A business relationship manager (BRM) is the primary IT point of contact for the business unit for strategy, planning, and service discussions. They function as a consultant by providing expertise and guidance on potential technology solutions. They are a navigator often helping the business navigate complex technology challenges. At times, they are a negotiator helping the business to understand current challenges and negotiating an agreement that works for everyone. Sometimes, they are a hero helping to solve issues which prevent the business from working effectively and sometimes they are a mediator helping to resolve unexpected issues between IT and the business.
To be effective, this role should be reporting to the CIO or the office of the CIO. Positioning them further down in the hierarchy presents challenges as this role requires the authority to negotiate on behalf of the IT Service Provider.
The business relationship manager wears so many hats that it can be difficult when hiring to determine the skills and abilities required. While every organization is unique, the common critical skills and abilities are noted below.
Top 5 Required Skills and Abilities for Business Relationship Managers
(The skills and abilities noted are not in priority order)
· Ability to explain complex technical concepts in business language. The BRM needs to understand technology and translate technical discussions into a language understood by their customer.
· A strong business acumen to allow a focus on optimizing investments. The BRM will recommend and justify technology and business investments based on competitive advantage, positioning, time to market, cost justification, etc.
· Strong analytical skills to understand business drivers and objectives, processes, and needs in order to help design effective solutions.
· Ability to establish and maintain strong relationships by developing trust, integrity, and credibility with both IT and the business.
· An operational understanding of best practice methodologies for process improvement. The BRM should be adept at identifying opportunities and strategies to use information technology to simplify, integrate, and otherwise improve the organization’s business and workflow processes.
Finding someone with a diverse skill set and the right temperament for the organization can be a challenge but given the importance and visibility of this role, the IT Service Provider should consider the effort an investment. This is a pivotal role and employing an individual with the appropriate skills, abilities, and personality allows the IT Service Provider to build a strong relationship with the business and further strengthen the value of the IT services by aligning IT investments with crucial business strategies and objectives.
Attend the Building Your Business Relationship Management Capabilities Workshop to grow in your role and strengthen your relationship with your business customers!
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