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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.

9.4/10


Overall Impact

$34,986


Average $ Saved

40


Average Days Saved

Client

Experience

Impact

$ Saved

Days Saved

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

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

Florida Ice and Farm

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


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)'

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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

IT Partner What 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

ASSESS

Assess

1.1 Define BRM

1.2 Analyze Satisfaction

1.3 Assess SWOT

Situate

2.1 Create Vision

2.2 Create the BRM Mission

2.3 Establish Goals

Plan

3.1 Establish Guiding Principles

3.2 Determine Where BRM Fits

3.3 Establish BRM Expectations

3.4 Identify Roles With BRM Responsibilities

3.5 Align Capabilities

Implement

4.1 Brainstorm Sources of Business Value

4.2 Identify Key Influencers

4.3 Categorize the Stakeholders

4.4 Create the Prioritization Map

4.5 Create Your Engagement Plan

Reassess & Embed

5.1 Create Metrics

5.2 Prioritize Your Projects

5.3 Create a Portfolio Investment Map

5.4 Establish Your Annual Plan

5.5 Build Your Transformation Roadmap

5.6 Create Your Communication Plan

To assess BRM, clarify what it means to you

Who are BRM relationships with? Octopus holding icons with labels 'Tech Partners', 'Lines of Business', and 'External Partners'. The BRM has multiple arms/legs to ensure they’re aligned with multiple parties – the partners within the lines of business, external partners, and technology partners.
What does a BRM do? Engage the right stakeholders – orchestrate key roles, resources, and capabilities to help stimulate, shape, and harvest business value.

Connect partners (IT and other business) with the resources needed.

Help stakeholders navigate the organization and find the best path to business value.

Three figures performing different actions, labelled 'orchestrate', 'connect', and 'navigate'.
What does a BRM focus on? Circle bisected at many random points to create areas of different colors with four color-coded circles surrounding it. Demand Shaping – Surfacing and shaping business demand
Value Harvesting – Identifying ways to increase business value and providing insights
Exploring – Rationalizing demand and reviewing new business, technology, and industry insights
Servicing – Managing expectations and facilitating business strategy; business capability road mapping

Determine what business relationship management is

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

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
Business relationship management does not mean a go-between for the business and IT. Its focus should be on delivering VALUE and INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS to the business.

1.1 What is BRM?

1 hour

Input: Your preliminary thoughts and ideas on BRM

Output: Themes summarizing what BRM will be at your organization

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. Each team member will take a colored sticky note to capture what BRM is and what it isn’t.
  2. As a group, review and discuss the sticky notes.
  3. Group them into themes summarizing what BRM will be at your organization.
  4. Leverage the workbook to brainstorm the definition of BRM at your organization.
  5. Create a refined summary statement and capture it in the Executive Buy-In and Communication Template.

Download the BRM Workbook

Download the Executive Buy-In and Communication Template

It’s important to understand what the business thinks; ask them the right questions

Leverage the CIO Business Vision Diagnostic to provide clarity on:
  • The organization’s view on satisfaction and importance of core IT services
  • Satisfaction across business priorities
  • IT’s capacity to meet business needs

Contact your Account Representative to get started

Sample of various scorecards from the CIO Business Vision Diagnostic.

1.2 Use their responses to help guide your BRM program

1 hour

Input: CIO-Business Vision Diagnostic, Other business feedback

Output: Summary of your partners’ view of the IT relationship

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: CIO, IT management team

  1. Complete the CIO Business Vision diagnostic.
  2. Analyze the findings from the Business Vision diagnostic or other business relationship and satisfaction surveys. Key areas to look at include:
    • Overall IT Satisfaction
    • IT Value
    • Relationship (Understands Needs, Communicates Effectively, Executes Requests, Trains Effectively)
    • Shadow IT
    • Capacity Needs
    • Business Objectives
  3. Capture the following on your analysis:
    • Success stories – what your business partners are satisfied with
    • Challenges – are the responses consistent across departments?
  4. Leverage the workbook to capture your findings the goals. Key highlights should be documented in the Executive Buy-In and Communication Template.

Use the BRM Workbook to capture ideas

Polish the goals in the Executive Buy-In and Communication Template

Perform a SWOT analysis to explore internal and external business factors

A SWOT analysis is a structured planning method organizations use to evaluate the effects of internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats on a project or business venture.

Why It Is Important

  • Business SWOT reveals internal and external trends that affect the business. You may uncover relevant information about the business that the other analysis methods did not reveal.
  • The organizational strengths or weaknesses will shed some light on implications that you might not have considered otherwise, such as brand perception or internal staff capability to change.

Key Tips/Information

  • Although this activity is simple in theory, there is much value to be gained when performed effectively.
  • Focus on weaknesses that can cause a competitive disadvantage and strengths that can cause a competitive advantage.
  • Rank your opportunities and threats based on impact and probability.
  • Info-Tech members who have derived the most insights from a business SWOT analysis usually involved business stakeholders in the analysis.

SWOT diagram split into four quadrants representing 'Strengths' at top left, 'Opportunities' at bottom left, 'Weaknesses' at top right, and 'Threats' at bottom right.

Review these questions to help you conduct your SWOT analysis on the business

Strengths (Internal)
  • What competitive advantage does your organization have?
  • What do you do better than anyone else?
  • What makes you unique (human resources, product offering, experience, etc.)?
  • Do you have location, price, cost, or quality advantages?
  • Does your organizational culture offer an advantage (hiring the best people, etc.)?
  • Do you have a high level of customer engagement or satisfaction?
Weaknesses (Internal)
  • What areas of your business require improvement?
  • Are there gaps in capabilities?
  • Do you have financial vulnerabilities?
  • Are there leadership gaps (succession, poor management, etc.)?
  • Are there reputational issues?
  • Are there factors contributing to declining sales?
Opportunities (External)
  • Are there market developments or new markets?
  • Are there industry or lifestyle trends (move to mobile, etc.)?
  • Are there geographical changes in the market?
  • Are there new partnerships or mergers and acquisitions (M&A) opportunities?
  • Are there seasonal factors that can be used to the advantage of the business?
  • Are there demographic changes that can be used to the advantage of the business?
Threats (External)
  • Are there obstacles that the organization must face?
  • Are there issues with respect to sourcing of staff or technologies?
  • Are there changes in market demand?
  • Are your competitors making changes that you are not making?
  • Are there economic issues that could affect your business?

1.3 Analyze internal and external business factors using a SWOT analysis

1 hour

Input: IT and business stakeholder expertise

Output: Analysis of internal and external factors impacting the IT organization

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: CIO, IT management team

  1. Break the group into two teams:
    • Assign team A internal strengths and weaknesses.
    • Assign team B external opportunities and threats.
  2. Think about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as they pertain to the IT-business relationship. Consider people, process, and technology elements.
  3. Have the teams brainstorm items that fit in their assigned grids. Use the prompt questions on the previous slide as guidance.
  4. Pick someone from each group to fill in the SWOT grid.
  5. Conduct a group discussion about the items on the list; identify implications for the BRM/IT.

Capture in the BRM Workbook

SITUATE

Assess

1.1 Define BRM

1.2 Analyze Satisfaction

1.3 Assess SWOT

Situate

2.1 Create Vision

2.2 Create the BRM Mission

2.3 Establish Goals

Plan

3.1 Establish Guiding Principles

3.2 Determine Where BRM Fits

3.3 Establish BRM Expectations

3.4 Identify Roles With BRM Responsibilities

3.5 Align Capabilities

Implement

4.1 Brainstorm Sources of Business Value

4.2 Identify Key Influencers

4.3 Categorize the Stakeholders

4.4 Create the Prioritization Map

4.5 Create Your Engagement Plan

Reassess & Embed

5.1 Create Metrics

5.2 Prioritize Your Projects

5.3 Create a Portfolio Investment Map

5.4 Establish Your Annual Plan

5.5 Build Your Transformation Roadmap

5.6 Create Your Communication Plan

Your strategy informs your BRM program

Your strategy is a critical input into your program. Extract critical components of your strategy and convert them into a set of actionable principles that will guide the selection of your operating model.

Sample of Info-Tech's 'Build a Business-Aligned IT Strategy' blueprint.

Vision, Mission & Principles Chevron pointing right.
  • Leverage your vision and mission statements that communicate aspirations and purpose for key information that can be turned into design principles.
Business Goal Implications Chevron pointing right.
  • Implications are derived from your business goals and will provide important context about the way BRM needs to change to meet its overarching objectives.
  • Understand how those implications will change the way that work needs to be done – new capabilities, new roles, new modes of delivery, etc.
Target-State Maturity Chevron pointing right.
  • Determine your target-state relationship maturity for your organization using the BRM goals that have been uncovered.

Outline your mission and vision for your BRM practice

If you don’t know where you’re trying to go, how do you know if you’ve arrived?

Establish the vision of what your BRM practice will achieve.

Your vision will paint a picture for your stakeholders, letting them know where you want to go with your BRM practice.

Stock image of a hand painting on a large canvas.

The vision will also help motivate and inspire your team members so they understand how they contribute to the organization.

Your strategy must align with and support your organization’s strategy.

Good Visions
  • Attainable – Aspirational but still within reach
  • Communicable – Easy to comprehend
  • Memorable – Not easily forgotten
  • Practical – Solid, realistic
  • Shared – Create a culture of shared ownership across the team/company
When Visions Fail
  • Not Shared: Lack of buy-in, no alignment with stakeholders
  • Impractical: No plan or strategy to deliver on the vision
  • Unattainable: Set too far in the future
  • Forgettable: Not championed, not kept in mind
(Source: UX Magazine, 2011)

Derive the BRM vision statement

Stock image of an easel with a bundle of paint brushes beside it. Begin the process of deriving the business relationship management vision statement by examining your business and user concerns. These are the problems your organization is trying to solve.
Icon of one person asking another a question.
Problem Statements
First, ask what problems your organization hopes to solve.
Icon of a magnifying glass on a box.
Analysis
Second, ask what success would look like when those problems were solved.
Icon of two photos in quotes.
Vision Statement
Third, polish the answer into a short but meaningful phrase.

Paint the picture for your team and stakeholders so that they align on what BRM will achieve.

Vision statements demonstrate what your practice “aspires to be”

Your vision statement communicates a desired future state of the BRM organization. The statement is expressed in the present tense. It seeks to articulate the desired role of business relationship management and how it will be perceived.

Sample vision statements:

  • To be a trusted advisor and partner in enabling business innovation and growth through an engaged design practice.
  • The group will strive to become a world-class value center that is a catalyst for innovation.
  • Apple: “We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing.” (Mission Statement Academy, May 2019.)
  • Coca-Cola: “To refresh the world in mind, body, and spirit, to inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions, and to create value and make a difference.” (Mission Statement Academy, August 2019.)

2.1 Vision generation

1 hour

Input: IT and business strategies

Output: Vision statement

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. Review the goals and the sample vision statements provided on the previous slide.
  2. Brainstorm possible vision statements that can apply to your practice. Refer to the guidance provided on the previous page – ensure that it paints a picture for the reader to show the desired target state.
  3. Leverage the workbook to brainstorm the vision. Capture the refined statement in the Executive Buy-In and Communication Template.
Strong vision statements have the following characteristics
  • Describe a desired future
  • Focus on ends, not means
  • Communicate promise
  • Concise, no unnecessary words
  • Compelling
  • Achievable
  • Inspirational
  • Memorable

Use the BRM Workbook to capture ideas

Polish the goals in the Executive Buy-In and Communication Template

Create the mission statement from the problems and the vision statement

Your mission demonstrates your current intent and the purpose driving you to achieve your vision.

It reflects what the organization does for users/customers.

The main word 'Analysis' is sandwiched between 'Goals and Problems' and 'Vision Statement', each with arrow pointing to the middle. Make sure the practice’s mission statement reflects answers to the questions below:

The questions:

  • What does the organization do?
  • How does the organization do it?
  • For whom does the organization do it?
  • What value is the organization bringing?

“A mission statement illustrates the purpose of the organization, what it does, and what it intends on achieving. Its main function is to provide direction to the organization and highlight what it needs to do to achieve its vision.” (Joel Klein, BizTank (in Hull, “Answer 4 questions to get a great mission statement.”))

Sample mission statements

To enhance the lives of our end users through our products so that our brand becomes synonymous with user-centricity.

To enable innovative services that are seamless and enjoyable to our customers so that together we can inspire change.

Apple’s mission statement: “To bring the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services.” (Mission Statement Academy, May 2019.)

Coca Cola’s mission statement: “To refresh the world in mind, body, and spirit, to inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions, and to create value and make a difference.” (Mission Statement Academy, August 2019.)

Tip: Using the “To … so that” format helps to keep your mission focused on the “why.”

2.2 Develop your own mission statement

1 hour

Input: IT and business strategies, Vision

Output: Mission statement

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. Review the goals and the vision statement generated in the previous activities.
  2. Brainstorm possible mission statements that can apply to your BRM practice. Capture this in your BRM workbook.
  3. Refine your mission statement. Refer to the guidance provided on the previous page – ensure that the mission provides “the why”. Document the refined mission statement in the Executive Buy-In and Communication Template.

“People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it and what you do simply proves what you believe.” (Sinek, Transcript of “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.”)

Download the BRM Workbook

Download the Executive Buy-In and Communication Template

Areas that BRMs focus on include:

Establish how much of these your practice will focus on.

VALUE HARVESTING
  • Tracks and reviews performance
  • Identifies ways to increase business value
  • Provides insights on the results of business change/initiatives
Circle bisected at many random points to create areas of different colors with four color-coded circles surrounding it. DEMAND SHAPING
  • Isn’t just demand/intake management
  • Surfaces and shapes business demand
  • Is influenced by knowledge of the overall business and external entities
SERVICING
  • Coordinates resources
  • Manages expectations
  • Facilitates business strategy, business capability road-mapping, and portfolio and program management
EXPLORING
  • Identifies and rationalizes demand
  • Reviews new business, technology, and industry insights
  • Identifies business value initiatives

Establish what success means for your focus areas

Brainstorm objectives and success areas for your BRM practice.

Circle bisected at many random points to create areas of different colors with four color-coded circles surrounding it. VALUE HARVESTING
Success may mean that you:
  • Understand the drivers and what the business needs to attain
  • Demonstrate focus on value in discussions
  • Ensure value is achieved, tracking it during and beyond deployment
DEMAND SHAPING
Success may mean that you:
  • Understand the business
  • Are engaged at business meetings (invited to the table)
  • Understand IT; communicate clarity around IT to the business
  • Help IT prioritize needs
SERVICING
Success may mean that you:
  • Understand IT services and service levels that are required
  • Provide clarity around services and communicate costs and risks
EXPLORING
Success may mean that you:
  • Surface new opportunities based on understanding of pain points and growth needs
  • Research and partner with others to further the business
  • Engage resources with a focus on the value to be delivered

2.3 Establish BRM goals

1 hour

Input: Mission and vision statements

Output: List of goals

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: CIO, IT management team, BRM team

  1. Use the previous slides as a starting point – review the focus areas and sample associated objectives.
  2. Determine if all apply to your role.
  3. Brainstorm the objectives for your BRM practice.
  4. Discuss and refine the objectives and goals until the team agrees on your starting set.
  5. Leverage the workbook to establish the goals. Capture refined goals in the Executive Buy-In and Communication Template.

Download the BRM Workbook

Download the Executive Buy-In and Communication Template

PLAN

Assess

1.1 Define BRM

1.2 Analyze Satisfaction

1.3 Assess SWOT

Situate

2.1 Create Vision

2.2 Create the BRM Mission

2.3 Establish Goals

Plan

3.1 Establish Guiding Principles

3.2 Determine Where BRM Fits

3.3 Establish BRM Expectations

3.4 Identify Roles With BRM Responsibilities

3.5 Align Capabilities

Implement

4.1 Brainstorm Sources of Business Value

4.2 Identify Key Influencers

4.3 Categorize the Stakeholders

4.4 Create the Prioritization Map

4.5 Create Your Engagement Plan

Reassess & Embed

5.1 Create Metrics

5.2 Prioritize Your Projects

5.3 Create a Portfolio Investment Map

5.4 Establish Your Annual Plan

5.5 Build Your Transformation Roadmap

5.6 Create Your Communication Plan

Guiding principles help you focus the development of your practice

Your guiding principles should define a set of loose rules that can be used to design your BRM practice to the specific needs of the organization and work that needs to be done.

These rules will guide you through the establishment of your BRM practice and help you explain to your stakeholders the rationale behind organizing in a specific way.

Sample Guiding Principles

Principle Name

Principle Statement

Customer Focus We will prioritize internal and external customer perspectives
External Trends We will monitor and liaise with external organizations to bring best practices and learnings into our own
Organizational Span We embed relationship management across all levels of leadership in IT
Role If the resource does not have a seat at the table, they are not performing the BRM role

3.1 Establish guiding principles (optional activity)

Input: Mission and vision statements

Output: BRM guiding principles

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. Think about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as well as the overarching goals, mission, and vision.
  2. Identify a set of principles that the BRM practice should have. Guiding principles are shared, long-lasting beliefs that guide the use of business relationship management in your organization.

Download the BRM Workbook

Download the Executive Buy-In and Communication Template

Establish the BRM partner model and alignment

Having the right model and support is just as important as having the right people.

Gears with different BRM model terms: 'BRM Capabilities', 'BRM & Other Roles', 'Scope (pilot)', 'Operating Unit', 'BRM Expectations Across the organization', and 'Delivery & Support'.

Don’t boil the ocean: Start small

It may be useful to pilot the BRM practice with a small group within the organization – this gives you the opportunity to learn from the pilot and share best practices as you expand your BRM practice.

You can leverage the pilot business unit’s feedback to help obtain buy-in from additional groups.

Evaluate the approaches for your pilot:
Work With an Engaged Business Unit
Icon of a magnifying glass over a group of people.

This approach can allow you to find a champion group and establish quick wins.

Target Underperforming Area(s)
Icon of an ambulance.

This approach can allow you to establish significant wins, providing new opportunities for value.

Target the Area(s) Driving the Most Business Value
Icon of an arrow in a bullseye.

Provide the largest positive impact on your portfolio’s ability to drive business value; for large strategic or transformative goals.

Work Across a Single Business Process
Icon of a process tree.

This approach addresses a single business process or operation that exists across business units, departments, or locations. This, again, will allow you to limit the number of stakeholders.

Leverage BRM goals to determine where the role fits within the organization

Organization tree with a strategic BRM.

Strategic BRMs are considered IT leaders, often reporting to the CIO.


Organization tree with an operational BRM.

In product-aligned organizations, the product owners will own the strategic business relationship from a product perspective (often across LOB), while BRMs will own the strategic role for the line(s) of businesses (often across products) that they hold a relationship with. The BRM role may be played by a product family leader.


Organization tree with a BRM in a product-aligned organization.

BRMs may take on a more operational function when they are embedded within another group, such as the PMO. This manifests in:

  • Accountability for projects and programs
  • BRM conversations around projects and programs rather than overall needs
  • Often, there is less focus on stimulating need, more about managing demand
  • This structure may be useful for smaller organizations or where organizations are piloting the relationship capability

Use the IT structure and the business structure to determine how to align BRM and business partners. Many organizations ensure that each LOB has a designated BRM, but each BRM may work with multiple LOBs. Ensure your alignment provides an even and manageable distribution of work.

Don’t be intimidated by those who play a significant role in relationship management

Layers representing the BRM, BA, and Product Owner. Business Relationship Manager: Portfolio View
  • Ongoing with broader organization-wide objectives
  • A BRM’s strategic perspective is focused across projects and products
The BRM will look holistically across a portfolio, rather than on specific projects or products. Their focus is ensuring value is delivered that impacts the overall organization. Multiple BRMs may be responsible for lines of businesses and ensure that products and project enable LOBs effectively.
Business Analyst: Product or Project View
  • Works within a project or product
  • Accomplishes specific objectives within the project/product
The BA tends to be involved in project work – to that end, they are often brought in a bit before a project begins to better understand the context. They also often remain after the project is complete to ensure project value is delivered. However, their main focus is on delivering the objectives within the project.
Product Owner: Product View
  • Ongoing and strategic view of entire product, with product-specific objectives
The Product Owner bridges the gap between the business and delivery to ensure their product continuously delivers value. Their focus is on the product.

3.2 Establish the BRM’s place in the organizational structure

Input: BRM goals, IT organizational structure, Business organizational structure

Output: BRM operating model

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. Review the current organizational structure – both IT and overall business.
  2. Think about the maturity of the IT organization and what you and your partners will be able to support at this stage in the relationship or journey. Establish whether it is necessary to start with a pilot.
  3. Consider the reporting relationship that is required to support the desired maturity of your practice – who will your BRM function report into?
  4. Consider the distribution of work from your business partners. Establish which BRM is responsible for which partners.
  5. Document where the BRM fits in the organization in the Executive Buy-In and Communication Template.

Download the BRM Workbook

Download the Executive Buy-In and Communication Template

Align your titles to your business partners and ensure it demonstrates your strategic goals

Some titles that may reflect alignment with your partners:
  • Business Capability Manager
  • Business Information Officer
  • Business Relationship Manager
  • Director, Technology Partner
  • IT Business Relationship Manager
  • People Relationship Manager
  • Relationship and Strategy Officer
  • Strategic Partnership Director
  • Technology Partner/People Partner/Finance Partner/etc.
  • Value Management Officer

Support BRM team members might have “analyst” or “coordinator” as part of their titles.

Caution when using these titles:
  • Account Manager (do you see your stakeholders as accounts or as partners?)
  • Customer Relationship Manager (do you see your stakeholders as customers or as partners?)
  • People Partner (differentiate your role from HR)

Determine the expectations for your BRM role(s)

Below are standard expectations from BRM job descriptions. Establish whether there are changes required for your organization.

Act as a Relationship Manager
  • Build strong, collaborative relationships with business clients
  • Build strong, collaborative relationships with IT service owners
  • Track client satisfaction with services provided
  • Continuously improve, based on feedback from clients
Communicate With Business Stakeholders
  • Ensure that effective communication occurs related to service delivery and project delivery (e.g. planned downtime, changes, open tickets)
  • Manage expectations of multiple business stakeholders
  • Provide a clear point of contact within IT for each business stakeholder
  • Act as a bridge between IT and the business
Service Delivery

Service delivery breaks out into three activities: service status, changes, and service desk tickets

  • Understand at a high level the services and technologies in use
  • Work with clients to plan and make sure they understand the relevance and impact of IT changes to their operations
  • Define, agree to, and report on key service metrics
  • Act as an escalation point for major issues with any aspect of service delivery
  • Work with service owners to develop and monitor service improvement plans
Project/Product Delivery
  • Ensure that the project teams provide regular reports regarding project status, issues, and changes
  • Work with project managers and clients to ensure project requirements are well understood and documented and approved by all stakeholders
  • Ensure that the project teams provide key project metrics on a regular basis to all relevant stakeholders

Determine role expectations (slide 2 of 3)

Knowledge of the Business

Understand the main business activities for each department:

  • Understand which IT services are required to complete each business activity
  • Understand business processes and associated business activities for each user group within a department
Advocate for Your Business Clients
  • Act as an advocate for the client – be invested in client success
  • Understand the strategies and plans of the clients and help develop an IT strategic plan/roadmap that maps to business strategies
  • Help the business understand project governance processes
  • Help clients to develop proposals and advance them through the project intake and assessment process
Influence Business and IT Stakeholders
  • Influence business and IT stakeholders at multiple levels of the organization to help clients achieve their business objectives
  • Leverage existing relationships to convince decision makers to move forward with business and IT initiatives that will benefit the department and the organization as a whole
  • Understand and solve issues and challenges such as differing agendas, political considerations, and resistance to change
Knowledge of the Market
  • Understand the industry – trends, competition, future direction
  • Leverage what others are doing to bring innovative ideas to the organization
  • Understand what end customers expect with regards to IT services and bring this intelligence to business leaders and decision makers

Determine role expectations (slide 3 of 3)

Value Creator
  • Understand how services currently offered by IT can be put to best use and create value for the business
  • Work collaboratively with clients to define and prioritize technology initiatives (new or enhanced services) that will bring the most business benefit
  • 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
Innovator
  • Lead initiatives that result in new and better ways of doing business
  • Identify opportunities for using IT in new and innovative ways to bring value to the business and drive the business forward
  • Leverage knowledge of the business, knowledge of the industry, and knowledge of leading-edge technological solutions to transform the way the business operates and provides services to its customers

3.3 Establish BRM expectations

Input: BRM goals

Output: BRM expectations

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. Review the BRM expectations on the previous slides.
  2. Customize them – are they the appropriate set of expectations needed for your organization? What needs to be edited in or out?
  3. Add relevant expectations – what are the things that need to be done in the BRM practice at your organization?
  4. Leverage the workbook to brainstorm BRM expectations. Make sure you update them in the BRM Role Expectation Spreadsheet.

Download the BRM Workbook

Download the Executive Buy-In and Communication Template

Various roles and levels within your organization may have a part of the BRM pie

Where the BRM sits will impact what they are able to get done.

The BRM role is a strategic one, but other roles in the organization have a part to play in impacting IT-partner relationship.

Some roles may have a more strategic focus, while others may have a more tactical or operational focus.

3.4 Identify roles with BRM responsibilities

Input: BRM goals

Output: BRM-aligned roles

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. Various roles can play a part in the BRM practice, managing business relationships. Which ones make sense in your organization, given the BRM goals?
  2. Identify the roles and capture in the BRM Role Expectation Spreadsheet. Use the Role Expectation Alignment tab, row 1.


Download the Role Expectations Worksheet

Determine the focus for each role that may manage business relationships

Icon of a telescope. STRATEGIC Sets Direction: Focus of the activities is at the holistic, enterprise business level “relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them” e.g. builds overarching relationships to enable and support the organization’s strategy; has strategic conversations
Icon of a house in a location marker. TACTICAL Figures Out the How: Focuses on the tactics required to achieve the strategic focus “skillful in devising means to ends” e.g. builds relationships specific to tactics (projects, products, etc.)
Icon of a gear cog with a checkmark. OPERATIONAL Executes on the Direction: Day-to-day operations; how things get done “relating to the routine functioning and activities of a business or organization” e.g. builds and leverages relationships to accomplish specific goals (within a project or product)

3.5 Align BRM capabilities to roles

Input: Current-state model, Business value matrix, Objectives and goals

Output: BRM-aligned roles

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. Review each group of role expectations – Act as a Relationship Manager, Communicate with Business Stakeholders, etc. For each group, determine the focus each role can apply to it – strategic, tactical, or operational. Refer to the previous slide for examples.
  2. Capture on the spreadsheet:
    • S – This role is required to have a strategic view of the capabilities. They are accountable and set direction for this aspect of relationship management.
    • T – Indicate if the role is required to have a tactical view of the capabilities. This would include whether the role is required to figure out how the capabilities will be done; for example, is the role responsible for carrying out service management or are they just involved to ensure that that set of expectations are being performed?
    • O – Indicate if the role will have an operational view – are they the ones responsible for doing the work?
    • Note: In some organizations, a role may have more than one of these.
  3. The spreadsheet will highlight the cells in green if the role plays more of the strategic role, yellow for tactical, and brown for operational. This provides an overall visual of each role’s part in relationship management.
  4. (Optional) Review each detailed expectation within the group. Evaluate whether specific roles will have a different focus on the unique role expectations.

Leverage the Role Expectations Worksheet

Sample role expectation alignment

Sample of a role expectation alignment table with expectation names and descriptions on the left and a matrix of which roles should have a Strategic (S), Tactical (T), or Operational (O) view of the capabilities.

IMPLEMENT

Assess

1.1 Define BRM

1.2 Analyze Satisfaction

1.3 Assess SWOT

Situate

2.1 Create Vision

2.2 Create the BRM Mission

2.3 Establish Goals

Plan

3.1 Establish Guiding Principles

3.2 Determine Where BRM Fits

3.3 Establish BRM Expectations

3.4 Identify Roles With BRM Responsibilities

3.5 Align Capabilities

Implement

4.1 Brainstorm Sources of Business Value

4.2 Identify Key Influencers

4.3 Categorize the Stakeholders

4.4 Create the Prioritization Map

4.5 Create Your Engagement Plan

Reassess & Embed

5.1 Create Metrics

5.2 Prioritize Your Projects

5.3 Create a Portfolio Investment Map

5.4 Establish Your Annual Plan

5.5 Build Your Transformation Roadmap

5.6 Create Your Communication Plan

Speak the same language as your partners: Business Value

Business value represents the desired outcome from achieving business priorities.

Value is not only about revenue or reduced expenses. Use this internal-external and capability-financial business value matrix to more holistically consider what is valuable to stakeholders.

Improved Capabilities
Enhance Services
Products and services that enable business capabilities and improve an organization’s ability to perform its internal operations.
Increase Customer Satisfaction
Products and services that enable and improve the interaction with customers or produce practical market information and insights.
Inward Outward
Save Money
Products and services that reduce overhead. They typically are less related to broad strategic vision or goals and more simply limit expenses that would occur had the product or service not put in place.
Make money
(Return on Investment)
Products and services that are specifically related to the impact on an organization’s ability to create a return on investment.
Financial Benefits

Business Value Matrix Axes:

Financial Benefits vs. Improved Capabilities
  • Improved capabilities refers to the enhancement of business capabilities and skill sets.
  • Financial Benefits refers to the degree in which the value source can be measured through monetary metrics and is often highly tangible.
Inward vs. Outward Orientation
  • Inward refers to value sources that have an internal impact an organization’s effectiveness and efficiency in performing its operations.
  • Outward refers to value sources that come from interactions with external factors, such as the market or your customers.

4.1 Activity: Brainstorm sources of business value

Input: Product and service knowledge, Business process knowledge

Output: Understanding of different sources of business value

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. Identify your key stakeholders. These individuals are the critical business strategic partners in the organization’s governing bodies.
  2. Brainstorm the different types of business value that the BRM practice can produce.
  3. Is the item more focused on improving capabilities or generating financial benefits?
  4. Is the item focused on the customers you serve or the IT team?
  5. Enter your value item into a cell on the Business Value Matrix based on where it falls on these axes.
  6. Start to think about metrics you can use to measure how effective the product or service is at generating the value source.
Simplified version of the Business Value Matrix on the previous slide.

Use the BRM Workbook to capture sources of business value

Brainstorm the different sources of business value (continued)

See appendix for more information on value drivers:
Example:
Enhance Services
  • Dashboards/IT Situational Awareness
  • Improve measurement of services for data-driven analytics that can improve services
  • Collaborate to support Enterprise Architecture
  • Approval for and support of new applications per customer demand
  • Provide consultation for IT issues
Axis arrow with 'Improved Capabilities'.
Axis arrow with 'Financial Benefits'.
Reach Customers
  • Provide technology roadmaps for IT services and devices
  • Improved "PR" presence: websites, service catalog, etc.
  • Enhance customer experience
  • Faster Time-to-market delivering innovative technologies and current services
Axis arrow with 'Inward'.Axis arrow with 'Outward'.
Reduce Costs
  • Achieve better pricing through enterprise agreements for IT services that are duplicated across several orgs
  • Prioritization/ development of roadmap
  • Portfolio management / reduce duplication of services
  • Evolve resourcing strategies to integrate teams (e.g. do more with less)
Return on Investment
  • Customer -focused dashboards
  • Encourage use of centralized services through external collaboration capabilities that fit multiple use cases
  • Devise strategies for measured/supported migration from older IT systems/software

Implications of ineffective stakeholder management

A stakeholder is any group or individual who is impacted by (or impacts) your objectives.

Challenges with stakeholder management can result from a self-focused point of view. Avoid these challenges by taking on the other’s perspectives – what’s in it for them.

The key objectives of stakeholder management are to improve outcomes, increase confidence, and enhance trust in IT.

  • Obtain commitment of executive management for IT-related objectives.
  • Enhance alignment between IT and the business.
  • Improve understanding of business requirements.
  • Improve implementation of technology to support business processes.
  • Enhance transparency of IT costs, risks, and benefits.

Challenges

  • Stakeholders are missed or new stakeholders are identified too late.
  • IT has a tendency to only look for direct stakeholders. Indirect and hidden stakeholders are not considered.
  • Stakeholders may have conflicting priorities, different visions, and different needs. Keeping every stakeholder happy is impossible.
  • IT has a lack of business understanding and uses jargon and technical language that is not understood by stakeholders.

Implications

  • Unanticipated stakeholders and negative changes in stakeholder sentiment can derail initiatives.
  • Direct stakeholders are identified, but unidentified indirect or hidden stakeholders cause a major impact to the initiative.
  • The CIO attempts to trade off competing agendas and ends up caught in the middle and pleasing no one.
  • There is a failure in understanding and communications, leading stakeholders to become disenchanted with IT.

Cheat Sheet: Identify stakeholders

Ask stakeholders “who else should I be talking to?” to discover additional stakeholders and ensure you don’t miss anyone.

List the people who are identified through the following questions: Take a 360-degree view of potential internal and external stakeholders who might be impacted by the initiative.
  • Who will be adversely affected by potential environmental and social impacts in areas of influence that are affected by what you are doing?
  • At which stage will stakeholders be most affected (e.g. procurement, implementation, operations, decommissioning)?
  • Will other stakeholders emerge as the phases are started and completed?
  • Who is sponsoring the initiative?
  • Who benefits from the initiative?
  • Who loses from the initiative?
  • Who can make approvals?
  • Who controls resources?
  • Who has specialist skills?
  • Who implements the changes?
  • Who are the owners, governors, customers, and suppliers to impacted capabilities or functions?

Executives

Peers

Direct reports

Partners

Customers

Stock image of a world.

Subcontractors

Suppliers

Contractors

Lobby groups

Regulatory agencies

Establish your stakeholder network “map”

Follow the trail of breadcrumbs from your direct stakeholders to their influencers to uncover hidden stakeholders.

Your stakeholder map defines the influence landscape your BRM team operates in. It is every bit as important as the teams who enhance, support, and operate your products directly.

Notes on the network map

  • Pay special attention to influencers who have many arrows; they are called “connectors,” and due to their diverse reach of influence, should themselves be treated as significant stakeholders.
  • Don’t forget to consider the through-lines from one influencer through intermediate stakeholders or influencers to the final stakeholder – a single influencer may have additional influence via multiple, possibly indirect paths to a single stakeholder.

Legend for the example stakeholder network map below. 'Black arrows indicate the direction of professional influence'. 'Dashed green arrows indicate bidirectional, informal influence relationships'

Example stakeholder network map visualizing relationships between different stakeholders.

4.2 Visualize interrelationships among stakeholders to identify key influencers

Input: List of stakeholders

Output: Relationships among stakeholders and influencers

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. List direct stakeholders for your area. Ensure it includes stakeholders across the organization (both IT and business units).
  2. Determine the stakeholders of your stakeholders. Consider adding each of them to the stakeholder list: assess who has either formal or informal influence over your stakeholders; add these influencers to your stakeholder list.
  3. Create a stakeholder network map to visualize relationships.
    • (Optional) Use black arrows to indicate the direction of professional influence.
    • (Optional) Use dashed green arrows to indicate bidirectional, informal influence relationships.
  4. Capture the list or diagram of your stakeholders in your workbook.

Use the BRM Workbook to capture stakeholders

Categorize your stakeholders with a stakeholder prioritization map

A stakeholder prioritization map help teams categorize their stakeholders by their level or influence and ownership.

There are four areas in the map and the stakeholders within each area should be treated differently.

  • Players – players have a high interest in the initiative and the influence to effect change over the initiative. Their support is critical and a lack of support can cause significant impediment to the objectives.
  • Mediators – mediators have a low interest but significant influence over the initiative. They can help to provide balance and objective opinions to issues that arise.
  • Noisemakers – noisemakers have low influence but high interest. They tend to be very vocal and engaged, either positively or negatively, but have little ability to enact their wishes.
  • Spectators – generally, spectators are apathetic and have little influence over or interest in the initiative.

Stakeholder prioritization map with axes 'Influence' and 'Ownership/Interest' splitting the map into four quadrants: 'Spectators Low/Low', 'Noisemakers Low/High', 'Mediators High/Low', and 'Players High/High'.

4.3 Group your stakeholders into categories

Input: Stakeholder Map

Output: Categorization of stakeholders and influencers

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. Identify your stakeholder’s interest in and influence on your BRM program.
  2. Map your results to the quadrant in your workbook to determine each stakeholder’s category.

Stakeholder prioritization map with example 'Stakeholders' placed in or across the four quadrants.

Level of Influence

  • Power: Ability of a stakeholder to effect change.
  • Urgency: Degree of immediacy demanded.
  • Legitimacy: Perceived validity of stakeholder’s claim.
  • Volume: How loud their “voice” is or could become.
  • Contribution: What they have that is of value to you.

Level of Interest

How much are the stakeholder’s individual performance and goals directly tied to the success or failure of the product?

Use the BRM Workbook to map your stakeholders

Define strategies for engaging stakeholders by type

Each group of stakeholders draws attention and resources away from critical tasks.

By properly identifying your stakeholder groups, you can develop corresponding actions to manage stakeholders in each group. This can dramatically reduce wasted effort trying to satisfy Spectators and Noisemakers while ensuring the needs of the Mediators and Players are met.

Type Quadrant Actions
Players High influence; high interest Actively Engage
Keep them engaged through continuous involvement. Maintain their interest by demonstrating their value to its success.
Mediators High influence; low interest Keep Satisfied
They can be the game changers in groups of stakeholders. Turn them into supporters by gaining their confidence and trust, and include them in important decision-making steps. In turn, they can help you influence other stakeholders.
Noisemakers Low influence; high interest Keep Informed
Try to increase their influence (or decrease it if they are detractors) by providing them with key information, supporting them in meetings, and using Mediators to help them.
Spectators Low influence; low interest Monitor
They are followers. Keep them in the loop by providing clarity on objectives and status updates.

Prioritize your stakeholders

There may be too many stakeholders to be able to manage them all. Focus your attention on the stakeholders that matter most.

Apply a third dimension for stakeholder prioritization: support.

Support, in addition to interest and influence, is used to prioritize which stakeholders are should receive the focus of your attention. This table indicates how stakeholders are ranked:

Table with 'Stakeholder Categories' and their 'Level of Support' for prioritizing. Support levels are 'Supporter', 'Evangelist', 'Neutral', and 'Blocker'.

Support can be determined by rating the following question: how likely is it that your stakeholder would recommend IT at your organization/your group? Our four categories of support:

  • Blocker – beware of the blocker. These stakeholders do not support your cause and have the necessary drive to impede the achievement of your objectives.
  • Semi-Supporter – while these stakeholders are committed to your objectives, they are somewhat apathetic to advocate on your behalf. They will support you so long as it does not require much effort from them to do so.
  • Neutral – neutrals do not have much commitment to your objectives and are not willing to expend much energy to either support or detract from them.
  • Supporter – these stakeholders are committed to your initiative and are willing to whole-heartedly provide you with support.

4.4 Update your stakeholder quadrant to include the three dimensions

Input: Stakeholder Map

Output: Categorization of stakeholders and influencers

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. Identify the level of support of each stakeholder by answering the following question: how likely is it that your stakeholder would support your initiative/endeavor?
  2. Map your results to the model in your workbook to determine each stakeholder’s category.
Stakeholder prioritization map with example 'Persons' placed in or across the four quadrants. with The third dimension, 'Level of Support', is color-coded.

Use the BRM Workbook to map your stakeholders

Leverage your map to think about how to engage with your stakeholders

Not all stakeholders are equal, nor can they all be treated the same. Your stakeholder quadrant highlights areas where you may need to engage differently.

Blockers

Pay attention to your “blockers,” especially those that appear in the high influence and high interest part of the quadrant. Consider how your engagement with them varies from supporters in this quadrant. Consider what is valuable to these stakeholders and focus your conversations on “what’s in this for them.”

Neutral & Evangelists

Stakeholders that are neutral or evangelists do not require as much attention as blockers and supporters, but they still can’t be ignored – especially those who are players (high influence and engagement). Focus on what’s in it for them to move them to become supporters.

Supporters

Do not neglect supporters – continue to engage with them to ensure that they remain supporters. Focus on the supporters that are influential and impacted, rather than the “spectators.”

4.5 Create your engagement plan

Input: Stakeholder Map/list of stakeholders

Output: Categorization of stakeholders and influencers

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. Leverage the BRM Stakeholder Engagement Plan spreadsheet. List your key stakeholders.
  2. Consider: how do you show value at your current maturity level so that you can gain trust and your relationship can mature? Establish where your relationship lacks maturity, and consider whether you need to engage with them on a more strategic, tactical, or even operational manner.
    • At lower levels of maturity (Table Stakes), focus on service delivery, project delivery, and communication.
    • At mid-level maturity (Influencer/Advocate), focus on business pain points and a deeper knowledge of the business.
    • At higher maturity levels (Value Creator/Innovator), focus on creating value by leading innovative initiatives that drive the business forward.
  3. Review the stakeholder quadrant. Update the frequency of your communication accordingly.
  4. Capture the agenda for your engagements with them.

Download and use the BRM Stakeholder Engagement Plan

Your agenda should vary with the maturity of your relationship

Agenda
Stakeholder Information Type Meeting Frequency Lower Maturity Mid-Level Maturity Higher Maturity
VP Strategic Quarterly
  • Summary of current and upcoming projects and initiatives
  • Business pain points for the department
  • Proposed solutions to address business pain points
  • Innovative solutions to improve business processes and drive value for the department and the organization
Director Strategic, Tactical Monthly
  • Summary of recent and upcoming changes
  • Summary of current and upcoming projects and initiatives
  • Business pain points for the department
  • Proposed business process improvements
  • Current and upcoming project proposals to address business pain points
  • Innovative solutions to help the department achieve its business goals and objectives
Manager Tactical Monthly
  • Summary of service desk tickets
  • Summary of recent and upcoming changes
  • Summary of current and upcoming projects and initiatives
  • Business pain points for the team
  • Proposed business activity improvements
  • Current and upcoming projects to address business pain points
  • Innovative solutions to help business users perform their daily business activities more effectively and efficiently

Lower Maturity – Focus on service delivery, project delivery, and communication

Mid-Level Maturity – Focus on business pain points and a deeper knowledge of the business

Higher Maturity – Focus on creating value by leading innovative initiatives that drive the business forward

Stakeholder – Include both IT and business stakeholders at appropriate levels

Agenda – Manage stakeholders expectations, and clarify how your agenda will progress as the partnership matures

REASSESS & EMBED

Assess

1.1 Define BRM

1.2 Analyze Satisfaction

1.3 Assess SWOT

Situate

2.1 Create Vision

2.2 Create the BRM Mission

2.3 Establish Goals

Plan

3.1 Establish Guiding Principles

3.2 Determine Where BRM Fits

3.3 Establish BRM Expectations

3.4 Identify Roles With BRM Responsibilities

3.5 Align Capabilities

Implement

4.1 Brainstorm Sources of Business Value

4.2 Identify Key Influencers

4.3 Categorize the Stakeholders

4.4 Create the Prioritization Map

4.5 Create Your Engagement Plan

Reassess & Embed

5.1 Create Metrics

5.2 Prioritize Your Projects

5.3 Create a Portfolio Investment Map

5.4 Establish Your Annual Plan

5.5 Build Your Transformation Roadmap

5.6 Create Your Communication Plan

Measure your BRM practice success

  • Metrics are powerful because they drive behavior.
  • Metrics are also dangerous because they often lead to unintended negative outcomes.
  • Metrics should be chosen carefully to avoid getting “what you asked for” instead of “what you intended.”

Stock image of multiple business people running off the end of a pointed finger like lemmings.

Questions to ask Are your metrics achievable?
  1. What are the leading indicators of BRM effectively supporting the business’ strategic direction?
  2. How are success metrics aligned with the objectives of other functional groups?

S pecific

M easurable

A chievable

R ealistic

T ime-bound

Embedding the BRM practice within your organization must be grounded in achievable outcomes.

Ensure that the metrics your practice is measured against reflect realistic and tangible business expectations. Overpromising the impact the practice will have can lead to long-term implementation challenges.

Determine whether your business is satisfied with IT

Measuring tape.

1

Survey your stakeholders to measure improvements in customer satisfaction.

Leverage the CIO Business Vision on a regular interval – most find that annual assessments drive success.

Evaluate whether the addition or increased maturity of your BRM practice has improved satisfaction with IT.

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.
Table with a breakdown of the example 'Satisfaction' score, with individual scores for 'Needs', 'Execution', and 'Communication'.

Check if you’ve met the BRM goals you set out to achieve

Measuring tape.

2

Measure BRM success against the goals for the practice.

Evaluate whether the BRM practice has helped IT to meet the goals that you’ve established.

For each of your goals, create metrics to establish how you will know if you’ve been successful. This might be how many or what type of interactions you have with your stakeholders, and/or it could be new connections with internal or external partners.

Ensure you have established metrics to measure success at your goals.

Dart board with five darts, each representing a goal, 'Demand Shaping', 'Value Realization', 'Servicing', 'Exploring', and 'Other Goal(s)'.

5.1 Create metrics

Input: Goals, The attributes which can align to goal success

Output: Measurements of success

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. Start with a consideration of your goals and objectives.
  2. Identify key aspects that can support confirming if the goal was successful.
  3. For each aspect, develop a method to measure success with a specific measurement.
  4. When creating the KPI consider:
    • How you know if you are achieving your objective (performance)?
    • How frequently will you be measuring this?
    • Are you looking for an increase, decrease, or maintenance of the metric?
Table with columns 'BRM Goals', 'Measurement', 'KPI', and 'Frequency'.

Use the BRM Workbook

Don’t wait all year to find out if you’re on track

Leverage the below questions to quickly poll your business partners on a more frequent basis.

Partner instructions:

Please indicate how much you agree with each of the following statements. Use a scale of 1-5, where 1 is low agreement and 5 indicates strong agreement:

Demand Shaping: My BRM is at the table and seeks to understand my business. They help me understand IT and helps IT prioritize my needs.

Exploring: My BRM surfaces new opportunities based on their understanding of my pain points and growth needs. They engage resources with a focus on the value to be delivered.

Servicing: The BRM obtains an understanding of the services and service levels that are required, clarifies them, and communicates costs and risks.

Value Harvesting: Focus on value is evident in discussions – the BRM supports IT in ensuring value realization is achieved and tracks value during and beyond deployment.

Embedding the BRM practice also includes acknowledging the BRM’s part in balancing the IT portfolio

IT needs to juggle “keeping the lights on” initiatives with those required to add value to the organization.

Partner with the appropriate resources (Project Management Office, Product Owners, System Owners, and/or others as appropriate within your organization) to ensure that all initiatives focus on value.

Info-Tech Insight

Not every organization will balance their portfolio in the same way. Some organizations have higher risk tolerance and so their higher priority goals may require that they accept more risk to potentially reap more returns.

Stock image of a man juggling business symbols.

80% of organizations feel their portfolios are dominated by low-value initiatives that do not deliver value to the business. (Source: Stage-Gate International and Product Development Institute, March/April 2009)

All new requests are not the same; establish a process for intake and manage expectations and IT’s capacity to deliver value.

Ensure you communicate your process to support new ideas with your stakeholders. They’ll be clear on the steps to bring new initiatives into IT and will understand and be engaged in the process to demonstrate value.

Flowchart for an example intake process.

For support creating your intake process, go to Optimize Project Intake, Approval and Prioritization Sample of Info-Tech's Optimize Project Intake, Approval and Prioritization.

Use value as your criteria to evaluate initiatives

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

Sample of Info-Tech’s Project Value Scorecard Development Tool.

Download Info-Tech’s Project Value Scorecard Development Tool.

Enter risk/compliance criteria under operational alignment: projects must be aligned with the operational goals of the business and IT.

Business value matrix.

Enter these criteria under strategic alignment: projects must be aligned with the strategic goals of the business, customer, and IT.
Enter financial criteria under financial: projects must realize monetary benefits, in increased revenue or decreased costs, while posing as little risk of cost overrun as possible.
And don’t forget about feasibility: practical considerations for projects must be taken into account in selecting projects.

5.2 Prioritize your investments/ projects (optional activity)

Input: Value criteria

Output: Prioritized project listing

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. Review and edit (if necessary) the criteria on tab 2 the Project Value Scorecard Development Tool.
    Screenshot from tab 2 of Info-Tech’s Project Value Scorecard Development Tool.
  2. Score initiatives and investments on tab 3 using your criteria.
    Screenshot from tab 3 of Info-Tech’s Project Value Scorecard Development Tool.
Download Info-Tech’s Project Value Scorecard Development Tool.

Visualize where investments add value through an initiative portfolio map

An initiative portfolio map is a graphic visualization of strategic initiatives overlaid on a business capability map.

Leverage the initiative portfolio map to communicate the value of what IT is working on to your stakeholders.

Info-Tech Insight

Projects will often impact one or more capabilities. As such, your portfolio map will help you identify cross-dependencies when scaling up or scaling down initiatives.

Example initiative portfolio map


Example initiative portfolio map with initiatives in categories like 'Marketing Strategy' and 'Brand Mgmt.'. Certain groups of initiatives have labels detailing when they achieve collectively.

5.3 Create a portfolio investment map (optional activity)

Input: Business capability map

Output: Portfolio investment map

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. Build a capability map, outlining the value streams that support your organization’s goals and the high-level capabilities (level 1) that support the value stream (and goals).
    For more support in establishing the capability map, see Document Your Business Architecture.
    Example table for outlining 'Value Streams' and 'Level 1 Capabilities' through 'Goals'.
  2. Identify high-value capabilities for the organization.
  3. What are the projects and initiatives that will address the critical capabilities? Add these under the high-value capabilities.
  4. This process will help you demonstrate how projects align to business goals. Enter your capabilities and projects in Info-Tech’s Initiative Portfolio Map Template.
Download Info-Tech’s Initiative Portfolio Map Template.

Establish your annual BRM plan

To support the BRM capability at your organization, you’ll want to communicate your plan. This will include:
  • Business Feedback and Engagement
    • Engaging with your partners includes meeting with them on a regular basis. Establish this frequency and capture it in your plan. This engagement must include an understanding of their goals and challenges.
    • As Bill Gates said, “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve” (Inc.com, 2013). There are various points in the year which will provide you with the opportunity to understand your business partners’ views of IT or the BRM role. List the opportunities to reflect on this feedback in your plan.
  • Business-IT Alignment
    • Bring together the views and perspectives of IT and the business.
    • List the activities that will be required to reflect business goals in IT. These include IT goals, budget, and planning.
  • BRM Improvement
    • The practices put in place to support the BRM practice need to continuously evolve to support a maturing organization. The feedback from stakeholders throughout the organization will provide input into this. Ensure there are activities and time put aside to evaluate the improvements required.
Stock image of someone discovering a calendar in a jungle with a magnifying glass.

5.4 Establish your year-in-the-life plan

Input: Engagement plan, BRM goals

Output: Annual BRM plan

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. Start with your business planning activities – what will you as a BRM be doing as your business establishes their plans and strategies? These could include:
    • Listening and feedback sessions
    • Third-party explorations
  2. Then look at your activities required to integrate within IT – what activities are required to align business directives within your IT groups? Examples can include:
    • Business strategy review
    • Capability map creation
    • Input into the Business-aligned IT strategy
    • IT budget input
  3. What activities are required to continuously improve the BRM role? This may consist of:
    • Feedback discussions with business partners
    • Roadshow with colleagues to communicate and refine the practice
  4. Map these on your annual calendar that can be shared with your colleagues.
Capture in the BRM Workbook

Communicate using the Executive Buy-In and Communication Template

Sample of a slide titled 'BRM Annual Cycle'.

Sample BRM annual cycle

Sample BRM annual cycle with row headers 'Business Feedback and Engagement', 'Business-IT Alignment', and 'BRM Improvement' mapped across a Q1 to Q4 timeline with individual tasks in each category.

5.5 Build your transformation roadmap

Input: SWOT analysis

Output: Transformation roadmap

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. Brainstorm and discuss the key enablers that are needed to help promote and ease your BRM program.
  2. Brainstorm and discuss the key blockers (or risks) that may interrupt or derail your BRM program.
  3. Brainstorm mitigation activities for each blocker.
  4. Enablers and mitigation activities can be listed on your transformation roadmap.

Example:

Enablers

  • High business engagement and buy-in
  • Supportive BRM leadership
  • Organizational acceptance for change
  • Development process awareness by development teams
  • Collaborative culture
  • Existing tools can be customized for BRM

Blockers

  • Pockets of management resistance
  • Significant time is required to implement BRM and train resources
  • Geographically distributed resources
  • Difficulty injecting customers in demos

Mitigation

  • BRM workshop training with all teams and stakeholders to level set expectations
  • Limit the scope for pilot project to allow time to learn
  • Temporarily collocate all resources and acquire virtual communication technology

Capture in the BRM Workbook

5.5 Build your transformation roadmap (cont’d)

  1. Roadmap Elements:
    • List the artifacts, changes, or actions needed to implement the new BRM program.
    • For each item, identify how long it will take to implement or change by moving it into the appropriate swim lane. Use timing that makes sense for your organization: Quick Wins, Short Term, and Long Term; Now, Next, and Later; or Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4.

Example transformation roadmap with BRM programs arranged in columns 'Now', 'Next (3-6 months)', 'Later (6+ months)', and 'Deferred'.

Communicate the BRM changes to set your practice up for success

Leaders of successful change spend considerable time developing a powerful change message, i.e. a compelling narrative that articulates the desired end state, and that makes the change concrete and meaningful to staff.

The change message should:

  • Explain why the change is needed.
  • Summarize what will stay the same.
  • Highlight what will be left behind.
  • Emphasize what is being changed.
  • Explain how change will be implemented.
  • Address how change will affect various roles in the organization.
  • Discuss the staff’s role in making the change successful.
Five elements of communicating change
Diagram titled 'COMMUNICATING THE CHANGE' surrounded by useful questions: 'What is the change?', 'What will the role be for each department and individual?', 'Why are we doing it?', 'How long will it take us to do it?', and 'How are we going to go about it?'.
(Source: The Qualities of Leadership: Leading Change)

Apply the following communication principles to make your BRM changes relevant to stakeholders

“We tend to use a lot of jargon in our discussions, and that is a sure fire way to turn people away. We realized the message wasn’t getting out because the audience wasn’t speaking the same language. You have to take it down to the next level and help them understand where the needs are.” (Jeremy Clement, Director of Finance, College of Charleston, Info-Tech Interview, 2018)

Be Relevant

  • Talk about what matters to the stakeholder. Think: “what’s in it for them?
  • Tailor the details of the message to each stakeholder’s specific concerns.
  • Often we think in processes but stakeholders only care about results: talk in terms of results.

Be Clear

  • Don’t use jargon.
  • Choice of language is important: “Do you think this is a good idea? I think we could really benefit from your insights and experience here.” Or do you mean: “I think we should do this. I need you to do this to make it happen.”

Be Concise

  • Keep communication short and to the point so key messages are not lost in the noise.
  • There is a risk of diluting your key message if you include too many other details.

Be Consistent

  • The core message must be consistent regardless of audience, channel, or medium. A lack of consistency can be interpreted as an attempt at deception. This can hurt credibility and trust.
  • Test your communication with your team or colleagues to obtain feedback before delivering to a broader audience.

5.6 Create a communications plan tailored to each of your stakeholders

Input: Prioritized list of stakeholders

Output: Communication Plan

Materials: Whiteboard/flip charts (physical or electronic)

Participants: Team

  1. List stakeholders in order of importance in the first column.
  2. Identify the frequency with which you will communicate to each group.
  3. Determine the scope of the communication:
    • What key information needs to be included in the message to ensure they are informed and on board?
    • Which medium(s) will you use to communicate to that specific group?
  4. Develop a concrete timeline that will be followed to ensure that support is maintained from the key stakeholders.

Audience

All BRM Staff

Purpose

  • Introduce and explain operating model
  • Communicate structural changes

Communication Type

  • Team Meeting

Communicator

CIO

Timing

  • Sept 1 – Introduce new structure
  • Sept 15 – TBD
  • Sept 29 – TBD

Related Blueprints

Business Value
Service Catalog
Intake Management
Sample of Info-Tech's 'Document Your Business Architecture' blueprint.
Sample of Info-Tech's 'Design and Build a User-Facing Service Catalog' blueprint.
Sample of Info-Tech's 'Manage Stakeholder Relations' blueprint.
Sample of Info-Tech's 'Document Business Goals and Capabilities for Your IT Strategy' blueprint.
Sample of Info-Tech's 'Fix Your IT Culture' blueprint.

Selected Bibliography

“Apple Mission and Vision Analysis.” Mission Statement Academy, 23 May 2019. Accessed 5 November 2020.

Barnes, Aaron. “Business Relationship Manager and Plan Build Run.” BRM Institute, 8 April 2014.

Barnes, Aaron. “Starting a BRM Team - Business Relationship Management Institute.” BRM Institute, 5 June 2013. Web.

BRM Institute. “Business Partner Maturity Model.” Member Templates and Examples, Online Campus, n.d. Accessed 3 December 2021.

BRM Institute. “BRM Assessment Templates and Examples.” Member Templates and Examples, Online Campus, n.d. Accessed 24 November 2021.

Brusnahan, Jim, et al. “A Perfect Union: BRM and Agile Development and Delivery.” BRM Institute, 8 December 2020. Web.

Business Relationship Management: The BRMP Guide to the BRM Body of Knowledge. Second printing ed., BRM Institute, 2014.

Chapman, Chuck. “Building a Culture of Trust - Remote Leadership Institute.” Remote Leadership Institute, 10 August 2021. Accessed 27 January 2022.

“Coca Cola Mission and Vision Analysis.” Mission Statement Academy, 4 August 2019. Accessed 5 November 2020.

Colville, Alan. “Shared Vision.” UX Magazine, 31 October 2011. Web.

Cooper, Robert, G. “Effective Gating: Make product innovation more productive by using gates with teeth.” Stage-Gate International and Product Development Institute, March/April 2009. Web.

Heller, Martha. “How CIOs Can Make Business Relationship Management (BRM) Work.” CIO, 1 November 2016. Accessed 27 January 2022.

“How Many Business Relationship Managers Should You Have.” BRM Institute, 20 March 2013. Web.

Hull, Patrick. “Answer 4 Questions to Get a Great Mission Statement.” Forbes, 10 January 2013. Web.

Kasperkevic, Jana. “Bill Gates: Good Feedback Is the Key to Improvement.” Inc.com, 17 May 2013. Web.

Merlyn, Vaughan. “Relationships That Matter to the BRM.” BRM Institute, 19 October 2016. Web.

“Modernizing IT’s Business Relationship Manager Role.” The Hackett Group, 22 November 2019. Web.

Monroe, Aaron. “BRMs in a SAFe World...That Is, a Scaled Agile Framework Model.” BRM Institute, 5 January 2021. Web.

Selected Bibliography

“Operational, adj." OED Online, Oxford University Press, December 2021. Accessed 29 January 2022.

Sinek, Simon. “Transcript of ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action.’” TEDxPuget Sound, September 2009. Accessed 7 November 2020.

“Strategic, Adj. and n.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, December 2016. Accessed 27 January 2022.

“Tactical, Adj.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, September 2018. Accessed 27 January 2022.

“The Qualities of Leadership: Leading Change.” Cornelius & Associates, 23 September 2013. Web.

“Twice the Business Value in Half the Time: When Agile Methods Meet the Business Relationship Management Role.” BRM Institute, 10 April 2015. Web.

“Value Streams.” Scaled Agile Framework, 30 June 2020. Web.

Ward, John. “Delivering Value from Information Systems and Technology Investments: Learning from Success.” Information Systems Research Centre, August 2006. Web.

Appendix

  • Business Value Drivers
  • Service Blueprint
  • Stakeholder Communications
  • Job Descriptions

Understand business value drivers for ROI and cost

Make Money

This value driver is specifically related to the impact a product or service has on your organization’s ability to show value for the investments. This is usually linked to the value for money for an organization.

Return on Investment can be derived from:

  • Sustaining or increasing funding.
  • Enabling data monetization.
  • Improving the revenue generation of an existing service.
  • Preventing the loss of a funding stream.

Be aware of the difference among your products and services that enable a revenue source and those which facilitate the flow of funding.

Save Money

This value driver relates to the impact of a product or service on cost and budgetary constraints.

Reduce costs value can be derived from:

  • Reducing the cost to provide an existing product or service.
  • Replacing a costly product or service with a less costly alternative.
  • Bundling and reusing products or services to reduce overhead.
  • Expanding the use of shared services to generate more value for the cost of existing investment.
  • Reducing costs through improved effectiveness and reduction of waste.

Budgetary pressures tied to critical strategic priorities may defer or delay implementation of initiatives and revision of existing products and services.

Understand Business Value Drivers that Enhance Your Services

Operations

Some products and services are in place to facilitate and support the structure of the organization. These vary depending on what is important to your organization, but should be assessed in relation to the organizational culture and structure you have identified.

  • Adds or improves effectiveness for a particular service or the process and technology enabling its success.

Risk and Compliance

A product or service may be required in order to meet a regulatory requirement. In these cases, you need to be aware of the organizational risk of NOT implementing or maintaining a service in relation to those risks.

In this case, the product or service is required in order to:

  • Prevent fines.
  • Allow the organization to operate within a specific jurisdiction.
  • Remediate audit gaps.
  • Provide information required to validate compliance.

Internal Information

Understanding internal operations is also critical for many organizations. Data captured through your operations provides critical insights that support efficiency, productivity, and many other strategic goals.

Internal information value can be derived by:

  • Identifying areas of improvement in the development of core offerings.
  • Monitoring and tracking employee behavior and productivity.
  • Monitoring resource levels.
  • Monitoring inventory levels.

Collaboration and Knowledge Transfer

Communication is integral and products and services can be the link that ties your organization together.

In this case, the value generated from products and services can be to:

  • Align different departments and multiple locations.
  • Enable collaboration.
  • Capture trade secrets and facilitate organizational learning.

Understand Business Value Drivers that Connect the Business to Your Customers

Policy

Products and services can also be assessed in relation to whether they enable and support the required policies of the organization. Policies identify and reinforce required processes, organizational culture, and core values.

Policy value can be derived from:

  • The service or initiative will produce outcomes in line with our core organizational values.
  • It will enable or improve adherence and/or compliance to policies within the organization.

Customer Relations

Products and services are often designed to facilitate goals of customer relations; specifically, improve satisfaction, retention, loyalty, etc. This value type is most closely linked to brand management and how a product or service can help execute brand strategy. Customers, in this sense, can also include any stakeholders who consume core offerings.

Customer satisfaction value can be derived from:

  • Improving the customer experience.
  • Resolving a customer issue or identified pain point.
  • Providing a competitive advantage for your customers.
  • Helping to retain customers or prevent them from leaving.

Market Information

Understanding demand and market trends is a core driver for all organizations. Data provided through understanding the ways, times, and reasons that consumers use your services is a key driver for growth and stability.

Market information value can be achieved when an app:

  • Addresses strategic opportunities or threats identified through analyzing trends.
  • Prevents failures due to lack of capacity to meet demand.
  • Connects resources to external sources to enable learning and growth within the organization.

Market Share

Market share represents the percentage of a market or market segment that your business controls. In essence, market share can be viewed as the potential for more or new revenue sources.

Assess the impact on market share. Does the product or service:

  • Increase your market share?
  • Open access to a new market?
  • Help you maintain your market share?

Service Blueprint

Service design involves an examination of the people, process and technology involved in delivering a service to your customers.

Service blueprinting provides a visual of how these are connected together. It enables you to identify and collaborate on improvements to an existing service.

The main components of a service blueprint are:

Customer actions – this anchors the service in the experiences of the customer

Front-stage – this shows the parts of the service that are visible to the customer

Back-stage – this is the behind-the-scenes actions necessary to deliver the experience to the customer

Support processes – this is what’s necessary to deliver the back-stage (and front-stage/customer experience), but is not aligned from a timing perspective (e.g. it doesn’t matter if the fridge is stocked when the order is put in, as long as the supplies are available for the chef to use)

Example service blueprint with the main components listed above as row headers.

Physical Evidence and Time are blueprint components can be added in to provide additional context & support

Example service blueprint with the main components plus added components 'Physical Evidence' and 'Time'.

Stakeholder Communications

Personalize
  • “What’s in it for me” & Persona development – understanding what the concerns are from the community that you will want to communicate about
  • Get to know the cultures of each persona to identify how they communicate. For the faculty, Teams might not be the answer, but faculty meetings might be, or sending messages via email. Each persona group may have unique/different needs
  • Meet them “where they are”: Be prepared to provide 5-minute updates (with “what’s in it for me” and personas in mind) at department meetings in cases where other communications (Teams etc.) aren’t reaching the community
  • Review the business vision diagnostic report to understand what’s important to each community group and what their concerns are with IT. Definitely review the comments that users have written.
Show Proof
  • Share success stories tailored to users needs – e.g. if they have a concern with security, and IT implemented a new secure system to better meet their needs, then telling them about the success is helpful – shows that you’re listening and have responded to meet their concerns. Demonstrates how interacting with IT has led to positive results. People can more easily relate to stories

Reference
  • Consider establishing a repository (private/unlisted YouTube channel, Teams, etc.) so that the community can search to view the tip/trick they need
  • Short videos are great to provide a snippet of the information you want to share
Responses
  • Engage in 2-way communications – it’s about the messages IT wants to convey AND the messages you want them to convey to you. This helps to ensure that your messages aren’t just heard but are understood/resonate.
  • Let people know how they should communicate with IT – whether it’s engaging through Teams, via email to a particular address, or through in person sessions
Test & Learn
  • Be prepared to experiment with the content and mediums, and use analytics to assess the results. For example if videos are posted on a site like SharePoint that already has analytics functionality, you can capture the number of views to determine how much they are viewed
Multiple Mediums
  • Use a combination of one-on-one interviews/meetings and focus groups to obtain feedback. You may want to start with some of the respondents who provided comments on surveys/diagnostics

BRM Job Descriptions

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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.

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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.

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Get the help you need in this 5-phase advisory process. You'll receive 8 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

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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