In recent months, we conducted one on one interviews with several IT executives that have responsibility for the Business Relationship Management process and function. During these conversations, we explored their top concerns relating to this process and role. In this week’s blog, we examine two BRM challenges that are pervasive.
Challenge #1 - Maintaining a Strategic View
One of the most significant challenges noted by IT executives related to the Business Relationship Manager maintaining their strategic view. It is very common for the Business Relationship Manager (BRM) to become an escalation point for high priority incidents, challenges with projects, and other ongoing issues. While several IT executives agreed that their organizational challenges are sometimes the root cause of this issue, often it is easier for a BRM or their leadership to believe they are demonstrating value by handling operational issues. If a customer comes to them with an operational issue, they handle it rather than ensuring the operational lead is handling the issue and effectively communicating with the customer.
Many senior IT leaders agree that the BRM is providing value while assisting with an operational issue but there is also a sense that they are masking a broader issue that the organization needs to resolve. By facilitating a resolution to an operational issue, the urgency to find a long term fix is diminished and the BRM now has created a new norm in terms of their job expectations. The value of the role would be heightened if the Business Relationship Manager sought to resolve the root cause of why they need to become involved in operational issues. While investigating the root cause may not appear to fall into the BRM’s responsibilities, managing operational issues will not provide the long term value that was sought when the BRM role was created.
Challenge #2 - Understanding Business Needs
As noted above, Business Relationship Management requires a strategic focus. When working with the customer, the Business Relationship Manager (BRM) needs to understand the business process and outcome enough to effectively represent the viewpoint when working with the IT team. It can be difficult for the BRM to gather the right level of information from their business partners.
At this stage, IT does not need detailed requirements. They need a high level view with key areas of concern noted. Process outcomes, regulatory constraints, risk areas, and existing ongoing issues are all areas that should be explored along with the impact of the work on business related strategies, goals, and objectives.
Senior IT leaders want to vest the Business Relationship Manager within the IT organization and with the business yet they struggle to do so when additional IT resources are often needed to fully understand high level requirements. IT resource consumption rates have increased with the introduction of the Business Relationship Management process as the Business Relationship Manager is often facilitating additional conversations between technical resources and key business staff.
Most IT leaders agree that Business Relationship Management is adding value and customer satisfaction is increasing however; they would like the BRM role be more self-sufficient in their investigation and understanding of the business needs.
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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