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The role of Business
Relationship Management, or the Business Relationship Manager (BRM),
is an emerging role in Information Technology (IT) organizations. The
BRM is a liaison between IT and the business. The BRM has significant
knowledge in subject matters pertaining to both IT and the business.
The BRM is responsible to understand the business, assist in the
prioritization of projects, ensure that projects align with the
technology that best provides maximum return on investment, and
direct IT strategy in support of the overall business strategy.
Management differs from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in
that BRM is an advocate for the business within IT without the
external influences to sell product and keep a deal going. Also, the
BRM is an employee of the same company as the business and IT
organizations that are supported. The CRM is an employee of a third
party company with different motivations for a different bottom line.
Responsibilities Responsible (Fulfills the task independently)
Has relationship with
internal technology teams
Has relationship with
external technology vendors
opportunities for operational efficiency
Agreement (SLA) negotiations
delivery (project progress)
(Advises on the task)
technology aspects of business-sponsored RFx's
of business strategies
on competitor technology
Stays abreast of
industry trends in the business and technology
Has relationship with
Key Role Interactions 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.
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.
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.
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.
Professional Skills The BRM needs to have subject matter expertise in both the business and technology. As such, it is not possible for the BRM position to be an entry-level position. Rather, this position requires the ability to understand the business sufficiently to communicate the importance of projects to the technology teams, as well as to understand the technology sufficiently to communicate the complexity in simple terms for the business.
"Additionally, attention to detail and good analytic skills are important because there are always a lot of interdependencies, and even a simple change could affect other applications or parts of the infrastructure."
nterpersonal Skills The BRM "straddle IT and business with these key skills:
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