Blog Series: Business Relationship Management – Part 2

Blog Series: Business Relationship Management – Part 2

BRM as a Discipline 

This is the second of a three-part blog series explaining how Business Relationship Management (BRM) framework provides value as a discipline. As a discipline, the BRM framework embodies a set of competencies (i.e. knowledge, skills, behaviors) to foster productive, value producing relationships between an IT organization and the Business units they serve.

The ITIL framework was developed to contain five unique life-cycles, which consist of 26 unique processes effectively working with one another. However, most IT cultures practice no more than four (i.e. incident, problem, request and change management) out of the 26 processes of which many belong to the Service Operations life cycle — the fourth component of the ITIL framework. A possible explanation for this could be attributed to the overall poor relationship IT has had with members of the Business. In retrospect, if an IT culture has a poor relationship with the Business, it is understandable how ITIL processes can be architected incorrectly.

Ironically, the Service Strategy life-cycle was developed to mitigate this reality; however, due to its heavy Business acumen, IT often avoided this foundational step of process design. The Service Strategy life-cycle consists of the following four processes:

  • Demand Management
  • Financial Management
  • Service Portfolio Management
  • Business Relationship Management

Business Relationship Management in this context is a process explaining the value of supporting the strategic requirements of the Business; however, it does not provide the instructions on how to achieve this objective. As referenced in part one of this blog series, the BRM framework addresses the critical missing link of providing the “how”. Like ITIL, the BRM framework is also executed as a never-ending life-cycle; however, this process framework is executed as a discipline that occurs via the following four stages:

  • Demand Shaping
  • Exploring
  • Servicing
  • Value Harvesting

Demand shaping is the process by which possibilities for using IT services within the business are surfaced and capitalized upon. The goal of the process is to identify the set of possibilities that will create the most value for the organization. Even though the Business is the accountable party for identifying the possibilities, IT must be at the table to have the discussion on how they can best enable those possibilities.

Exploring is the process that identifies and rationalizes the requirements by Demand Shaping. The goal of the process is to sense business and technology trends to facilitate discovery and demand identification. It is an ongoing process aligning analysis of new business, industry and technology insights to produce new, value-added outputs.

Servicing is the process that coordinates resources, manages Business Partner expectations, and integrates activities in accordance with the business partner-provider partnership. Its goal is to ensure that Business Partner and IT engagement translates demand into effective supply requirements.

Value Harvesting is the process that ensures the success of business change initiatives. Its goal is to track and review service performance, identify ways to increase the business value from Business and IT initiatives and services, and initiates feedback to trigger continuous improvement cycles.

To ensure the successful adoption of BRM framework, IT must evolve by acknowledging the need to create a new, full-time role that supports the strategic needs of the Business. As a role, the Business Relationship Manager, ensures the BRM framework operates as a continuous way of delivering value. In part three of this series, we will take a deeper look at BRM as a role and how it supports the process framework as a discipline.

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