Dec. 5, 2017 | InBrief

Business relationship management: BRM as a role

Business relationship management: BRM as a role

While each utility has different needs and means, building an analytics Center of Excellence (CoE) can start with a small team. This team can tackle the “what if”, “it would be nice if”, and “what we really need". This is the third and final piece of a three-part series explaining how the Business Relationship Management (BRM) framework provides value when executed as a full-time role. As highlighted in part two of this series, the BRM framework is a discipline that focuses on the development of value producing relationships between IT and the business units they serve. To ensure the BRM discipline is successfully incorporated into a Business culture, it must be continuously facilitated by a dedicated specialist known as the Business Relationship Manager. As a role, the Business Relationship Manager is a connector and translator between the IT organization and a Business Unit by connecting, orchestrating and navigating business demand.

  • As a “Connector”, the Business Relationship Manager facilitates productive connections and mobilizes projects and programs. The intended outcome enables the Business to effectively stimulate, shape demand while raising IT savvy; whereas, IT can secure the appropriate level supply to fulfill the demand.
  • As an “Orchestrator”, the Business Relationship Manager proactively coordinates the delivery of the intended capabilities for driving value from IT services. The intended outcome is to enable the Business to effectively coordinate and aggregate, IT demand; whereas, IT can affirm their position as a key provider to the Business. As a result, IT can reduce the risk of the Business seeking the assistance of third-party providers known as "Shadow IT".
  • As a “Navigator”, the Business Relationship Manager facilitates the realization of Business-IT convergence. As the owner of the enterprise strategy, the Business defines business strategy and road mapping; whereas, IT responds by guiding the architecture, service portfolio and PMO requirements to fulfill the strategic vision.

The Business Relationship Manager role can be architected to be facilitated via one of the following four perspectives:

  1. Business Process
  2. Enterprise
  3. Business Unit or Geographical Assignment
  4. Relationship Owners for External Parties

Of the above scenarios, facilitation via Business Unit approach is the most common.

Regardless of how the role is facilitated, the BRM primary objective is to serve as a strategic interface between the Business and IT. The BRM also ensures strategic alignment between Business strategy and IT capabilities by identifying the necessary skills and supporting technologies that would be required to realize the vision. The BRM would also partner with his or her peers to identify opportunities to leverage existing technology investments, which reduces the risk of duplication of effort across the enterprise.

When Business Relationship Management is facilitated as both a role and discipline, it produces a culture that is more apt to adopt an agile mindset. This is because BRM ensures the strategic vision of the Business will be translated into value-added outputs with IT product owners. The net result of this approach is the Business Relationship Manager can span multiple, product delivery teams to ensure the delivery of roadmaps is interpreted into value added outputs. BRM teams partnered with effective agile teams will produce the best results. Once these relationships are established, the BRM framework ensures that digital capabilities to processes and products are maintained, which is the heart of achieving digital transformation.

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