Lesson 00 - Course Overview

8.1 Business Relationship Management

Learning Unit 8 deals with business relationship management (BRM) and how this role contributes to SOA practices. It covers business relationship management policies, principles and concepts, along with the activities, methods and techniques in relationship to SOA practices. Efficient use of business relationship management metrics are reviewed in this unit, as well as their design and implementation.

8.2 Purpose of Business Relationship Management

The purpose of the business relationship management process is two-fold: To establish and maintain a business relationship between the service provider and the customer based on understanding the customer and their business needs. To identify customer needs and ensure that the service provider is able to meet these needs as business needs change over time and between circumstances. Business relationship management ensures that the service provider understands these changing needs. Business relationship management also assists the business in articulating the value of a service. Put another way, business relationship management ensures that customer expectations do not exceed what they are willing to pay for, and that the service provider is able to meet the customer’s expectations before agreeing to deliver the service. The next slide will explain the Objectives of Business Relationship Management.

8.3 Objectives of Business Relationship Management

The objectives of business relationship management include: Ensure that the service provider understands the customer’s perspective of service, and is therefore able to prioritize its services and service assets appropriately Ensure high levels of customer satisfaction, indicating that the service provider is meeting the customer’s requirements Establish and maintain a constructive relationship between the service provider and the customer based on understanding the customer and their business drivers Identify changes to the customer environment that could potentially impact the type, level or utilization of services provided Identify technology trends that could potentially impact the type, level or utilization of services provided Establish and articulate business requirements for new services or changes to existing services Ensure that the service provider is meeting the business needs of the customer Work with customers to ensure that services and service levels are able to deliver value Mediate in cases where there are conflicting requirements for services from different business units Establish formal complaints and escalation processes for the customer. Now, we will discuss the Scope of Business Relationship Management and the points which the process must focus on.

8.4 Scope of Business Relationship Management

For internal service providers business relationship management is typically executed between a senior representative from IT (larger organizations may have dedicated BRMs) and senior managers (customers) from the business units. Here, the emphasis is on aligning the objectives of the business with the activity of the service provider. In external service providers business relationship management is often executed by a separate and dedicated function of BRMs or account managers – each one dedicated to a customer, or group of smaller customers. The emphasis here is on maximizing contract value through customer satisfaction. Business relationship management focuses on understanding how services meet customer requirements. To achieve this, the process must focus on understanding and communicating: Business outcomes that the customer wants to achieve Services that are currently offered to the customer, and the way in which they are used by the customer The way in which services are currently offered including who is responsible for the services, what levels of service have been agreed, the quality of services delivered and any changes that are anticipated Technology trends that could impact current services and the customer, and the nature of the potential impact Levels of customer satisfaction, and what action plans have been put in place to deal with the causes of dissatisfaction How to optimize services for the future How the service provider is represented to the customer. This at times means raising concerns around commitments that the business made to IT but is not meeting.

8.5 Business Relationship Management Process activities with other SM processes

As discussed in the previous slide, it is clear that business relationship management depends on a number of other service management processes and functions. For example, the mapping of business outcomes and services is done in service portfolio management. Service level management provides information about the levels of services agreed and achieved. Configuration management provides a mapping of infrastructure, applications, services, service owners and customers. Capacity management provides information about utilization levels and the potential impacts of new technologies. Unless the relationships between business relationship management and other service management processes are clearly identified, there is potential for confusion about the boundaries between them. The main criterion for setting these boundaries is that business relationship management focuses on the actual relationship between the service provider and its customers and the levels of customer satisfaction, whereas the other processes focus on the services themselves, and the extent to which they meet the stated requirements. This does not mean that business relationship management is unconcerned with the services themselves, but that it focuses on the overall extent to which the service provider is meeting the customer’s needs. It also does not mean that other processes are not concerned with customer satisfaction, but that they focus on the quality of services and on specific actions they can take to meet customer expectations for those services. While most other service management processes focus on making sure the service provider can execute, the business relationship management process focuses on making sure the customer gets what they need. The business relationship management process is acting as a check and balance. This ensures that the customer is properly represented within the service provider, and that the service provider does not lose focus on the customer requirements while striving for efficiency and ease of management. Some organizations assume that if all processes are working then business relationship management will automatically be performed. That assumption, however, will result in individual activities being performed in an isolated manner, some getting neglected because of other priorities and ultimately many of the activities of business relationship management never actually being performed – even if there is a person playing the role of BRM. However, it is important to understand that in a single situation the same team may be executing activities for the business relationship management process and other processes. Table mentioned in the slide provides some examples. In the next slide, we will understand the value of business relationship management.

8.6 Value to the Business

The value of business relationship management is in the ability of the service provider to articulate and meet the business needs of its customers. Business relationship management creates a forum for on-going, structured communication with its customers. This enables business relationship management to achieve better alignment and integration of services in the future, as well as to achieve the current business outcomes. With that communication comes a greater understanding by the service provider of their customer’s business, and greater understanding by the customer of the service provider’s capabilities and services. It helps to set realistic customer expectations, and puts a human face on the service provider. When there are disagreements about what should be delivered, business relationship management enables both groups to reach agreement quickly and without speculation about motives that often occurs when two parties do not know each other. The end result is higher levels of trust that the service provider is going to deliver value in future, and a greater willingness to work together as strategic partners. The focus on customer satisfaction enables the service provider and customer alike to gauge how effectively the business objectives are being met. Let us learn the concepts of Business Relationship Management. This slide will explain the concept of customer portfolio, the customer agreement portfolio, Customer satisfaction, Customer requirements, and BRM as facilitator of strategic partnership.

8.7 Business Relationship Management - concepts

Customer portfolio The customer portfolio is a database or structured document used to record all customers of the IT service provider. The customer portfolio is business relationship management’s view of the customers who receive services from the IT service provider. The customer portfolio is used in several processes, especially service portfolio management, but it is defined and maintained in the business relationship management process. Customer agreement portfolio The customer agreement portfolio is a database or structured document used to manage service contracts or agreements between an IT service provider and its customers. Each IT service delivered to a customer should have a contract or other agreement that is listed in the customer agreement portfolio. The customer agreement portfolio is an important tool for business relationship management, but it is usually defined and maintained as part of service level management. This is to ensure alignment of services to the agreements at the most fundamental levels of service. It is very difficult to achieve economies of scale, and to deliver shared services, if each contract is managed from a different baseline. It is therefore very important to coordinate all commitments across all agreements from a central point. Business relationship management as facilitator of strategic partnerships Some service providers are so important to their customer that they are included in strategic discussions about the customer’s business, even forming part of the CEO or CIO steering group. Business relationship management is the process that facilitates this, and ensures that the right person is included in these meetings. Business relationship management will also ensure that relevant information about the strategic direction of the customer is communicated back into the appropriate processes and people within the service provider organization. This will enable them to re-assess their own strategy, market spaces, future opportunities and service portfolio. This facilitation is valid for internal and external service providers, although the legal and confidentiality issues for external service providers are significantly more complex due to potential conflicts of interest. It is up to the executives of the customer, and good standards of business conduct of the service provider, to ensure that conflicts of interest are avoided. The service provider should not be present in discussions that could place them in a compromising position, and should not communicate compromising information back into their organization if they happen to obtain it while performing this role. In the next slide, we will discuss the customer portfolio in details.

8.8 Customer Portfolio

The Customer Portfolio: The customer portfolio allows the service provider to quantify their commitments, investments and risks relative to each customer. For example: The customer portfolio makes it possible to understand who the customers of a service are. This might sound obvious, but many organizations find it difficult to know who the real customer is, especially when services are used by multiple business units or customers. For example, one organization did not know that a certain business unit was using an application until it failed and caused a major impact to the business. This was because access and usage was controlled by the application development team directly. Without a customer portfolio, it is easy for anybody in a business unit to place demands on the service provider. Defining who the customer is, and who in the customer’s organization has the authority to make decisions about what services are required, is an important step in making sure that the service provider does not over-commit. A customer portfolio makes it easier to quantify the use and value of each service. Without a customer portfolio service delivery is often reduced to an unquestioning production of outputs. This means that staff in the service provider will simply deliver what they have been told to deliver, regardless of whom the customer is and what they use the service for. This approach might be acceptable with highly commoditized services that never change, but it can be very damaging when the service is dependent on customer-specific situations that require different levels of service or priorities at different times. Without a customer portfolio it is possible to understand the investment in a service, but not how that investment relates to each customer. A customer portfolio will also enable the service provider to document customer leads (especially relevant for external service providers) and follow up on these opportunities. The next slide will explains the concept of customer satisfaction in details.

8.9 Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction This is central to effective business relationship management, since business relationship management is primarily responsible for ensuring that customers are satisfied with the service they receive. Business relationship management measures customer satisfaction and compares service provider performance with customer satisfaction targets and previous scores. The most common form of measuring customer satisfaction is a regular survey, which should be designed to be easy to complete in a short time. This is different from the customer satisfaction survey performed by many service desks to ensure that incidents were closed and that the service desk analysts were professional in their approach. Business relationship management surveys have to do with whether the service achieves its objectives at every level. It may reference the service desk surveys, but only as a subset of the overall measurement of customer satisfaction. Business relationship management should launch an investigation into any significant variations in satisfaction levels so that the reasons are understood. Business relationship management should also trend customer satisfaction metrics, taking care to ensure that similar measurement instruments were used, to ensure consistent metrics. Any issues with customer satisfaction should be investigated and discussed with the customer. Where appropriate, opportunities for improvement should be logged in the CSI register in conjunction with service level management, for later review and prioritization. Care should be taken to validate the customer satisfaction scores, as a worse-than-normal score may not be the result of poor service by the service provider. For example, one organization found that poor performance in the customer organization had resulted in poor bonuses being paid out, reducing the overall level of satisfaction of employees. This was reflected in poor scores for the service provider, which had met its service targets! Even where the service provider is not to blame, however, a poor customer satisfaction score reflects a negative perception of the service, and business relationship management should still discuss this with the customer. Let us learn about the service objectives or requirements.

8.10 Customer Requirements

Customer requirements Throughout the service lifecycle business relationship management is involved in defining and clarifying requirements for service. This involves investigating the business need or opportunity, validating it, defining a business case and evaluating both the warranty and utility needed. The main processes involved here are service portfolio management in service strategy and design coordination and service level management in service design. This type of activity is specialized and will require expertise in business analysis. Customers do not always know how to articulate requirements, especially when they have to be translated into the language and format that the service provider can understand and use to design and build the service, and to define metrics to determine success. In some cases, customers attempt to define requirements that they think will make sense to the service provider. In other cases customers may distrust the service provider, and attempt to dictate a solution rather than requirements – making it difficult for the service provider to understand and deliver the real value. There are four common categories of information that are gathered and presented as objectives or requirements: Solutions Customers present their requirements in the form of a solution to a problem. Customers may lack the technical expertise to be able to arrive at the best possible solution. Customers may ultimately be disappointed by the very solution they present. To mitigate this risk, rather than looking to customer ideas about the service itself, look for the criteria they use to measure the value of a service. Specifications Customers present their requirements in the form of specifications – vendor, product, architectural style, computing platform etc. By accepting specifications, a provider needlessly prevents its own organization from devising optimal services. needs Customers present their requirements as high-level descriptions of the overall quality of the service. By their nature, high-level descriptions do not include a specific benefit to the customer. For example, ‘… service will be available 99.9% of the time’. These inputs are frequently ambiguous and imprecise. They leave the provider wondering what customers really mean: ‘99.9% of business hours? 99.9% of a calendar year? Does this include maintenance windows? Can the 0.1% be used all at once?’ By leaving room for interpretation, the provider leaves too much to chance. Business relationship management should ensure all input is measurable and actionable. Benefits Customers present their requirements in the form of benefit statements. Again, the risk is in the ambiguity or imprecision of the statements. ‘Highly reliable’, ‘faster response’ and ‘better security’ take on many meanings and present different implications for the organization. Now, we will look into a figure describes the Business Relationship Management activities.

8.11 Business Relationship Management activities

The context and activities of business relationship management are illustrated in the figure. This diagram shows the position of the business relationship management process as providing a bridge between the world of the customer and the world of the service provider. Figure shows the world of the service provider on the left, the world of the customer on the right and the business relationship management process bridging the two. The two overarching activities of the business relationship management process are: To represent the service provider to its customers through coordinated marketing, selling and delivery activities. To work with service portfolio management and design coordination to ensure that the service provider’s response to customers’ requirements is appropriate. Thus the process facilitates customer advocacy throughout the service lifecycle.

8.12 BRM Activities

The two major activities of the BRM process are: To represent the service provider to its customers through coordinated marketing, selling and delivery activities. To work with service portfolio management and design coordination and to ensure that the service provider’s response to customer’s requirements is appropriate. Thus the process facilitates customer advocacy throughout the service lifecycle. In addition to the above: • BRM has activities in every stage of service lifecycle • BRM is rarely executed as an end to end process • The process is initiated either by customer or service provider • Initiation by customer results in • BRM ensuring single point of contact for customer requirements • BRM ensuring that the requirements are documented in the right format • Opportunities are identified by customers and documented and carried forward by BRM • BRM assists customer with change request and monitoring Next, let us understand BRM activities at the different stages of lifecycle.

8.13 BRM Activities through the lifecycle

In this slide talks about the activities BRM would be engaged in all the service lifecycle stages. Service strategy In service strategy business relationship management will primarily work to apply strategies, policies and plans to coordinate the service provider’s processes with customer requirements and opportunities. Strategy management for IT services will have identified the key market spaces and business opportunities. The BRM will ensure that these are appropriately defined and executed from a customer perspective. The main areas business relationship management will work with in this stage are: It strategy, policies and plans These identify strategic opportunities, outcomes, priorities and any action plans that have already been agreed and approved. In addition, the policies will define some of the parameters within which business relationship management should work for approved and new opportunities (for example, which opportunities would be viewed as moving the organization away from its strategy, and with which standards the organization needs to comply). Service portfolio management Wherever feasible, existing services should be leveraged to meet new market spaces, customers or customer requirements. These often exist in the form of existing lines of service or service packages. Business relationship management will identify the most suitable combination of lines of service and service packages to meet each business outcome. If these do not exist, a new service may need to be defined. The main business relationship management activities executed to achieve this include: ? Work with service portfolio management to identify all the stakeholders for the project ? Define the outcomes that need to be met. Although these may have been stated in the strategy, they may need to be defined in more detail ? In the case of a new opportunity identified by the customer, the BRM will need to define the strategic requirements (these should already exist in services that have been identified in the service strategy. If not the BRM will work with the customer to identify them) ? Ensure that funding is available for the new service, or any changes to the existing service. If funding is not available, either the service will not be provided (and the BRM will need to inform the customer), or the situation will need to be escalated to the organization’s executives, since the agreed strategy is at risk ? Define the business case for the new or changed service. The BRM will need to work with the customer to understand the business outcomes and anticipated returns for the service. Demand management The BRM will identify patterns of business activity that are anticipated for each opportunity, and also the factors that influence these patterns. financial management for It services The BRM will help to validate the cost models to be used for each opportunity (for external service providers, this will relate to pricing models rather than cost models) and provide information to be used in financial forecasting. Financial management for IT services will assist in identifying and evaluating investments for the opportunity. Service design In service design business relationship management will work to ensure that the detailed design and development of services continue to meet the requirements of the customer, and that they are valid for the business outcomes that have been identified. Although business relationship management focuses primarily on the functionality (utility) requirements of the services, it will need to be able to assure customers of the warranty of the services as well. The main processes they will work with include: Project management: Every project will need to interface with business relationship management. The BRM will work to confirm or clarify customer requirements and obtain more detailed requirements where necessary. The BRM will also assist in on-going communication planning and liaison with the customer. Whenever resources are required from the customer, the BRM will ascertain who the appropriate resources are, get agreement from the customer and coordinate the resource scheduling. Financial management: For It services, Business relationship management will need to ensure that the costs identified in the design are in line with the investment anticipated in the strategy. Financial management for IT services will notify them of any deviations and the BRM will work with the customer to gain acceptance of these, or to modify the design requirements. Service level management: For existing services business relationship management will work with service level management to determine the current levels of service for existing services and how these are likely to change. Business relationship management will ensure that the customer is aware of these and that they are acceptable. For new services, the BRM will ensure that all service level requirements are communicated to service level management. The BRM will also facilitate the negotiation of the service level agreements for the new or changed services, and initiate action to resolve any differences between the service provider and customer. Demand management: If not already defined, the BRM will work with the customers to define the patterns of business activity for the service. If these have already been defined in service strategy, the BRM will confirm or refine them. Additional information or clarification may become available during the project, and may become lost or ignored by project teams focused on producing their deliverables. Business relationship management will ensure that any changes are properly dealt with and either specifically accepted into the scope of work, or else formally rejected and the customers notified. Service catalogue management: The BRM will work with the customers to define the description of the service in the service catalogue and service request catalogue. Availability management: Approaches that design availability purely on the basis of device or system availability often fail to meet the customer requirements. The BRM plays an important role in defining exactly when the service needs to be available, and how this will be measured by the users. Capacity management: Some of the work with capacity management will be done through demand management and service level management, and in some cases there will be no need for business relationship management to interface directly with capacity management. However, it is important for capacity management to ensure that they understand the type of transactions being performed by the customer, and how important system and device performance is for those transactions. Business relationship management will be able to ascertain this information and ensure that it is built into the service requirements and testing plans. It service continuity management Identifying business impacts and recovery objectives cannot be done without involvement from the customer. The BRM will facilitate this and ensure that IT service continuity management retains a focus on service continuity as a whole, and not just IT recovery. Continual service improvement Business relationship management facilitates continual service improvement by helping to identify improvement opportunities and then coordinating both service provider and customer activities to achieve this improvement. Once opportunities have been identified, the process begins again in service strategy. One of the fundamental business relationship management activities in this stage is conducting customer satisfaction surveys, which are instrumental in identifying areas for improvement and new opportunities. Processes and activities that business relationship management interfaces with in this stage of the service lifecycle include: Service reporting Business relationship management is key to identifying what will be reported to the customer, and what the customer will be expected to do with the reports they receive. Business relationship management will also use the reports to influence customer perception of the service provider and the quality of services. Service reporting also identifies what items need to be monitored, and can also be used to define how event management needs to be configured. Information from service reporting is a central component of regular business relationship management reviews with the business. Service level management Business relationship management works with service level management to schedule and conduct service reviews with the customers and users. Any actions agreed in those meetings will be coordinated and monitored by the BRM, whether the actions apply to customers or the service provider. Seven-step improvement process Business relationship management helps to identify and communicate proposed improvement to services, or to the service strategy, design, transition and operation processes of the supplier. Business relationship management will also facilitate the involvement of the customer in defining requirements and business cases for improvements. Let us continue the activities of Business relationship management.

8.14 BRM Activities through the lifecycle

Service transition The BRM will coordinate customer involvement in the processes active during service transition. They will also ensure that all changes and releases meet the requirements set by the customer. change management Many opportunities that depend on existing services and technology will be initiated through change management. The BRM will raise the request for change and ensure that the customer is appropriately represented throughout the change management process. The BRM will also signoff on successful implementation of the change. The BRM ensures that the customer is represented in assessing the impact and scheduling of changes, as well as involving the customer in any appropriate change management activity, such as assessing the impact of changes. Knowledge management The BRM makes sure that customer needs for knowledge and information are included in knowledge management plans, and that knowledge and information about the customer and their business processes are available in the SKMS as required. Service testing and validation The final authority on whether the service does what it was required to do is the customer. The BRM ensures that the testing plans have been properly designed to test the customer requirements, and then coordinates the customer involvement in the plans. The BRM coordinates customer activity during testing, including allocation of users for UAT and negotiating for use of test data. Release and deployment management The BRM coordinates the schedule of releases with other business priorities, and ensures that all customers and users have received adequate training for the new or changed service. Any concerns or questions raised by the customers and users will be communicated back to the release team to ensure that they can be addressed in the release documentation. The BRM will also receive information about known errors in the service, and will ensure that the customer knows about them and can work with those errors. They will also communicate any plans, costs (if appropriate) and schedules for resolving those known errors. The BRM also works with the customer to ensure appropriate participation and coverage of pilots. Change evaluation The BRM is able to assist in coordinating change evaluation activities, and will also coordinate logging and coordinating any action arising from the evaluation. Service operation Many organizations feel that once a service has been deployed (i.e. a solution sold to the customer), the business relationship management process is no longer required for that service – until a new requirement is raised. This is not true for two reasons. Firstly, the way in which customers use services changes over time, and the BRM needs to be able to detect that and feed it back to the service provider, so that they can continue to be relevant. Secondly, no service is perfect and although the service desk is able to deal with most incidents and requests, some require a higher level of involvement and communication than others. request fulfilment In some cases the BRM will need to work with customers to educate them on how to request standard services from the service request catalogue. In other cases, the BRM is actually the point of contact for requesting these services. This is usually done for certain key people in the customer environment and is used as a way of enhancing the customer relationship. Incident management Business relationship management is usually involved during major incidents to provide focused communication to the customer about the status of the incident, and to keep incident management up to date with customer impacts. In extreme cases, the BRM will be involved in the decision to invoke disaster recovery plans. Business relationship management is also used by customers to escalate incidents that they feel are not being treated with the appropriate level of urgency by the service desk or technical teams. The BRM’s role in these cases is to support both the customer and incident management by providing incident management with business information that will help in evaluating the relative priority of incidents, and reaching agreement on which will be dealt with first. In the next slide we will discuss the Triggers, Inputs and Outputs of business relationship management.

8.15 Triggers, Inputs and Outputs

Triggers Triggers of business relationship management include: A new strategic initiative A new service, or a change to an existing service, has been initiated A new opportunity has been identified A service has been chartered by service portfolio management Customer requests or suggestions Customer complaints A customer meeting has been scheduled A customer satisfaction survey has been scheduled. Inputs Inputs to business relationship management include: Customer requirements Customer requests, complaints, escalations or compliments The service strategy Where possible, the customer’s strategy The service portfolio The project portfolio to ensure that requirements are gathered in a timely fashion, and that all projects include business relationship management activity where appropriate Service level agreements Requests for change Patterns of business activity and user profiles defined by demand management, and which need to be validated through business relationship management. Outputs Outputs of business relationship management include: Stakeholder definitions Defined business outcomes Agreement to fund (internal) or pay for (external) services The customer portfolio Service requirements for strategy, design and transition Customer satisfaction surveys and the published results of these surveys Schedules of customer activity in various service management process activities Schedule of training and awareness events Reports on the customer perception of service performance. Let us take an overview of the main sources of the documentation and information required for effective business relationship management.

8.16 Interfaces

The Interfaces with Business relationship management include: • Strategy management of IT services – to identify market spaces • Service portfolio management – to identify more detailed requirements and customer environment • Financial management for IT services – for financial objectives of customer • Assists demand management to identify and validate patterns of business activity • SLM uses the information gathered by BRM to understand customer priorities • Service catalogue management provides basis for discussions/reviews initiated through BRM • Capacity and availability management need the outcomes and service requirements gathered through SRM • BRM provides valuable information on business priorities and outcomes to service continuity management • BRM ensures appropriate level of customer involvement in change, release and deployment management and service validation and testing • Service improvements and seven step improvement process are an important part of BRM. In the next slide we will understand the role of Information management in BRM.

8.17 Information Management

Information management The documentation and information required for effective business relationship management have been described throughout the earlier sections, but an overview of the main sources is as follows: ¦ The service portfolio, project portfolio and application portfolio are all important references to enable business relationship management to communicate between the customer and the service provider regarding the services that are being provided currently and what will be provided in future. ¦ The customer portfolio and customer agreement portfolio are updated and validated as part of business relationship management. ¦ Customer satisfaction surveys need to be properly defined, tested and administered. The results will also need to be stored so that they are available to provide benchmarks, trending and improvement metrics. ¦ The service catalogue is an important reference in communicating consistently with customers about the quality and performance of services, as well as requirements for changes to existing services. We will learn about the Critical Success Factors and the Key Performance Indicators of business relationship management process in the next two slides. Now, we will discuss the Critical Success Factors followed by the Key Performance Indicators.

8.18 Critical Success Factors

This section provides examples of critical success factors (CSFs). These are the conditions that need to be in place, or things that need to happen, if the business relationship management process is to be considered successful. Each CSF will include examples of key performance indicators (KPIs). These are metrics that are used to evaluate factors that are crucial to the success of the process. KPIs, as differentiated from general metrics, should be related to CSFs. The following list includes some sample CSFs for business relationship management. Each organization should identify appropriate CSFs based on its objectives for the process. Each sample CSF is followed by a small number of typical KPIs that support the CSF. These KPIs should not be adopted without careful consideration. Each organization should develop KPIs that are appropriate for its level of maturity, its CSFs and its particular circumstances. Achievement against KPIs should be monitored and used to identify opportunities for improvement, which should be logged in the CSI register for evaluation and possible implementation. CSF The ability to document and understand customer requirements of services, and the business outcomes they wish to achieve.

8.19 Key Performance Indicators

KPI Business outcomes and customer requirements are documented and signed off by the customer as input into service portfolio management and service design processes. CSF The ability to measure customer satisfaction levels, and to know what action to take with the results KPI Customer satisfaction levels are consistently high and are used as feedback into service portfolio management and strategy management for IT services. Any score lower than a defined level result in an investigation into the cause and corrective action – involving service level management, problem management, capacity management etc. CSF The ability to identify changes to the customer environment that could potentially impact the type, level or utilization of services provided KPI Customer satisfaction and customer retention rates are consistently high. KPI Business relationship management provides input about changes to the customer environment that result in changes to services and strategy, resulting in improved customer satisfaction scores (and for external service providers, increased revenue). Let us now discuss the main Challenges and the risks associated with the business relationship management.

8.20 Challenges and Risks

Challenges for business relationship management include: If business relationship management is attempted simply as a means of working on levels of customer satisfaction, it will probably fail. Business relationship management needs to be involved in defining services, and tracking that they are delivered according to the agreed levels of service. They are more than just ‘window dressing’ to make the IT organization look customer-friendly. A history of poor service may make it difficult for business relationship management to function effectively – as it will have to deal with the lack of credibility, which sometimes results in customers not being willing to share requirements, feedback and opportunities. Confusion between the role of business relationship manager (BRM) and the process of business relationship management. BRMs are often required to execute activities from other processes simply because of their customer facing position. This does not make those activities part of the business relationship management process. Business relationship management risks include: Because business relationship management is closely related to a number of other processes, confusion about the boundaries between these processes will mean that there is potential for duplication of activity, interference or for activities to be neglected. For example, it is counter-productive for multiple processes to try to escalate the same issue (for example, an incident) in the same way. As an example, the incident manager will find themselves inundated with calls from business relationship management, service level management etc. which will actually prevent them from being able to deal with the incident. It is important that these boundaries are clearly defined. If there is a disconnect between the customer facing processes, such as business relationship management, and those focusing more on technology, such as capacity management, it is likely that the service provider will become ineffectual. Both are critical for success, and they need to be properly integrated. Next is the Quiz section!

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  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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