement, activities, etc. But it's a different mentality, basically, that you have.

Paul: Now there are some very useful frameworks, templates and guidance in there.

Peter: Yeah.

Paul: But you're right, it's a different mentality.

Peter: It is, I think in a way more practical than some of the other things I've seen. Some of the other frameworks I've seen. But on the other hand, I mean it's still had-- it can have the challenge of the same thing in this [inaudible].

Paul: It still ultimately comes back to attitude, behavior and culture.

Peter: Yes.

Paul: It's always been and always will be.

Peter: [Laughs]

Paul: It doesn't matter what framework or practice or procedures [inaudible] throw at it.

Peter: That's how you became a grumpy old man, did you? [Laughs]

Paul: [Laughs] Right. That's how I became the grumpy old man. The same ABC. It's like a living Groundhog Day, that film. Every day Bill Murray wakes up and he goes through exactly the same day. I have the same every year. It's the same ABC worst practice cards. We throw all of the new frameworks out and all of the new best practices. But every year the same issues come back. IT is too-- understanding business impact and priority. Everything's got the highest priority according to business. And both partners don't understand each other. Year in, year out exactly the same problems.

Peter: Yeah. Still think that the cards are so old now, they should be updated. But it's-- [Laughs]

Paul: No. I'm refusing to update that top card. The top card chosen every year, that understanding priority shows the picture of the specialists holding a floppy disk and the rocket's already taken off and he says, "Here's the update to your onboard navigation software." He's holding a floppy disk. And my kids are now 21 and 24 and they both said, "What's he holding in his hand?" That's how old that cartoon is. And people keep saying to me, "Why don't you change the cartoon, make it more modern." No, I want that to be a reminder of how long we have let this happen. So this is sort of indictment to the way that we pick up these problems. That's why I'm a grumpy old man because nobody seems to want to change.

Peter: No, it's very difficult to do other things.

Paul: Well, it's very-- I think part of the problem is people say, "Okay, you're right we need to change. So what's the latest framework?" And we go back to now you get dev ops and ITIL and Scrum and IT for IT and now there's Verizon. There's going to be-- we just keep throwing frameworks at it, thinking the framework will solve the problem.

Peter: Yeah. It always reminds me of Highlander and in the end, there can only be one but I don't think we ever get there.


Paul: No, I'm positive. I'm going to be positive. I have to stop being a grumpy old man. What I do see, positive, is I go to conferences all around the world. And last year was the first year where BRM was starting to become a hot topic at the ITSMF event in UK. I think it was the biggest tweet word from the Twitter stream was business, business value. And that's the first time ever business has been the top word. It's always been service or ITIL or IT service management. Finally, people are starting to make that mindset shift slightly. It's all about the business and we do understand the business better. So now is the time for BRM to come and fill that gap.

Peter: Yeah. Yeah, we're actually trying to even with words because language can be very powerful to even get to the point where we say we dropping the word 'the' in front of the business because it's just business.

Paul: It is.

Peter: It is business. It's business has an element of IT in there and that's it.

Paul: Yeah.

Peter: Yeah. Great. You have any questions for me?

Paul: Any questions for you-- I think we cover them or read around the value of framework. I'd like to know when that's coming. And I'd also like to know what the BRM message is going to be doing to try to promote BRM more because still, I'm struggling when I go around the world at conferences, a lot of people still haven't heard of it or if they've heard of it, they think they're already doing it. But a lot of them are just doing glorified account managers or glorified service management.

Peter: One of the things is, this is a little bit of a challenge, I think, for the market. We have several groups. We have a lot of BRMs that are very operational, tactical. I mean the service manager, delivery manager, etc. that have-- that see themselves as BRMs but have difficulty in getting that acceptance in the organization to become more that strategic partner. Then we have CIOs and C level people basically seeing the need for BRM. And we often see more value in getting the C level on board of BRM at this moment because-- then it actually gets into the organization properly in careers. There are still many BRM teams, absolutely, on the way to operational. And that is a challenge. From a BRM perspective, they've done at this moment alliances with SIM which and--

Paul: Which is good. That's good.

Peter: And they're working with some other ones as [inaudible] well. But it's slow going. I mean it's absolutely slow going. We do see some CIOs that are excited about BRM, driving a significant change in the organization through BRM. So I mean [inaudinble] is one but if I look at, for instance, even CIO from Pepsi worldwide having big a big BRM team, basically, worldwide that makes a significant change. A lot of the successful BRMs for instance, are ex-CIOs from other organizations and we start seeing that as well. So it is difficult. Absolutely. It's-- I mean I work with BRM teams that are very operational, that you're trying to actually move up. But if you see that there are four or five levels away from CIO that doesn't talk to them and then you know it's going to be a very, very difficult time.

Paul: And I think that's going to be maybe the challenge for the BRM Institute is to provide the different levels of guidance and roadmaps for the people at different maturity levels.

Peter: Yes.

Paul: Don't just focus on the ones that currently understand convergence and are almost at convergence because they're going to get there anyway. It's those ones that you talk about. I think certainly what I see is more than 75, 80 percent of BRMs are operational tactical. And they need a roadmap to help take them to the next maturity level.

Peter: Yes, absolutely. And that's what we're trying to do as well. I mean, I do that with some of the coaching and that works really well. But yeah, I'm looking forward to the strategic partnering workshops for this year and then also making sure that we actually can become that value [inaudible]. Yeah, it's absolutely-- it's a challenge.

Paul: And I'm also looking forward to see what comes out of the partnership with SIM. I'd like to see because I know SIM does a survey every year about business and IT alignment. But in that survey, I don't see much around the BRM capability itself. It's a lot around technology. The adoption's of technology and what are some of the biggest challenges. But not how were you actually solving these challenges.

Peter: Yeah. No, I'm not certain that's something that I think that there is still a lot of work to be done. Absolutely.

Paul: And the other thing-- another pet thing for me is I would like BRM Institute to forge a relationship with Isaka [?]--

Peter: [Laughs]

Paul: -- to try to actually shift Cobit [?] into what it should be which is instead of it being an audit tool to hit IT with, compliance instrument. I think BRM and Cobit together can be a very, very strong partnership.

Peter: I fully agree. I think there are some challenges in the auditing world that are difficult to overcome.

Paul: Very difficult to overcome. It's such a shame because you think Isaka [?] has access to an awful lot decision makers in a lot of big companies. But the only way they use that is the audit side. You really need our framework and cybersecurity frameworks to help you audit and control IT so the wrong interpretation of governance, whereas if they really use Cobit [?] for its value creation which is what BRM talks about. So if you go work together and say, "Now let's get to your target audience that you currently have." Which is thousands of companies around the world? But let's focus on the value creation rather than the auditing.

Peter: Yeah, absolutely.

Paul: So BRM could actually help-- maybe BRM needs to help teach them about value creation.

Peter: [Laughs] About value creation. Yeah, absolutely. That might be in the some of the next steps indeed. Yeah, absolutely.

Paul: I'm looking forward to that.

Peter: Yeah. I'm looking forward to that as well. So-- Great, Paul. It was great talking to you. Thank you very much. And--

Paul: Thanks for giving me the chance. I look forward to the value stuff. Let me know when it's coming. And then we can have the next chat to talk about that.

Peter: Okay, we'll do that. Yes, absolutely. Thanks.