Monthly Research
& Market Commentary

BRMs: Know Your Audience, Meet Them Where They Are and Go Succeed

Assets/Capabilities / 06 Apr 2016 / By Ibrahim Jackson

During my tenure as a Business Relationship Manager (BRM) and as an accredited trainer of business relationship management, I and those I’ve worked with, find it both important and very helpful to leverage Stakeholder Interest Matrices.  This simple taxonomy for navigating interactions with internal business partners and peers continues to be an effective communication method in understanding the “What’s in it for me?” perspective of a BRM’s business partner.  Using a Stakeholder Interest Matrix to communicate, identify value, understand accountability and decision rights, map capabilities, sustain change and forecast demand, has proven to help BRMs meet their executive stakeholders on common ground.  It also helps frame the narrative being shared with Technology Teams.

An effective exercise you and your BRM team should work through, would be to identify the top four interests of your business partners, by functional area, as it relates to technology.  Here’s an example of a fictitious manufacturing organization:

Stakeholder Interest Matrix

“The role of a BRM is largely about stakeholder management.  BRMs do not have position power to fall back on, so people have to want to do business with them.  The key is in the title B ‘Relationship’ M.  Relationships are the foundation to everything they do, they are the gateway to be heard and respected.  Not only do BRMs need both technical and business understanding they also need exceptional interpersonal skills and EQ (emotional intelligence).”Dr Robina Chatham

An understanding of these interest areas, coupled with a deep comprehension of the business environment, such as tailwinds (e.g. increased demand of cross category and bundled products, growing customer loyalty, propensity to adopt product variation, and so on) or headwinds (e.g. competition, regulation, cost pressures, and so on), allows for the BRM to contribute meaningful guidance and perspective on technology’s role in achieving immediate, short and long term goals.  In addition, this method allows a BRM to have a frictionless dialogue where technology jargon isn’t creating a noisy message and where social equity is enhanced by being knowledgeable and expressive in their stakeholder’s language.

Business environment factors below may be keeping your CEO and Business Executives up at night.

Business Environment?

“Today’s Digital BRM has a tremendous opportunity to help navigate this terrain and this requires a special type of person and skills – a Digital BRM who can both learn/educate, stimulate interest, achieve rapid results to build confidence, and do it in a way where everything fits together in the end.”Ed Novak

Five questions worth asking:

  • How well do you understand your business beyond IT?
  • How are your judgment calls made?
  • Are you confident and comfortable in politics and/or ambiguity?
  • Are you establishing trust and advocacy?
  • Are the lines blurred between your role in IT and role within your business partner’s leadership team?

Learn more about Leading Edge Forum’s customized Business Relationship Management workshops tailored for your industry and suited to your company’s uniqueness here.


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