The Art of Business Relationship Management

When we discuss several of the various aspects of IT Service Management, and ITIL in particular, we tend to focus on relatively rigid, repeatable, and metric-driven processes.  These more rigidBRM processes, such as Incident, Problem, and Change, are viewed as more of a science, as they can be easily repeated and measured with precise analytics for success.  These core processes are indeed vital for success, and every IT organization should continue to strive to reach maximum performance levels in these areas.

Business Relationship Management (BRM) certainly has its fair share of measurements and repeatable processes, but we believe that a truly successful BRM process includes factors that cannot be easily measured.  The art of Business Relationship Management therefore includes some of the following key factors:

  • A successful BRM isn’t simply the middleman (or woman), going back and forth between the IT organization and key stakeholders within the Business.  The key role of the BRM includes fostering a positive relationship, built upon a high level of trust and respect from all sides of the organization.  This includes the art of listening, documenting, and taking action upon requests or concerns that stem from both IT and the Business.
  • BRM’s should make it a top priority to have a comprehensive understanding of the Service Portfolio, as this process is accountable for sharing what Services are, will, or have been provided to the Business from IT.  In our experience, the BRM has generally been put in a position to explain, in plain English, the various contents of the Portfolio, and help guide the Business towards Services that already exist, or veer them away from Services that may have been retired in the past.
  • Many IT organizations conduct routine surveys to gauge customer satisfaction.  Some surveys are sent out frequently (such as upon the closure of an incident), and some on an annual or semi-annual basis.  These surveys provide an essential tool for BRM’s to gauge how successful, or unsuccessful, Services provided by IT are delivered and consumed by the Business as a whole.  BRM’s should be granted full access to these surveys, and use them as a guide when interfacing with all aspects of the organization.
  • We can see that these factors for successful Business Relationship Management cannot be easily measured in a scientific manner.  The art of this process focuses on the human factors of building mutual trust, a strong comprehension of the Services offered (and not yet offered), and listening to the voice of the customer.
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