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Embed Business Relationship Management in IT

Show that IT is worthy of Trusted Partner status.

  • While organizations realize they need to improve business relationships, they often don’t know how.
  • IT doesn’t know what their business needs and so can’t add as much value as they’d like.
  • They find that their partners often reach out to third parties before they connect with internal IT.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Business relationship management (BRM) is not just about communication, it’s about delivering on business value.
  • Build your BRM program on establishing trust.

Impact and Result

  • Drive business value into the organization via innovative technology solutions.
  • Improve ability to meet and exceed business goals and objectives, resulting in more satisfied stakeholders (C-suite, board of directors).
  • Enhance ability to execute business activities to meet end customer requirements and expectations, resulting in more satisfied customers.

Embed Business Relationship Management in IT Research & Tools

1. Embed Business Relationship Management Deck – A step-by-step document that walks you through how to establish a practice with well-embedded business relationships, driving IT success.

This blueprint helps you to establish a relationship with your stakeholders, both within and outside of IT. You’ll learn how to embed relationship management throughout your organization.

2. BRM Workbook Deck – A workbook for you to capture the results of your thinking on the BRM practice.

Use this tool to capture your findings as you work through the blueprint.

3. BRM Buy-In and Communication Template – A template to help you communicate what BRM is to your organization, that leverages feedback from your business stakeholders and IT.

Customize this tool to obtain buy in from leadership and other stakeholders. As you continue through the blueprint, continue to leverage this template to communicate what your BRM program is about.

4. BRM Role Expectations Worksheet – A tool to help you establish how the BRM role and/or other roles will be managing relationships.

This worksheet template is used to outline what the BRM practice will do and associate the expectations and tasks with the roles throughout your organization. Use this to communicate that while your BRM role has a strategic focus and perspective of the relationship, other roles will continue to be important for relationship management.

5. BRM Stakeholder Engagement Plan Worksheet – A tool to help you establish your stakeholders and your engagement with them.

This worksheet allows you to list the stakeholders and their priority in order to establish how you want to engage with them.

6. Business Relationship Manager Job Descriptions – These templates can be used as a guide for defining the BRM role.

These job descriptions will provide you with list of competencies and qualifications necessary for a BRM operating at different levels of maturity. Use this template as a guide, whether hiring internally or externally, for 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

$21,241


Average $ Saved

21


Average Days Saved

Client

Experience

Impact

$ Saved

Days Saved

Kansas City Chiefs Football Club

Guided Implementation

10/10

$6,499

3

Good discussion and useful ideas/tactics for moving forward

Rosens Diversified

Guided Implementation

9/10

$2,479

20

State of South Dakota Bureau of Information and Telecommunications

Guided Implementation

8/10

$2,479

10

Valence brings well-rounded expertise to all of our discussions.

Baylor College of Medicine

Workshop

10/10

N/A

N/A

Allison is amazing. She did a great job of ensuring that the workshop was focused on delivering value to us. We also appreciate her holding us ac... Read More

Jamaica Money Market Brokers Limited

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

N/A

The recommendations from extensive experience of the analyst were the best part

Toronto Community Housing Corporation

Workshop

10/10

$100K

90

Both facilitators of the BRM workshop were very knowledgeable and effective in delivering the BRM workshop and put extra attention on understandin... Read More

Omya (Schweiz) AG

Guided Implementation

8/10

$8,679

5

The consultant is seeking to understand our particular case and own structure, to provide guidance and tailor the best practice for our Company. Th... Read More

Regional Sanitation & Sacramento Area Sewer District

Workshop

8/10

$12,399

16

It was really helpful that Scott was able to review our existing ITSM documentation and tailor the workshop around it, on the fly. His input and in... Read More

Kansas City Chiefs Football Club

Workshop

10/10

$12,399

10

Best = Paul Herzstein Worst = having to do it over video instead of in person

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Workshop

7/10

$25,000

10

Best: Models that we've created together will definitely be beneficial for the team. Could improve: Although BRM is a "fussy" domain, my expecta... Read More

Federated Co-operatives Limited

Guided Implementation

9/10

$25,000

10

Valence listened to our situation and provided us with practical advice. He understood that we wouldn't be implementing a BRM program by the book a... Read More

Natural Resources Canada

Workshop

10/10

N/A

N/A

I didn't answer the last 2 questions because they not relevant t the BRM workshop we completed. The value we derive will not be from dollars or ti... Read More

Florida Ice and Farm

Workshop

8/10

$30,999

20

Good level of interaction during the workshop, despite English not being the first language of the participants

Job and Family Services

Workshop

10/10

$12,399

50

Enjoyed the collaboration of all parties involved as well as the input from InfoTech on what should a BRM be doing.

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

The consultant was very knowledgeable and provided excellent tips.

State of Montana ITSD

Workshop

10/10

N/A

N/A

Facilitation was exceptional. Nothing bad to report. All of my past Info-Tech workshops were great. This one lived up to those expectations. Thank ... Read More

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

Workshop

10/10

$31,833

20

We only had great experiences in working with Info~Tech leading up to and during the BRM workshop. Sharon, Jennifer, Vince, and Baird were very he... Read More

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

Having a chat with Infotech analysts always aids my own thinking about the issues discussed.

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


Workshop: Embed Business Relationship Management in IT

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 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: Foundation: Assess and Situate

The Purpose

Set the foundation for your BRM practice – understand your current state and set the vision.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • An understanding of current pain points and benefits to be addressed through your BRM practice. Establish alignment on what your BRM practice is – use this to start obtaining buy-in from stakeholders.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Define BRM

  • BRM definition
1.2

Analyze Satisfaction

  • Identify areas to be addressed through the BRM practice
1.3

Assess SWOT

1.4

Create Vision

  • Shared vision, mission, and understanding of the goals for the brm practice
1.5

Create the BRM Mission

1.6

Establish Goals

Module 2: Plan

The Purpose

Determine where the BRM fits and how they will operate within the organization.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Learn how the BRM practice can best act on your goals.

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Establish Guiding Principles

  • An understanding of where the BRM sits in the IT organization, how they align to their business partners, and other roles that support business relationships
2.2

Determine Where BRM Fits

2.3

Establish BRM Expectations

2.4

Identify Roles With BRM Responsibilities

2.5

Align Capabilities

Module 3: Implement

The Purpose

Determine how to identify and work with key stakeholders.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Determine ways to engage with stakeholders in ways that add value.

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Brainstorm Sources of Business Value

  • Shared understanding of business value
3.2

Identify Key Influencers

  • A plan to engage with stakeholders
3.3

Categorize the Stakeholders

3.4

Create the Prioritization Map

3.5

Create Your Engagement Plan

Module 4: Reassess and Embed

The Purpose

Determine how to continuously improve the BRM practice.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • An ongoing plan for the BRM practice.

Activities

Outputs

4.1

Create Metrics

  • Measurements of success for the BRM practice
4.2

Prioritize Your Projects

  • Prioritization of projects
4.3

Create a Portfolio Investment Map

4.4

Establish Your Annual Plan

  • BRM plan
4.5

Build Your Transformation Roadmap

4.6

Create Your Communication Plan


Embed Business Relationship Management in IT

Show that IT is worthy of Trusted Partner status.

Executive Brief

Analyst Perspective

Relationships are about trust.

As long as humans are involved in enabling technology, it will always remain important to ensure that business relationships support business needs. At the cornerstone of those relationships is trust and the establishment of business value. Without trust, you won’t be believed, and without value, you won’t be invited to the business table.

Business relationship management can be a role, a capability, or a practice – either way it’s essential to ensure it exists within your organization. Show that IT can be a trusted partner by showing the value that IT offers.

Photo of Allison Straker, Research Director, CIO Practice, Info-Tech Research Group.

Allison Straker
Research Director, CIO Practice
Info-Tech Research Group

Your challenge: Why focus on business relationship management?

Is IT saying this about business partners?

I don’t know what my business needs and so we can’t add as much value as we’d like.

My partners don’t give us the opportunity to provide new ideas to solve business problems

My partners listen to third parties before they listen to IT.

We’re too busy and don’t have the capacity to help my partners.

Three stamps with the words 'Value', 'Innovation', and 'Advocacy'. Are business partners saying this about IT?

IT does not create and deliver valuable services/solutions that resolve my business pain points.

IT does not come to me with innovative solutions to my business problems/challenges/issues.

IT blocks my efforts to drive the business forward using innovative technology solutions.

IT does not advocate for my needs with the decision makers in the organization.

Common obstacles

While organizations realize they need to do better, they often don’t know how to improve.

Organizations want to:
  • Understand and strategically align to business goals
  • Ensure stakeholders are satisfied
  • Show project value/success

… these are all things that a mature business relationship can do to improve your organization.

Key improvement areas identified by business leaders and IT leaders

Bar chart comparing 'CXO' and 'CIO' responses to multiple areas one whether they need significant improvement or only some improvement. Areas in question are 'Understand Business Goals', 'Define and align IT strategy', 'Measure stakeholder satisfaction with IT', and 'Measure IT project success'. Source: CEO/CIO Alignment Diagnostic, N=446 organizations.

Info-Tech’s approach

BRMs who focus on achieving business value can improve organizational results.

Visualization of a piggy bank labelled 'Business Value' with a person on a ladder labelled 'Strategic Tactical Operational' putting coins into the bank which are labelled 'External & internal views', 'Applied knowledge of the business', 'Strategic perspective', 'Trusted relationship', and 'Empathetic engagements “What’s in it for me/them?”'.

Business relationships can take a strategic, tactical, or operational perspective.

While all levels are needed, focus on a strategic perspective for optimal outcomes.

Create business value through:

  • Applying your knowledge of the business so that conversations aren’t about what IT provides. Focus on what the overall business requires.
  • Ensuring your knowledge includes what is going on internally at your organization and also what occurs externally within and outside the industry (e.g. vendors, technologies used in similar industries or with similar customer interactions).
  • Discussing with the perspective of “what’s in it for [insert business partner here]” – don’t just present IT’s views.
  • Building a trusted strategic relationship – don’t just do well at the basics but also focus on the strategy that can move the organization to where it needs to be.

Neither you nor your partners can view IT as separate from your overall business…

…your IT goals need to be aligned with those of the overall business

IT Maturity Pyramid with 'business goals' and 'IT goals' moving upward along its sides. It has five levels, 'unstable - Ad hoc – IT is too busy and the business is unsatisfied (too expensive, too long, not delivering on needs)', 'firefighter - Order taker – IT engaged on as-needed basis. IT unable to forecast demand to manage own resources', 'trusted operator - IT and business are not always sure of each other’s direction/priorities’, ‘business partner - IT understands and delivers on business needs', and 'innovator - Business and IT work together to achieve shared goals'.

IT and other lines of business need to partner together – they are all part of the same overall business.

Four puzzle pieces fitting together representing 'IT' and three other Lines of Business '(LOB)'

<

Why it’s important to establish a BRM program

IT Benefits

  • Provides IT with a view of the lines of business they empower
  • Allows IT to be more proactive in providing solutions that help business partner teams
  • Allows IT to better manage their workload, as new requests can be prioritized and understood

Business Benefits

  • Provides business teams with a view of the services that IT can help them with
  • Brings IT to the table with value-driven solutions
  • Creates an overall roadmap aligning both partners
Ladder labelled 'Strategic Tactical Operational'.
  • Drive business value into the organization via innovative technology solutions.
  • Improve ability to meet and exceed business goals and objectives, resulting in more satisfied stakeholders (C-suite, board of directors).
  • Enhance ability to execute business activities to meet end-customer requirements and expectations, resulting in more satisfied customers.

Increase your business benefits by moving up higher – from operational to tactical to strategic.

Piggy bank labelled 'Business Value'.

When IT understands the business, they provide better value

Understanding all parties – including the business needs and context – is critical to effective business relationships.

Establishing a focus on business relationship management is key to improving IT satisfaction.

When business partners are satisfied that IT understands their needs, they have a higher perception of the value of overall IT

Bar chart with axes 'Business satisfaction with IT understanding of needs' and 'Perception of IT value'. There is an upward trend.

The relationship between the perception of IT value and business satisfaction is strong (r=0.89). Can you afford not to increase your understanding of business needs?

(Source: Info-Tech Research Group diagnostic data/Business-Aligned IT Strategy blueprint (N=652 first-year organizations that completed the CIO Business Vision diagnostic))

A tale of two IT partners

Teleconference with an IT partner asking them to 'Tell me everything'.

One IT partner approached their business partner without sufficient background knowledge to provide insights.

The relationship was not strong and did not provide the business with the value they desired.

Research your business and be prepared to apply your knowledge to be a better partner.

Teleconference with an IT partner that approached with knowledge of your business and industry.

The other IT partner approached with knowledge of the business and external parties (vendors, competitors, industry).

The business partners received this positively. They invited the IT partners to meetings as they knew IT would bring value to their sessions.

BRM success is measurable Measuring tape.

1) Survey your stakeholders to measure improvements in customer satisfaction 2) Measure BRM success against the goals for the practice

Business satisfaction survey

  • Audience: Business leaders
  • Frequency: Annual
  • Metrics:
    • Overall Satisfaction score
    • Overall Value score
    • Relationship Satisfaction:
      • Understand needs
      • Meet needs
      • Communication
Two small tables showing example 'Value' and 'Satisfaction' scores. Dart board with five darts, each representing a goal, 'Demand Shaping', 'Value Realization', 'Servicing', 'Exploring', and 'Other Goal(s)'.
Table with a breakdown of the example 'Satisfaction' score, with individual scores for 'Needs', 'Execution', and 'Communication'.

Maturing your BRM practice is a journey

Info-Tech has developed an approach that can be used by any organization to improve or successfully implement BRM. The same ladder as before with words 'Strategic', 'Tactical', 'Operational', and a person climbing on it. Become a Trusted Partner and Advisor
KNOWLEDGE OF INDUSTRY

STRATEGIC

Value Creator and Innovator

Strategic view of IT and the business with knowledge of the market and trends; a connector driving value-added services.

KNOWLEDGE OF FUNCTIONS

TACTICAL

Influencer and Advocate

Two-way voice between IT and business, understanding business processes and activities including IT touchpoints and growing tactical and strategic view of services and value.

TABLE STAKES:
COMMUNICATION
SERVICE DELIVERY
PROJECT DELIVERY

OPERATIONAL

Deliver

Communication, service, and project delivery and fulfillment, initial engagement with and knowledge of the business.

Foundation: Define and communicate the meaning and vision of BRM

At each level, keep maturing your BRM practice

ITPartnerWhat to do to move to the next level

Strategic Partner

Shared goals for maximizing value and shared risk and reward

5

Strategic view of IT and the business with knowledge of the market and trends; a connector driving value-added services.

Value Creator and Innovator

See partners as integral to business success and growth

Focus on continuous learning and improvement.

Trusted Advisor

Cooperation based on mutual respect and understanding

4

Partners understand, work with, and help improve capabilities.

Influencer and Advocate

Sees IT as helpful and reliable

Strategic: IT needs to demonstrate and apply knowledge of business, industry, and external influences.

Service Provider

Routine – innovation is a challenge

3

Two-way voice between IT and business; understanding business processes and activities including IT touchpoints and growing tactical and strategic view of services and value.

Priorities set but still always falling behind.

Views IT as helpful but they don’t provide guidance

IT needs to excel in portfolio and transition management.

Business needs to engage IT in strategy.

Order Taker

Distrust, reactive

2

Focuses on communication, service, and project delivery and fulfillment, initial engagement with and knowledge of the business.

Delivery Service

Engages with IT on an as-needed basis

Improve Tactical: IT needs to demonstrate knowledge of the business they are in. IT to improve BRM and service management.

Business needs to embrace BRM role and service management.

Ad Hoc

Loudest in, first out

1

Too busy doing the basics; in firefighter mode.

Low satisfaction (cost, duration, quality)

Improve Operational Behavior: IT to show value with “table stakes” – communication, service delivery, project delivery.

IT needs to establish intake/demand management.


Business to embrace a new way of approaching their partnership with IT.

(Adapted from BRM Institute Maturity Model and Info-Tech’s own model)

The Info-Tech path to implement BRM

Use Info-Tech’s ASPIRe method to create a continuously improving BRM practice.

Info-Tech's ASPIRe method visualized as a winding path. It begins with 'Role Definition', goes through many 'Role Refinements' and ends with 'Metrics'. The main steps to which the acronym refers are 'Assess', 'Situate', 'Plan', 'Implement', and 'Reassess & Embed'.

Insight summary

BRM is not just about communication, it’s about delivering on business value.

Business relationship management isn’t just about having a pleasant relationship with stakeholders, nor is it about just delivering things they want. It’s about driving business value in everything that IT does and leveraging relationships with the business and IT, both within and outside your organization.

Understand your current state to determine the best direction forward.

Every organization will apply the BRM practice differently. Understand what’s needed within your organization to create the best fit.

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.

Info-Tech Insight

Knowledge of your current situation is only half the battle; knowledge of the business/industry is key.

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

DIY Toolkit

Guided Implementation

Workshop

Consulting

"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." "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 keep us on track." "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." "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 used throughout all four options

Blueprint deliverables

Each step of this blueprint is accompanied by supporting deliverables to help you accomplish your goals:

Key deliverable:

Executive Buy-In and Communication Presentation Template

Explain the need for the BRM practice and obtain buy-in from leadership and staff across the organization.

Sample of Info-Tech's key deliverable, the Executive Buy-In and Communication Presentation Template.

BRM Workbook

Capture the thinking behind your organization’s BRM program.

Sample of Info-Tech's BRM Workbook deliverable.

BRM Stakeholder Engagement Plan Worksheet

Worksheet to capture how the BRM practice will engage with stakeholders across the organization.

Sample of Info-Tech's BRM Stakeholder Engagement Plan Worksheet deliverable.

BRM Role Expectations Worksheet

How business relationship management will be supported throughout the organization at a strategic, tactical, and operational level.

Sample of Info-Tech's BRM Role Expectations Worksheet deliverable.

Guided Implementation

A Guided Implementation (GI) is a series of calls with an Info-Tech analyst to help implement our best practices in your organization.

A typical GI is between 8 to 12 calls over the course of 4 to 6 months.

What does a typical GI on this topic look like?

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4

Phase 5

Call #1: Discuss goals, current state, and an overview of BRM.

Call #2: Examine business satisfaction and discuss results of SWOT.

Call #3: Establish BRM mission, vision, and goals. Call #4: Develop guiding principles.

Call #5: Establish the BRM operating model and role expectations.

Call #6: Establish business value. Discuss stakeholders and engagement planning. Call #7: Develop metrics. Discuss portfolio management.

Call #8: Develop a communication or rollout plan.

Workshop Overview

Complete the CIO-Business Vision diagnostic prior to the workshop.
Contact your account representative for more information.
workshops@infotech.com1-888-670-8889
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Post-Workshop
Activities
Set the Foundation
Assess & Situate
Define the Operating Model
Plan
Define Engagement
Implement
Implement BRM
Reassess
Next steps and Wrap-Up (offsite)

1.1 Discuss rationale and importance of business relationship management

1.2 Review CIO BV results

1.3 Conduct SWOT analysis (analyze strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats)

1.4 Establish BRM vision and mission

1.5 Define objectives and goals for maturing the practice

2.1 Create your list of guiding principles (optional)

2.2 Define business value

2.3. Establish the operating model for the BRM practice

2.4 Define capabilities

3.1. Identify key stakeholders

3.2 Map, prioritize, and categorize the stakeholders

3.4 Create an engagement plan

4,1 Define metrics

4.2 Identify remaining enablers/blockers for practice implementation

4.3 Create roadmap

4.4 Create communication plan

5.1 Complete in-progress deliverables from previous four days

5.2 Set up review time for workshop deliverables and to discuss next steps

Deliverables
  1. Summary of CIO Business Vision results
  2. Vision and list of objectives for the BRM program
  3. List of business and IT pain points
  1. BRM role descriptions, capabilities, and ownership definitions
  1. BRM reporting structure
  2. BRM engagement plans
  1. BRM communication plan
  2. BRM metrics tracking plan
  3. Action plan and next step
  1. Workshop Report

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

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.

MEMBER RATING

9.0/10
Overall Impact

$21,241
Average $ Saved

21
Average Days Saved

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.

Read what our members are saying

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.

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Guided Implementation 1: Assess
  • Call 1: Discuss goals, current state, and an overview of BRM.
  • Call 2: Examine business satisfaction and discuss results of SWOT.

Guided Implementation 2: Situate
  • Call 1: Establish BRM mission, vision, and goals.

Guided Implementation 3: Plan
  • Call 1: Develop guiding principles.
  • Call 2: Establish the BRM operating model and role expectations.

Guided Implementation 4: Implement
  • Call 1: Establish business value. Discuss stakeholders and engagement planning.

Guided Implementation 5: Reassess and embed
  • Call 1: Develop metrics. Discuss portfolio management.
  • Call 2: Develop a communication or rollout plan.

Author

Allison Straker

Contributors

  • 11 anonymous contributors
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