A BRM Digital Transformation Strategy that Delivers Results Through Business Partnering
Think about it: how many digital or digitization trends have you read about lately? At this point, it’s obvious that companies require a digital transformation to become successful in today’s connected “Internet of Things” (IoT) world.
By now, you’ve probably been heard about or been part of the many organizations that have rolled out various digital strategies, only to have them fail to deliver the promised benefits or cost significantly more than expected.
When building a digital strategy, these common pitfalls are easily overcome by realizing that digital leadership comes from many places inside your organization. In addition, it’s important to follow these two steps:
- Leverage your organizational Business Relationship Management (BRM) capability
- Create a cross-organizational Digital Council
The BRM capability
Business Relationship Management Institute (BRM Institute) defines a capability as everything it takes, both in front of and behind the scenes, that makes producing a good or providing a service possible. This includes:
- Having the people with the right competencies play the roles required by defined processes
- Arming these with useful techniques and tools, all backed by management systems that create incentives for performance and improvement
The role of business relationship management is an organizational capability. Business relationship management stimulates, surfaces, and shapes business demand for the supply organization’s assets, and ensures that the potential business value from those assets is captured, optimized, and recognized.
With a strong BRM capability converging business, IT, HR, finance, etc., organizations are able to eliminate the silos that have hampered business value realization in the past. Additionally, providers and business partners can work together to ensure that a holistic, innovative, and value-driven digital strategy is created.
A cross-organizational Digital Council
Business relationship management stimulates, surfaces, and shapes business demand for the supply organization’s assets, and ensures that the potential business value from those assets is captured, optimized, and recognized.
I know, I know…you’re reading this and saying, “Great, yet another council…a group of un-empowered individuals who blame each other for delivering nothing. The result? Hours and hours of meetings and nothing valuable delivered.”
This Digital Council is different. Take my word for it. The key difference? Not only does this council have a budget, it’s held accountable to actual delivered results across the organization.
The key is bringing the right people to the right meetings, which goes back to the chair and their responsibility to be educated in cross-organization collaboration techniques.
The first step is defining the chair of the Digital Council. This is usually a BRM or business leader who is savvy in both the business and technological details required to ensure that digital transformation is successful. Ideally, the chair is also someone who is well-educated in value lifecycle management, has strong facilitation skills, and is held accountable for true business value realization.
Once you have your chair, the next step is assigning a key representative from every area of the business that has a stake in digital (yes, almost all of areas of the business). In addition to the representative, you also assign the corresponding IT BRM.
While this seems like a ton of people, the key is bringing the right people to the right meetings, which goes back to the chair and their responsibility to be educated in cross-organization collaboration techniques.
Getting to a single digital strategy
The key here is to leverage the converged business and BRM teams.
- Perform all the steps defined in BRM Institute’s “Demand Shaping Discipline,” focusing on ideas and needs in the digital arena. This will define the estimated business value for each initiative.
- Bring all the identified initiatives back to the greater council for approval and prioritization, ultimately defining a three-to-five-year digital business strategy.
- Secure formal executive approval.
- Once the digital strategy is defined, the next step is for the IT architectural team to review solutions and design a corresponding digital systems roadmap. Priority depends on what can be delivered when.
- Gain financial and executive support for the strategy and projects.
- Get started!
Most of you likely know that the major key to success is communication. Above all, the Digital Council must produce company-wide communications on progress and roadmaps. As a team, the Digital Council, the business, and all involved BRMs should also perform board-level presentations to ensure that the company’s board directors are updated on the critical digital needs and plans for the organization.
Although the steps involved have been oversimplified for the sake of this article, you’re bound to experience much greater success with your digital initiatives when you follow the steps above and empower the Digital Council with converged business and BRM digital leaders.
Aaron Barnes is an expert BRM leader and practitioner with first-hand experience in successfully performing as a strategic business partner, BRM team leader, and instiller of leading BRM practices in organizations. Often referred to as the “spiritual godfather of BRM,” Aaron’s passion for business partnering comes from his years of consulting service in the U.S. and Europe, where he led converged business teams, designed strategy, and implemented business systems with a constant focus on delivering business value results. Aaron co-founded and is the CEO of Business Relationship Management Institute and has spent countless hours demonstrating the value of Business Relationship Management to practitioners and organizations to advance the BRM profession around the globe.
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