Join Mark Thomas for an in-depth discussion in this video Business relationship management, part of Cert Prep: ITIL Foundations.
- Okay, in service strategy we say we're covering three primary processes. We've talked about the portfolio, we've talked about IT financial management, the third one we want to hit is what's called business relationship management. This is really designed to be a strategic level communication between the service provider and our customers, and I think about one of the challenges that I had within a data center, we were a managed service provider, and it was kind of funny because we used what we called the service desk as this communication link between us and our customers, but we were missing something.
We were missing the strategic level communication. What we found out was, well I had a discussion with one of our customers, it technically was BRM process taking place, and the customer said, look, when you guys are trying to sell these services to us we have these sales folks, and these sales folks were involved, you know, and we could discuss strategic level matters with them, so they were kind of an account manager kind of role, and as soon as the deal was done and the customer signed off on these deals, these sales guys were off on their next deal, and so there was this gap we were missing.
We were basically now, from an operational standpoint, we were supporting these customers, but we didn't have this communication link designed or established to talk about the strategic things that we'd like to discuss with partners, or with the business. Things like strategic projects, or programs, or assistance, what the value is of some of the services we're providing, and this is where we really figured out very quickly that we were missing this thing called business relationship management. Now this is a customer facing process. It links us, the service provider, to our customer.
So it ensures that the service provider, that was me, woops, understands the business requirements, and I'm able to deliver. So it's again, kind of a strategic level contact we have there. So, create and maintain a business relationship between us, identify the business needs and make sure the business can meet them, what those things the business actually needs to accomplish for that. Now one of the things that was really confusing us a little bit was we had other processes that we had. We had service level management.
Isn't that like business relationship management? There's a distinct difference between the two, and I want to make sure you understand this. So service level management is what we have identified here as SLM. Service level management's much more operationally oriented. It's towards getting to that level of service that we document in that service level agreement that we have. So it's very operationally focused. BRM, very strategic in nature. So strategic, remember we talked about utility and warranty, utility fit for purpose, warranty is fit for use.
That's the value piece of this. Those are the discussions were taking place here. Looking at overall customer satisfaction with the portfolio of services that we were providing to them. So that's what we're talking about here, provides that channel or that link where we can provide those things. So we established a relationship, and it worked. However, BRM works with other processes. Think about it. Worked with portfolio. Why? Well, we're talking about the full value proposition, or the portfolio services. It's a great process to help us communicate with that process.
It worked with service level management, the operationally focused service levels and the agreements we had that we had negotiated, signed, agreed, and that we monitored and reported on. We also worked with other folks like service, asset, and configuration management, or SACUM with the strategic level configuration items that we had to look at there. Capacity management, we worked a lot with capacity and even demand management. Demand for services, and make sure we had the right amount of capacity to support the performance of those services.
So you can kind of picture this. A lot of folks say, wow, do you have to have, you know, like people assigned to this process? Well, yeah, there should be somebody who actually owns it. Business relationship management really needs ownership and it needs accountability on that communication and ensuring that we are communicating, and we're doing those things with the customer that really drives that value for us. So some key objectives that I want to share with you on business relationship management. Ensure understanding of the customer perspective.
Got it. So we want to make sure again, this is a relationship based process. Ensure high level of customer satisfaction. Got it. Create and maintain a constructive relationship. Identify changes in customer environment that could impact type, level, and/or utilization of services. So we're starting to see maybe a little bit on the demand side on that to help us look at that. Identify technology trends. Communicate business requirements for new or changed services. Ensure service provider meets the business needs.
Work with customers. Mediate conflicts. Create a formal complaints or an escalation process for the customer. Again, don't confuse BRM with say, service level management. BRM, very strategically focused. Service level management, very operationally focused. Very important for you, because if you've got processes and services and you don't have a strategic level link or communication mechanism with your customer, you have done all that work for naught.
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