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Implement Business Relationship Management

Leverage knowledge of the business to become a strategic IT partner.

  • Business leaders believe that IT should be a partner with the business, but many IT organizations are not viewed as partners and trusted advisors.
  • The business does not view IT as a value creator.
  • Third-party services have increased pressure on IT as they offer viable alternatives to the functions that an immature IT department performs.
  • IT organizations that do not create business value are at risk of being outsourced or replaced.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • BRM is not just a communication conduit between IT and the business. When implemented properly, a BRM is a value creator, advocate, innovator, and influencer.
  • The BRM role must be designed to match the maturity level of the IT organization and the business. Before you can create incremental business value, you must master the fundamentals of service and project delivery.

Impact and Result

  • Info-Tech has developed an approach that will enable you to develop and implement a BRM program that is customized to the maturity level of your organization.
  • In the short run, BRM will help to demonstrate the value of the IT organization to the business and build credibility and trust.
  • In the long run, BRM will evolve with the IT organization as it transforms into a strategic partner, making IT an indispensable part of the business value chain.
  • The ideal state is achieved when the BRM comes to the business with innovative solutions to drive the business forward and achieve the organization’s goals and objectives.

Implement Business Relationship Management Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should implement a relationship management function, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Obtain buy-in for the BRM program

Obtain buy-in for the BRM program by accurately understanding the business’ strategic objectives and pain points with IT and then presenting the BRM program as a way to eliminate those pain points and create business value.

3. Implement the BRM role

Determine your BRM reporting structure and then develop your engagement plan before you begin to implement the BRM role.


Member Testimonials

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real-time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve. See our top member experiences for this blueprint and what our clients have to say.

9.0/10


Overall Impact

$31,695


Average $ Saved

26


Average Days Saved

Client

Experience

Impact

$ Saved

Days Saved

Baylor College of Medicine

Workshop

10/10

N/A

N/A

Jamaica Money Market Brokers Limited

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

N/A

Toronto Community Housing Corporation

Workshop

10/10

$100K

90

Omya (Schweiz) AG

Guided Implementation

8/10

$8,679

5

Regional Sanitation & Sacramento Area Sewer District

Workshop

8/10

$12,399

16

Kansas City Chiefs Football Club

Workshop

10/10

$12,399

10

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Workshop

7/10

$25,000

10

Federated Co-operatives Limited

Guided Implementation

9/10

$25,000

10

Natural Resources Canada

Workshop

10/10

N/A

N/A

Distribuidora la Florida S.A

Workshop

8/10

$30,999

20

Job and Family Services

Workshop

10/10

$12,399

50

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio

Guided Implementation

8/10

N/A

N/A

Emerson Automation Solutions

Guided Implementation

4/10

N/A

N/A

Choctaw Nation Of Oklahoma

Workshop

9/10

$123K

20

OXY Inc

Workshop

8/10

$30,999

20

City of Alexandria, VA

Guided Implementation

7/10

N/A

N/A

The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited

Guided Implementation

9/10

$60,484

10

State of Montana ITSD

Workshop

10/10

N/A

N/A

Office of Information Services for Oregon Health Authority (OHA) & Department of Human Services (DHS)

Workshop

10/10

$31,833

20

The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited

Guided Implementation

1/10

N/A

N/A

Ville de Laval

Guided Implementation

8/10

$47,500

9

Historic Royal Palaces

Guided Implementation

7/10

$3,480

9

Birla Management Centre Services Ltd.

Guided Implementation

1/10

N/A

N/A

Montgomery County Board of County Commissioners

Guided Implementation

9/10

N/A

N/A


Onsite Workshop: Implement Business Relationship Management

Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Obtain Buy-In

The Purpose

Define the objectives of the BRM program, identify business and IT pain points, and then walk through the results of the CIO Business Vision diagnostic.

Key Benefits Achieved

Mutually agreed upon objectives between IT and the business for how BRM can add value to the organization.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Define objectives of the BRM program.

  • List of objectives for the BRM program
1.2

Identify business pain points.

  • List of business pain points
1.3

Identify IT pain points.

  • List of IT pain points
1.4

Understand business satisfaction with IT using the CIO Business Vision diagnostic.

  • Summary of CIO Business Vision results

Module 2: Define the BRM Role

The Purpose

Understand how the BRM role operates at different levels of maturity and determine what best fits your organization. Refine BRM role descriptions to reflect that.

Key Benefits Achieved

A well-defined description of the BRM role that is customized to best fit the maturity of your organization. This will serve as an input into the next phase as well.

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Define components of the BRM role.

2.2

Define BRM maturity levels.

2.3

Define BRM candidate qualifications.

2.4

Refine BRM role descriptions.

  • BRM role descriptions

Module 3: Implement BRM

The Purpose

Customize the role of the BRM with respect to each department. Decide on how to measure the value of the BRM and how to communicate the benefit to business stakeholders.

Key Benefits Achieved

An engagement plan to ensure the BRM builds and maintains relationships with key stakeholders and a communication plan to obtain buy-in from business and IT leaders.

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Determine BRM reporting structure.

  • BRM reporting structure
3.2

Create BRM engagement plan.

  • BRM engagement plans
3.3

Gather feedback and measure value.

3.4

Create BRM communication plan.

  • BRM communication plan
3.5

Create a metrics tracking plan.

  • BRM metrics tracking plan
3.6

Create an action plan.

  • Action plan and next steps

Implement Business Relationship Management

Leverage knowledge of the business to become a strategic IT partner.

ANALYST PERSPECTIVE

Are your BRMs order takers or value creators?

"Many organizations do not have a BRM program or have a program that does not focus on value creation and innovation. BRMs often struggle to be recognized as a trusted advisor and business partner and this challenge stems from a lack of business knowledge and a lack of business focus. BRMs must approach business leaders with an understanding of their business pain points and then propose solutions that help address those pain points. Only then will IT be viewed as a strategic business partner."

Paul Brown

Senior Director, CIO Practice

Info-Tech Research Group

Our understanding of the problem

This Research Is Designed For:

  • CIO
  • Business relationship managers (BRMs)

This Research Will Help You:

  • Understand the benefits that an effective BRM program can bring to your organization and how to relay them to business stakeholders to obtain buy-in.
  • Design the BRM role depending on your organization’s level of maturity.
  • Implement the BRM role, measure success, and effectively communicate the value of the BRM program.

This Research Will Also Assist:

  • IT managers

This Research Will Help Them:

  • Better understand the role of the BRM and improve their ability to support their objectives.

Executive summary

Situation

  • Business leaders believe that IT should be a partner with the business, but many IT organizations are not viewed as partners and trusted advisors.
  • The business does not view IT as a value creator.

Complication

  • Third-party services have increased pressure on IT as they offer viable alternatives to the functions that an immature IT department performs.
  • IT organizations that do not create business value are at risk of being outsourced or replaced.

Resolution

  • Info-Tech has developed an approach that will enable you to develop and implement a BRM program that is customized to the maturity level of your organization.
  • In the short run, BRM will help to demonstrate the value of the IT organization to the business and build credibility and trust.
  • In the long run, BRM will evolve with the IT organization as it transforms into a strategic partner, making IT an indispensable part of the business value chain.
  • The ideal state is achieved when the BRM comes to the business with innovative solutions to drive the business forward and achieve the organization’s goals and objectives.

Info-Tech Insight

  1. BRM is not just a communication conduit between IT and the business. When implemented properly, a BRM is a value creator, advocate, innovator, and influencer.
  2. The BRM role must be designed to match the maturity level of the IT organization and the business. Before you can create incremental business value, you must master the fundamentals of service and project delivery.

Are your business leaders saying things like this?

  1. IT does not create and deliver valuable services/solutions that resolve my business pain points.
  2. IT does not come to me with innovative solutions to my business problems/challenges/issues.
  3. IT blocks my efforts to drive the business forward using innovative technology solutions.
  4. IT does not advocate for my needs with the decision makers in the organization.

IT is not meeting the demands of the business, and business stakeholders’ expectations are only increasing

Most IT organizations have an opportunity to prove their importance to the business as a strategic partner.

76% of execs believe that IT should be a business partner.

27% of IT orgs are currently at the business partner level of maturity.

49% gap

Source: Info-Tech’s CIO Business Vision diagnostic

Many organizations face business dissatisfaction because they do not understand what the role of a BRM should be

BRM is not just a go-between for the business and IT – BRM should deliver value and innovative solutions to the business.

A BRM is NOT:

  • Order taker
  • Service desk
  • Project manager
  • Business analyst
  • Service delivery manager
  • Service owner
  • Change manager

A BRM is:

  • Value creator
  • Innovator
  • Trusted advisor
  • Strategic partner
  • Influencer
  • Business subject matter expert
  • Advocate for the business
  • Champion for business process improvement

But it’s worse than that

IT organizations that do not create value are at risk of being treated as a commodity and therefore replaceable.

1 in 3 execs believe that third-party services can significantly or completely substitute for the IT department.

Source: McKinsey Global Survey (on business technology)

When done right, BRM has a significant positive effect on business satisfaction


Relationships can make or break an IT department’s success. In a study of 308 organizations, Info-Tech found that for every 10% increase in relationship satisfaction, business satisfaction with IT increased by 9.99%. Can you afford to have 10% lower satisfaction?

Source: Info-Tech Diagnostic Programs, N=308 organizations

BRM improves business satisfaction in various ways

  1. It drive business value into the organization via innovative technology solutions.
  2. It improves IT’s ability to meet and exceed business goals and objectives, resulting in happier stakeholders (i.e. C-suite, board of directors).
  3. It enhances IT’s ability to execute business activities to meet customer requirements and expectations, resulting in happier customers.

Taking an ad hoc approach does not work for most organizations. You need a formal BRM strategy to get ahead.

Deliver more than just table stakes to become an irreplaceable value creator

Info-Tech has developed an approach that can be used by any organization to improve or successfully implement BRM.


Measure the success of the BRM program

Most of the metrics you should track come from your business satisfaction survey (Info-Tech’s CIO Business Vision diagnostic)

Business satisfaction survey

  • Audience: Business leaders
  • Frequency: Annual
  • Metrics:
    • Overall Satisfaction score
    • Overall Value score
    • Relationship Satisfaction:
      • Understand needs
      • Meet needs
      • Communication




Our members have already had success after participating in an Info-Tech BRM workshop

CASE STUDY

Industry: State Government Department

Source: Info-Tech Workshop

Problem

IT struggled with low business satisfaction and low business engagement. The business saw IT as an order taker and not an advisor or partner. Some business leaders would not even meet with IT due to a perceived lack of credibility.

Solution

A new approach to business engagement was designed, where BRMs worked to understand the business pain points and validated this understanding with business leaders. Knowledge of the business was developed by understanding business processes and the associated business activities. Once trust was established, the BRMs proposed solutions to address the business pain points. Solutions could include existing IT services, new or enhanced IT services, or business process improvements.

Results

Business leaders began to recognize that IT could bring valuable solutions to their business problems to the table. With leadership from the BRMs, the business changed its perception of IT from an order taker to a business partner who could help the organization achieve its business goals and objectives.

Use this blueprint to create an effective and valuable BRM program:

  1. Obtain executive buy-in
  2. Design the BRM role
  3. Implement the BRM role

Info-Tech offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

"Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful."

Guided Implementation

"Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keeps us on track."

Workshop

"We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place."

Consulting

"Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project."

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks are used throughout all four options.

Implement Business Relationship Management – project overview

1. Obtain Buy-In

2. Define the BRM Role

3. Implement BRM

Best-Practice Toolkit

1.1 Define objectives of the BRM program

1.2 Identify business pain points

1.3 Identify IT pain points

1.4 Understand business satisfaction with IT using the CIO Business Vision diagnostics

2.1 Define components of the BRM role

2.2 Define BRM maturity levels

2.3 Define BRM candidate qualifications

2.4 Create a BRM role description

3.1 Determine BRM reporting structure

3.2 Create BRM engagement plan

3.3 Gather feedback and measure value

3.4 Create BRM communication plan

Guided Implementations

Define the objectives of the BRM program and identify business and IT pain points

Walk through the results from the CIO Business Vision diagnostic

Define components of the BRM role and the maturity levels

Determine member’s BRM maturity level and walk through role descriptions

Walk through the different BRM reporting structures and create a BRM engagement and communication plan

Onsite Workshop

Module 1: Obtain Buy-In for the BRM Program

Module 2: Define the BRM Role

Module 3: Implement the BRM Role

Phase 1 Outcome:

  • Mutually agreed upon objectives between IT and the business for how BRM can add value to the organization
  • An understanding of both business and IT pain points by both parties

Phase 2 Outcome:

  • An understanding of the various maturity levels for the BRM role and difference in focus for each level
  • A job description for the hiring of a BRM role (if required)

Phase 3 Outcome:

  • An engagement plan to ensure the BRM builds and maintains relationships with key stakeholders
  • A communication plan to obtain buy-in from business and IT leaders

Workshop overview

Contact your account representative or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information

Workshop Day 1

Workshop Day 2

Workshop Day 3

Workshop Day 4

Activities

Assess BRM Current State and Survey Results

1.1 Define objectives of the BRM program

1.2 Identify business pain points

1.3 Identify IT pain points

1.4 Understand business satisfaction with IT using CIO Business Vision diagnostics

Define Components of the BRM Role

2.1 Define components of the BRM role

2.2 Define BRM maturity levels

2.3 Define BRM candidate qualifications

2.4 Refine BRM role descriptions

Implement BRM – Engagement Plans

3.1 Determine BRM reporting structure

3.2 Create BRM engagement plans for each department

Implement BRM – Communication and Action Plans

4.1 Create BRM Communication Plan

4.2 Create Metrics Tracking Plan

4.3 Create Action Plan

Deliverables

  • List of objectives for the BRM program
  • List of business pain points
  • List of IT pain points
  • Summary of CIO Business Vision results
  • BRM role descriptions
  • BRM reporting structure
  • BRM engagement plans
  • BRM communication plan
  • BRM metrics tracking plan
  • Action plan and next steps

PHASE 1

Obtain Buy-In for the BRM Program

Phase 1 outline

Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

Guided Implementation: Obtain Buy-In for the BRM Program

Proposed Time to Completion: 3 weeks

Step 1.1: Define BRM program objectives

Start with an analyst kick-off call:

  • Understand common objectives of the BRM program

Then complete these activities…

  • Determine the objectives of your BRM program

With these tools & templates:

Executive Buy-In Presentation Template

Step 1.2: Identify business pain points

Review findings with analyst:

  • Understand business pain points and needs

Then complete these activities…

  • Interview business stakeholders
  • Categorize findings into major themes

With these tools & templates:

Executive Buy-In Presentation Template

Step 1.3: Identify IT pain points

Review findings with analyst:

  • Understand IT pain points and needs

Then complete these activities…

  • Interview IT stakeholders
  • Categorize findings into major themes

With these tools & templates:

Executive Buy-In Presentation Template

Step 1.4: Conduct CIO Business Vision Survey

Review findings with analyst:

  • Review current satisfaction levels and the business’ rationale for the scores it gave
  • Prioritize where BRM can make an impact

Then complete these activities…

  • If necessary, conduct follow-up interviews with relevant stakeholders to get further details on their needs and pain points
  • Get executive buy-in for a BRM program

With these tools & templates:

Executive Buy-In Presentation Template

Obtain buy-in for the BRM program by assessing and articulating current business satisfaction

This phase will walk you through the following activities:

1.1 Define objectives of the BRM program

1.2 Identify business pain points

1.3 Identify IT pain points

1.4 Understand business satisfaction with IT using CIO Business Vision diagnostics

This phase involves the following participants:

  • BRM
  • IT leaders
  • Business leaders

Outcomes of this step

  • Mutually agreed upon objectives between IT and the business for how BRM can add value to the organization
  • An understanding of both business and IT pain points by both parties
  • An understanding of business satisfaction for IT and why
  • Identification of business priorities for the BRM program to focus on

1.1 Determine your objectives for the BRM program

Here are some examples of objectives that Info-Tech members have come up with:

  • Increase customer satisfaction
  • Align IT’s efforts and initiatives with business goals and objectives
  • Improve communication with the business
  • Increase collaboration with the business
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the business
  • Become a trusted advisor to the business
  • Become a strategic business partner

1.2 Gather feedback from your business leaders regarding the IT-business relationship

Examples of common responses:

  • IT is too slow to respond, act, or implement.
  • IT does not listen to us or implement what we ask for.
  • IT doesn’t know what we really need or want.
  • There’s too many forms and processes to request services.
  • IT (and security) always says “No.”
  • IT does not communicate enough with us.
  • We don’t understand the impact of changes being made – actions required, what, when, why, etc.
  • IT always asks for more money and we don’t understand why.
  • Who decides if I can get IT to do my project?

Summarize and categorize the feedback from business leaders to highlight common themes

Relationship/Business Knowledge

  • IT does not engage with the business to understand strategy and plans.
  • IT does not understand business goals and objectives.
  • IT does not understand business requirements.

IT Governance

  • IT priorities are not aligned with business priorities.
  • IT cannot do what business wants to do.
  • Business does not understand who decides which projects get done.

Service Delivery

  • Services do not meet requirements.
  • IT is slow to respond and deliver.
  • Difficult to make requests.

Communication

  • IT does not communicate effectively (services, changes, projects).
  • IT does not explain when saying “No.”

1.3 Gather feedback from your IT leaders regarding the IT-business relationship

Examples of common responses:

  • Business does not want to participate; they hand off requests and walk away.
  • Business does not give enough resources for us to support/complete tasks and projects.
  • Business likes to give us their “solutions” before consulting IT and understanding requirements.
  • Scope creep always happens; expectations are unrealistic.
  • Users don’t read documents or communications sent out by IT.
  • Everyone thinks their own request is the most important and wants to bypass processes.
  • Business does not appreciate IT and the behind-the-scenes work we do (at night and on weekends).
  • Business does not engage IT early enough when asking for our help.

Summarize and categorize the feedback from IT leaders to highlight common themes

Relationship/Value

  • Business views IT as an order taker, not a partner.
  • Business does not recognize and understand the value IT delivers.

IT Governance

  • Business does not provide enough resources ($) to get all priorities accomplished.
  • Business does not prioritize their projects and requests.
  • Business does not understand IT priorities and how their requests fit with overall priorities.

Service Delivery

  • Business has unrealistic expectations regarding service delivery, projects, enhancements, etc.
  • Business expects all requests to be done on short notice, regardless of IT’s capacity.

Projects/Strategy

  • Business is not engaged with IT projects and initiatives that require business involvement.
  • Business comes to IT with insufficient solutions rather than problems or requirements.
  • Business does not involve IT with business planning up front.

Conduct a business satisfaction survey using Info-Tech’s CIO Business Vision diagnostic

Info-Tech’s CIO Business Vision is a low-effort, high-impact program that will give you detailed report cards on the organization’s satisfaction with IT’s core services. Use these insights to understand your key business stakeholders and improve your interactions.

Scores to focus on:

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Overall Value
  • IT Relationship Satisfaction

Top 5 services that relate to BRM:

  1. IT Innovation Leadership
  2. Client-Facing Technology
  3. Business Applications
  4. Requirements Gathering
  5. Analytical Capabilities and Reports (Business Intelligence)


See the CIO Business Vision for more information.

Understand Overall Satisfaction and Overall Value scores

The CIO Business Vision Survey will give you a Value score and a Satisfaction score for the business overall and for individual departments.


The Satisfaction score speaks to how satisfied that particular department is with IT’s ability to delivery quality services when needed.


The Value score is about the business value that the delivery of those services creates.

Understand Relationship Satisfaction scores

The BRM should have direct influence over how satisfied the business feels with regards to needs, execution, and communication.



In order to understand the needs of the business, you need to have adequate knowledge of the business.

Execution relates to how satisfied the business is with service delivery and project delivery.

There are a number of different types of IT communication, and it is the job of the BRM to ensure that communication takes place effectively.

Focus your efforts on the five core services that the BRM has the most influence over


  1. Do you have the right business applications to drive your business forward?
  2. Do you have a comprehensive set of business and functional requirements for each department?
  3. Do you have business intelligence tools that drive business insights?
  4. Do you have valuable IT services for your end customers?
  5. Does IT provide innovative solutions that create value?

Obtain buy-in from stakeholders for the BRM program using Info-Tech’s Executive Buy-In Presentation Template.

Once you understand the case for a BRM in your organization, the next step is garnering executive buy-in.

Table of Contents:

  1. The Problem
  2. Business Pain Points
  3. CIO Business Vision Results
  4. Overall Satisfaction
  5. Overall Value
  6. Relationship Satisfaction
  7. Core Services Scores
  8. The Info-Tech Solution
  9. The Benefits to the Business
  10. Get Buy-In From Business Stakeholders

The items highlighted in red require you to customize the information to your organization.


If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

  • To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.
  • Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team onsite at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic Toronto office to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.
  • Contact your account manager (www.infotech.com/account) or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

1.1


Define objectives for the BRM program

Info-Tech’s analysts will review pain points from business and IT stakeholders, which will inform the objectives of the BRM program for your organization.

1.4


Review CIO Business Vision results

Prior to the workshop, Info-Tech’s Advisors will work with you to launch the IT Satisfaction diagnostic to understand the overall and relationship satisfaction levels with IT, the importance of and satisfaction with core services, and capacity scores. Using this data, we will determine where to focus during the workshop.

PHASE 2

Define the BRM Role

Phase 2 outline

Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

Guided Implementation: Define the BRM Role

Proposed Time to Completion: 2 weeks

Step 2.1: Define Components of the BRM Role

Start with an analyst kick-off call:

  • Review the seven components of the BRM role

With these tools & templates:

Job Description – Business Relationship Manager (Levels 1, 2, and 3)

Step 2.2: Define BRM Maturity Levels

Review findings with analyst:

  • Identify your organization’s required BRM maturity level

Then complete these activities…

  • Document your organization’s required BRM maturity level

With these tools & templates:

Job Description – Business Relationship Manager (Levels 1, 2, and 3)

Step 2.3: Define BRM Candidate Qualifications

Review findings with analyst:

  • Understand the skills and experience required for a high-quality BRM candidate

With these tools & templates:

Job Description – Business Relationship Manager (Levels 1, 2, and 3)

Step 2.4: Create a BRM Role Description

Review findings with analyst:

  • Create a BRM job description suited to your organization’s needs

Then complete these activities…

  • Finalize the BRM job description

With these tools & templates:

Job Description – Business Relationship Manager (Levels 1, 2, and 3)

Define the BRM role

This phase will walk you through the following activities:

2.1 Define components of the BRM role

2.2 Define BRM maturity levels

2.3 Define BRM candidate qualifications

2.4 Create a BRM role description

This phase involves the following participants:

  • BRM
  • IT leaders
  • Business leaders

Outcomes of this step

  • An understanding of the various maturity levels for the BRM role and difference in focus for each level
  • Defined responsibilities for the BRM and how those responsibilities link to business value creation
  • A job description for the hiring of a BRM role (if required)

2.1 Understand the seven components of the BRM role


2.1 Ensure that table stakes activities are being executed effectively in order to establish credibility and trust


“You don’t have the right to be a strategic focused BRM until you have first mastered the table stakes.” – Joe Topinka, CIO, SnapAV

2.1 Influence IT leaders to ensure that all services are delivered in a high-quality manner


Service delivery has three core components:

  1. Service status & maintenance
  2. Changes to services
  3. Service desk tickets

The job of the BRM is not to do these things but rather to influence the IT organization to get these things done.

Work with project managers to ensure that all projects are executed in a way that meets business expectations


Project delivery consists of

☑ Project Status

☑ Schedule

☑ Budget

☑ Change Requests

☑ Issues and escalations

All the above activities are the responsibility of the project manager, but when things aren’t working out they will be escalated to the BRM.

2.1 The BRM must ensure that all client communication occurs effectively


The BRM is responsible for quality communication related to service delivery and project delivery to the satisfaction of business leaders.


2.1 Once the table stakes are taken care of, the BRM should focus on enhancing their knowledge of the business


BRMs need to understand business processes and how IT services fit within them.

2.1 Understand business processes and the associated business activities and workflows in order to become a trusted advisor

  • Business Process
    • Business Activities
      • Workflows
    • Business Activities

"The BRM must understand the business processes and activities to the extent that they can translate it into tech-speak." – Glen Notman, Associate Partner, Citihub

2.1 Understand the links between business workflows and IT services to ensure value is being provided

  • Workflows
    • Task #1
    • No IT service required

    • Task #2
    • IT Service A

    • Task #3
    • IT Service B

      IT Service C

"You don’t need to know how an oil company refines oil, but you do need to know what they need from IT to refine oil." – Glen Notman, Associate Partner, Citihub

2.1 Once the BRM has an understanding of the business, they should begin to expand their knowledge of the market


"There is no such thing as too much knowledge, but there is a threshold for the minimum amount required. A good network of people can help you plug that knowledge gap."

– Julian Vinnels, IT Business Analyst, University of Exeter

2.1 Augment your knowledge of the business with in-depth knowledge of the market in order to create incremental value

End Customers

  • Speak to customers of the business to find out what is of value to them.
  • Understanding customer needs helps to determine business strategy, which in turn determines IT strategy.

Competition and Industry

  • What are your competitors doing that is new, innovative, and successful? How can this be adapted to your business?
  • Stay up to date on the latest trends and continually attend conferences to learn new ideas.

Adjacent Industries

  • Investigate other industries to find innovative ideas that can be used to influence the operations of your business.
  • For example, if you operate in the nursing home business, an adjacent industry might be the hotel business.

Adjacent Markets

  • Repurpose a product that you created for your primary market for your secondary market. Think about what markets are underserved or growing where you are not a player.

The BRM will first become an advocate and influencer and then, optimally, a value creator and innovator


Being an advocate is where the art of BRM comes into play

As an advocate, you make the case for your client’s needs to the stakeholders who can influence their needs being met. Be invested in your client’s success!

Business Client

  • Pain points
  • Needs
  • Requirements

BRM

  • Communication
  • Service delivery
  • Project delivery
  • Business knowledge
  • Market knowledge

Key Stakeholders

  • IT Senior Management
  • CIO
  • IT Steering Committee

As an influencer, the BRM must manage multiple stakeholders within IT and the business as well as outside the organization

BRM

  • Business Stakeholders
    • Board
    • Senior Business Leadership
    • Departmental Business Leaders
    • Steering Committee
  • External Stakeholders
    • Vendors
    • Service Providers
  • IT Stakeholders
    • CIO
    • IT Senior Mgmt.
    • IT Management
      • Apps
      • Infra
      • Security
    • Service Desk

If you are not a strong influencer, you are likely going to fail at BRM. You will need to deal with resistance and pushback from multiple stakeholders at the same time.

A strong influencer must overcome difficult challenges

Challenges

  • Politics
  • Agendas
  • Resistance to change
  • Fiefdoms
  • Silos

Solutions

  • Build credibility with your clients by leveraging your knowledge of the business
  • Strengthen relationships with business leaders by acknowledging their pain points and proposing valuable solutions

Info-Tech Insight

With stakeholders having different objectives and agendas, an initiative could succeed or fail based on the BRM’s ability to influence key stakeholders.

As a value creator, the BRM leverages existing services and leads new initiatives that create business value

Leveraging Current Services

  • Understand how services currently offered by IT can be put to best use and create value for the business.
  • Lead initiatives that help the business achieve or exceed business goals and objectives.
  • Lead initiatives that create business value (increased revenue, lower costs, increased efficiency) for the organization.

Leading New Initiatives

  • Work collaboratively with clients to define and prioritize technology initiatives for new or enhanced services.
  • Use business and market knowledge to advise on how to best use resources to maximize benefits.

As an innovator, the BRM leads initiatives that result in new and better ways of doing business

Identify opportunities for using IT in new ways to drive the business forward. Leverage knowledge of the business and industry to transform the way the business operates.

Innovation

  • Increase efficiency with business processes
  • Penetrate new markets
  • Enhance customer service (end customer)
  • Improve end-to-end customer experience
  • Decrease costs
  • Transform the way we do business

"Innovation invariably involves taking risks, and sometimes that leads to failure. And while it’s hard to get the C-suite to agree to fail, we don’t look at it as failing; we look at it as learning."

– Joe Topinka, CIO, SnapAV

2.2 After defining the components of the BRM role, identify your maturity level

Each higher level of maturity builds on the requirements and activities from the lower levels of maturity.


Table stakes and its associated activities are required for BRMs operating at Level 1 maturity

Table stakes form the foundation of the BRM role.


Level 2 of BRM maturity is characterized by knowledge of the business and being an influencer and advocate

Influencers and advocates need to have knowledge on business processes and workflows and where IT activities fit in.


Level 3 of BRM maturity is characterized by knowledge of the market and being a value creator and innovator

At Level 3, BRMs create value by making connections between their market knowledge and business knowledge that result in innovative initiatives.


Check that BRM candidates meet the requirements

  • Broad knowledge of business-facing services from both an IT and business perspective
  • An understanding of how services integrate (“puzzle pieces fit together”) from both an IT and business perspective
  • Business knowledge (business processes and activities)
  • Experience with business-facing work
  • Knowledge of the industry
  • Experience and expertise in relationship management

Info-Tech Insight

If filling the BRM role internally, you may need to create a development plan to assist candidates to gain the required skills and competencies for the role.

A BRM should have both IT and business experience

  • IT
    • Specific Organizational Processes
      • Relationships
      • Knowledge
    • General Knowledge
  • Business
    • General knowledge
    • Specific Organizational Processes
      • Relationships
      • Knowledge
    • Industry Knowledge

"It is better if the BRM has a stronger business understanding than IT understanding; that way, they can articulate business needs in IT terminology accurately. With a stronger IT expertise, sometimes the BRM misses the nuance of what the business is saying they want versus what they truly need. "

– Joseph Sgandurra, IT Service Management Consultant, Microsoft

2.4 Now create your BRM role description

Use Info-Tech’s templates to accelerate the creation of a BRM Role Description.


There are three role descriptions based on the three levels of BRM maturity.

  1. Select your BRM maturity level.
  2. Download the corresponding role description.
  3. Revise to suit the context of your organization.

Download Info-Tech’s BRM role descriptions customized for each level of maturity:

If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

  • To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.
  • Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team onsite at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic Toronto office to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.
  • Contact your account manager (www.infotech.com/account) or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

2.1


Define BRM Core Components and Maturity Level

Info-Tech’s analyst will walk participants through the seven components of the BRM role and work with the group to define your organization’s current BRM maturity level.

2.4


Build a Customized BRM Job Description

Info-Tech’s analyst will walk participants through an exercise to understand the core processes where the business relationship manager plays a role. Participants will customize the job description to create a position that best meets organizational needs.

PHASE 3

Implement the BRM Role

Phase 3 outline

Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

Guided Implementation: Implement the BRM Role

Proposed Time to Completion: 3 weeks

Step 3.1: Determine BRM Reporting Structure

Start with an analyst kick-off call:

  • Review the three types of BRM reporting structures
  • Determine which reporting structure best fits your organization’s needs and situation

Then complete these activities…

  • Select a reporting structure for your BRM program

Step 3.2: Create BRM Engagement Plan

Review findings with analyst:

  • Identify relevant stakeholders that the BRM must engage with
  • Walk through the methodology for creating an engagement plan for relevant stakeholders

Then complete these activities…

  • Create an engagement plan for each department

With these tools & templates:

BRM Engagement Plan Template

Step 3.3: Gather Feedback and Measure Value

Review findings with analyst:

  • Review the different metrics used to measure the value of the BRM program

Then complete these activities…

  • Choose which metrics you will track in order to measure the value of the BRM program

Step 3.4: Create BRM Communication Plan

Review findings with analyst:

  • Identify relevant stakeholders that you must communicate with
  • Walk through the methodology for creating a communication plan for relevant stakeholders

Then complete these activities…

  • Create a communication plan for each business stakeholder group, by department
  • Create a communication plan for each IT stakeholder group

In order to implement the BRM role, you must first determine your BRM reporting structure

This phase will walk you through the following activities:

3.1 Determine BRM reporting structure

3.2 Create BRM engagement plan

3.3 Gather feedback and measure value

3.4 Create BRM communication plan

This phase involves the following participants:

  • BRM
  • IT leaders
  • Business leaders

Outcomes of this step

  • An appropriate BRM reporting structure for your organization
  • An engagement plan to ensure the BRM builds and maintains relationships with key stakeholders
  • Metrics to track the success of the BRM and to identify future areas to add value
  • A communication plan to obtain buy-in for the BRM role from business and IT leaders

3.1 It is common that full-time BRMs will report to a BRM director who then reports to the CIO

  • CIO
    • Director - BRM
      • BRM
      • BRM
      • BRM
    • Infrastructure
    • Apps
    • Security
    • Strategy

Info-Tech Insight

For medium and large organizations, consider a full-time BRM role and reporting structure. If your organization’s availability of resources allows for it, a full-time BRM is highly beneficial.

Half-time BRMs typically report through a strategy or architecture team under the CIO

  • CIO
    • Director
      • Strategy
      • Architecture
      • BRM
    • Apps
    • Infrastructure

Info-Tech Insight

It is NOT recommended to have the BRMs report through to the project management office. This will likely create a conflict between relationship and project responsibilities.

Part-time BRM roles are most often assigned to managers within the IT organization

Application managers or customer service managers are examples of who might be assigned the role of part-time BRM.

  • CIO
  • Manager
    • Apps Team #1
  • Manager
    • Apps Team #2
  • Infrastructure and Security

Info-Tech Insight

While it may be necessary to have a part-time BRM, it is not optimal. The person may have too many competing demands on their time, making it very challenging to perform the BRM role effectively.

3.2 Assign BRMs to each of your departments

There are two key considerations for assigning BRMs to your departments:

Assignment Relationship

Client Difficulty

Will it be a one-to-one or a one-to-many arrangement?

The answer depends on the capacity of the individual BRM as well as the size and complexity of the departments.

The level of engagement is limited by the maturity of the BRM.

If the BRM is at a Level 3 maturity, the engagement plan for each department can be Level 1, 2, or 3. But if the BRM is at a Level 2 maturity, the engagement plan for each department cannot exceed Level 2.

Characteristics of tougher clients

  1. Highly complex environment
  2. Require many services
  3. Require a lot of integration

Put your tougher clients with more experienced BRMs who have:

  • been with the company for a while
  • worked in the industry for a while
  • prior experience with those department and business leaders
  • already have established relationships within the organization

Identify business stakeholders at all levels of each department

The BRM should be focused on all three levels as represented below:

  • VP
    • Director
      • Manager
      • Manager
      • Manager
    • Director
      • Manager
      • Manager
      • Manager
    • Director
      • Manager
      • Manager
      • Manager

Info-Tech Insight

While people commonly think that BRM should be focused at the manager level because it is closer to the everyday business, this is not necessarily true. By serving clients at the higher levels, BRMs have the opportunity to influence strategic decision making.

Create an engagement plan – Level 1 maturity

At Level 1 maturity (Table Stakes), focus on service delivery, project delivery, and communication.

Sample Engagement Plan (Level 1) – Department X

Stakeholder

Information Type

Meeting Frequency

Agenda

VP

Strategic

Quarterly

  • Summary of current and upcoming projects and initiatives

Director

Strategic, Tactical

Monthly

  • Summary of recent and upcoming changes
  • Summary of current and upcoming projects and initiatives

Manager

Tactical

Monthly

  • Summary of service desk tickets
  • Summary of recent and upcoming changes
  • Summary of current and upcoming projects and initiatives

Create an engagement plan – Level 2 maturity

At Level 2 maturity (Influencer/Advocate), focus on business pain points and a deeper knowledge of the business.

Sample Engagement Plan (Level 2) – Department X

Stakeholder

Information Type

Meeting Frequency

Agenda

VP

Strategic

Quarterly

  • Business pain points for the department
  • Proposed solutions to address business pain points

Director

Strategic, Tactical

Monthly

  • Business pain points for the department
  • Proposed business process improvements
  • Current and upcoming project proposals to address business pain points

Manager

Tactical

Monthly

  • Business pain points for the team
  • Proposed business activity improvements
  • Current and upcoming projects to address business pain points

Create an engagement plan – Level 3 maturity

At Level 3 maturity (Value Creator/Innovator), focus on creating value by leading innovative initiatives that drive the business forward.

Sample Engagement Plan (Level 3) – Department X

Stakeholder

Information Type

Meeting Frequency

Agenda

VP

Strategic

Quarterly

  • Innovative solutions to improve business processes and drive value for the department and the organization

Director

Strategic, Tactical

Monthly

  • Innovative solutions to help the department achieve its business goals and objectives

Manager

Tactical

Monthly

  • Innovative solutions to help business users perform their daily business activities more effectively and efficiently

Use our engagement plan template to document plans for all departments in the organization

1. Organizational Chart

2. Engagement Plan

3. Organize

We have a template for you of a sample organizational structure in the BRM Engagement Plan template.

Instructions:

  1. Duplicate the slide so that you have one for each department in your organization.
  2. Delete the example and replace with your company’s org chart for each department.

Following the org chart slide, we have provided three engagement plans – one each for Levels 1, 2, and 3.

Instructions:

  1. Choose the level of maturity that makes the most sense for each department.
  2. Duplicate and delete engagement plan slides as necessary to ensure that you have one for each department.

Organize the slides in an order so that the engagement plan slides follow the slides of the org chart of the department that it pertains to.

Download Info-Tech’s Engagement Plan Template and tailor it to your situation.

3.3 Select appropriate metrics for your BRM implementation plan

Most of the key metrics come from the Business Satisfaction Survey

Metrics

1. Business satisfaction survey

  • Audience: Business leaders
  • Frequency: Annual
  • Metrics
    • Overall Satisfaction score
    • Overall Value score
    • Relationship Satisfaction:
      • Understand needs
      • Meet needs
      • Communication

Service Areas

  • Business applications
  • Analytical capability and reports (business intelligence)
  • Client-facing technology
  • Innovation leadership
  • Requirements gathering
  • Service desk
  • Work orders
  • Project management
  • Policies
  • Data quality
  • Network infrastructure
  • User devices

2. Business pain points

  • Reduced
  • Eliminated

3. Shadow IT

  • Decreased over time

4. Informal Feedback Survey

  • Audience: Business leaders
  • Frequency: Each BRM–client meeting
  • Metric:
    • Relationship/partnering satisfaction on a scale 1–10

5. End-user satisfaction survey

  • Audience: All end users and staff
  • Frequency: Annual
  • Metrics
    • Overall Satisfaction score

3.4 Create a BRM communication plan – business leaders

Executive Leadership Team & Department VPs

Department Directors

Department Managers

Brief these stakeholders on:

New business engagement model and tactics

Obtain agreement on:

Meeting structure, agenda, and frequency

See VP level of the BRM Engagement Plan Template

Advise leadership team on:

Advise leadership team on: Commitment to BRM program and meeting with BRMs on a regular basis

Brief these stakeholders on:

Meeting structure and agenda

Obtain agreement on:

Meeting structure, agenda, and frequency

See Director level of the BRM Engagement Plan Template

Advise management team on:

Commitment to BRM program and meeting with BRMs on a regular basis

Brief these stakeholders on:

Meeting structure and agenda

Obtain agreement on:

Meeting structure, agenda, and frequency

See Manager level of the BRM Engagement Plan Template

Create a BRM communication plan – IT management

Senior IT Leadership and IT Managers

IT Team Leads

Project Managers

Brief these stakeholders on:

New business engagement model and tactics

Obtain agreement on:

Expectations of IT teams when working with BRMs

Advise leadership team on:

Commitment to BRM program and rules of engagement with BRMs

Brief these stakeholders on:

New business engagement model and tactics

Obtain agreement on:

Expectations of IT teams when working with BRMs

Advise team members on:

Commitment to BRM program and rules of engagement with BRMs

Brief these stakeholders on:

New business engagement model and tactics

Obtain agreement on:

Expectations of project managers when working with BRMs

Advise team members on:

Commitment to BRM program and rules of engagement with BRMs

If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

  • To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.
  • Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team onsite at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic Toronto office to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.
  • Contact your account manager (www.infotech.com/account) or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

3.1


Determine BRM Reporting Structure

Info-Tech’s analyst will lead a series of exercises to uncover the benefits of each of the different BRM reporting structures and determine which is the best fit for your organization.

3.2


Create BRM Engagement Plan

Info-Tech’s analyst will facilitate exercises to identify the relevant stakeholders that the BRM must engage with and create an engagement plan for each stakeholder.

3.4


Create BRM Communication Plan

Info-Tech’s analyst will help your team create a communication plan for business and IT leaders to facilitate collaboration and to keep them informed of relevant updates.

Research contributors

  • Joe Topinka, Chief Information Officer, SnapAV
  • Glen Notman, Associate Partner, Citihub
  • Julian Vinnels, IT Business Analyst, University of Exeter
  • Joseph Sgandurra, IT Service Management Consultant, Microsoft
  • Three anonymous contributors also provided their insights in this research.

Bibliography

ACCA. “A Brief Guide to Business Relationship Management.” ACCA Think Ahead.

BRM Institute. “The Role of the Business Relationship Manager (BRM).” BRM Institute. 8 Dec. 2017.

Brusnahan, Jim et al. “[White Paper] A Perfect Union: BRM and Agile Development and Delivery.” BRM Institute, 17 Apr. 2017.

Burrows, Matthews. “Customer Relationship Management vs Business Relationship Management.” ComputerWeekly.com. 2012.

Heller, Martha. “How CIOs Can Make Business Relationship Management (BRM) Work.” CIO From IDG, 1 Nov. 2016.

Khan, Naufal, et al. “Partnering to Shape the Future–IT’s New Imperative.” McKinsey&Company. May 2016.

Lawless, Steve. “Business Relationship Management Vs Service Level Management.” Purple Griffon, Jan. 2018.

McCullough, Adam. “Do Businesses Really Need Business Relationship Managers?” AXELOS Global Best Practice. 22 Dec. 2017.

Pink Elephant. “Business Relationship Management Professional.” Pink Elephant.

Robinson, Gerry. “Partnering to Shape the Future: IT’s New Imperative.” BRM Institute. 31 Aug. 2016.

Watts, Stephen. “ITIL Business Relationship Management Explained.” BMC Blogs. 26 Dec. 2017.

Zhuk, Aleksandr et al. “Business Relationship Management: Standards, Best Practices, and Practical Implementations.” HDI.

About Info-Tech

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We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

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What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 3-phase advisory process. You'll receive 5 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation #1 - Obtain buy-in
  • Call #1 - Define the objectives of the BRM program and identify business and IT pain points
  • Call #2 - Walk through the results from the CIO Business Vision diagnostic

Guided Implementation #2 - Define the BRM role
  • Call #1 - Define components of the BRM role and the maturity levels
  • Call #2 - Determine member's BRM maturity level and walk through role descriptions

Guided Implementation #3 - Implement BRM
  • Call #1 - Walk through the different BRM reporting structures and create a BRM engagement and communication plan

Authors

Paul Brown

Dean Walt

Contributors

  • Joe Topinka, Chief Information Officer, SnapAV
  • Glen Notman, Associate Partner, Citihub
  • Julian Vinnels, IT Business Analyst, University of Exeter
  • Joseph Sgandurra, IT Service Management Consultant, Microsoft
  • 3 additional anonymous contributors
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