Defining Business Relationship Management

CIO’s at some of the top companies are recognizing the value implementing a Business Relationship Management framework can have on an IT organization.  After all, the concept was actually created by CIOs as the solution to a recently definable problem that the business side of things sees a barrier to the use of IT in companies mostly because they (the business, not IT) do not understand what can and cannot be done with IT.

It starts with a methodology shift to move the PMO out of the early stage of requirements gathering, and give someone from the IT group (the BRM) a seat at the business table to properly vet out needs as they arise, before they hit a PM’s desk.  In essence, the Business Relationship Manager acts as the liaison between the business and the IT department to facilitate and improve the effectiveness of communication. The result is a more effective PMO, better focused and targeted projects that truly leverage the assets of the organization, and potentially, millions of dollars saved by working more efficiently.

Below is a breakdown of the key interactions a Business Relationship Manager will have within your organization:

Business Partners

The BRM works with the business at several organizational levels. The BRM will work with business area teams to understand project requirements, shape the initial project request, and provide a high-level estimate of the project effort and costs used in cost-benefit analysis. The BRM will regularly report back to business managers on the status of projects.

Application Architects

Early in the process, the BRM works with the architects to discuss potential solutions that match the business strategy with the technology strategy. The architects will also provide consulting on additional costs due to additional equipment or increased capacity requirements.

Project Managers

Early in the process, the BRM works with the PM’s to discuss staffing needs, high-level timelines, and the associated cost. Throughout a project, the BRM will stay informed on the project status in order to provide business managers with regular status. Occasionally during the project, the BRM will be used in a facilitation role when an impasse between the technology team and the business team occurs.

Finance Managers

The BRM may also need to work and supply information through to either a dedicated IT Finance team or to Management Accountants within the Finance Function. This can cover involvement in the Organisation’s annual planning process (The Budget), updates to forecasts, down to providing updates from IT Department & Project managers in helping analysis of IT spend to date.

If you feel your business and technology teams are not as well aligned as they could be, a Business Relationship Management framework is an easy and effective means to better bridge the two groups.  Makena can work with you to implement a sound BRM strategy to leverage this progressive methodology in your IT department.

Some content in this post re-published from