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Driving Innovation Through Business Relationship Management


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Business relationship management organizations take the IT-business partnership to the next level, enabling technology innovation to grow and transform business capabilities.

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Driving Innovation Through Business Relationship Management

  1. 1. • Cognizant 20-20 InsightsDriving Innovation ThroughBusiness Relationship ManagementBRM organizations take the IT-business partnership to the nextlevel, enabling technology to transform business capabilities. Executive Summary • Conducting biannual/annual satisfaction sur- veys to assess what is working and what needs Most companies have by now developed a strong to be improved in order to better partner with partnership with IT for achieving business goals the business. and objectives. But as new technologies emerge and newer business models are enabled, the This white paper discusses where BRM organi- partnership needs to evolve and focus more on zations fit in today’s enterprises; how the orga- innovation. CIOs, therefore, are establishing a nization interacts with other business functions; dedicated “business relationship management concrete ways you can use BRM to instill a culture organization“ (BRM) to improve business-IT of innovation; and how to measure BRM success. alignment and drive technology innovation to Lastly, we describe how a large U.S. insurer grow and transform business capabilities. engaged our business consulting team to set up a BRM organization and is now benefiting from A dedicated BRM organization is the ”face of IT” increased client satisfaction, a fourfold increase for business. Similar to relationship managers in the number of new ideas and a 30% reduction in banks who advise customers on investments, in average cycle time for developing technology a BRM organization is a trusted advisor to the initiative proposals. business. The key responsibilities of a BRM orga- nization include: Fitting BRM into the Enterprise Typically, the BRM organization is either integrated • Facilitating idea-generation through a into the IT planning and strategy organization, well-defined innovation process. or it reports directly to the CIO, ensuring high • Engaging with the business in developing visibility and access to all functions in IT. The orga- proposals for strategic initiatives or innovative nization engages with business stakeholders and technology solutions. also interacts with other IT functions, such as: • Performing periodic reviews (monthly or • Enterprise architecture, to provide the quarterly) with business partners to discuss business with a greater understanding of the overall business-IT engagement status. cognizant 20-20 insights | june 2012
  2. 2. technology solutions or develop a strategy to area — sales, marketing, actuarial, products and advance the overall technology roadmap for services (see Figure 1). In addition, some managers various lines of business. may be dedicated to specific initiatives requiring focused business interaction and communication.• Portfolio management, to estimate and prioritize various initiatives or projects on An IT organization of 500 or so employees which the business would want IT to work. covering six to seven functions under one line of• Program management, to provide expert business would typically have five to six business advice on key program-related risks or issues relationship managers. that need to be discussed with the business beyond the governance structure. Driving Innovation Although all the responsibilities of a BRM orga-• Operations, to assess feedback from the nization are equally important, the business is business on day-to-day support. increasingly looking to business relationshipThe BRM Operating Model managers for advice on how to use technology innovation to enable business transformation andThe organization is staffed by business rela- improve competitive positioning. The businesstionship managers who possess subject matter relationship manager plays a key role in instillingexpertise not only in the IT domain but also a culture of innovation in the organization by:in specific business areas. The key traits ofsuccessful business relationship managers are: • Defining various innovation channels, such as innovation labs, innovation booths, innovation• Strategic vision and structured thinking. campaigns, focused innovation workshops,• Knowledge of industry trends in business and one-on-one meetings and innovation letter- technology. boxes.• Strong teamwork and interpersonal skills. • Identifying the appropriate people, ranging• Excellent presentation and communication from business stakeholders to IT employees, skills. who need to be engaged through these channels.Based on their area of expertise, business rela-tionship managers are generally aligned with one • Leveraging appropriate systems or platformsor more lines of business. For instance, in a typical such as idea management systems to gather,financial services company, business relationship evaluate and manage ideas.managers tend to be aligned with each functionalBRM Operating Model Business Units IT Organization BRM BRM Head Sales BRM: Sales Enterprise Architecture Marketing BRM: Marketing Actuarial BRM: Actuarial Portfolio Management Product BRM: Product Program Management Service BRM: Service All Business Units BRM: Strategic Operations InitiativesFigure 1 cognizant 20-20 insights 2
  3. 3. • Developing an infrastructure to support the An equally critical task is to ensure that suitable prioritization and proposal development for innovation channels are identified, depending various ideas. on the type of ideas needed and the type and size of the persona audience being harnessedInnovation Channels and Innovator Personas for innovation. Key characteristics of variousAn innovation channel is a mechanism or innovation channels are depicted in Figure 2.means of probing the organization to garnerideas in response to a particular challenge or Idea Management Systemsobjective. Various organizational roles or indi- While facilitating innovation processes,viduals providing innovative ideas are defined technology enablers such as idea managementas innovator personas. Start-ups and entrepre- systems can also be leveraged to simplify theneurial businesses tend to tap the potential of process of idea gathering, idea evaluation andinnovator personas across the organization, while communication to a wide audience of innovators.larger organizations typically work with mid- to Idea management systems enhance operationalsenior-level management. Based on the purpose efficiencies for innovation processes such asof the innovation effort, it can be critical for the innovation campaigns. Some of the key function-BRM organization to engage the right innovator alities provided by idea management systemspersonas to generate the best ideas. are rapidly customizable templates for gatheringInnovation Channels and Innovator Personas Size of Idea Type Persona Type Persona Audience Innovation Lab A periodic (fortnightly/monthly) forum Improvement opportuni- Mid- to senior- Small to gather ideas from the organization on ties based on key organi- level management. (5-10) any topic or focus area. zational objectives. Innovation Booth A booth/stall setup during events such Top-of-mind issues/ Attendees for a Large as sales conferences for business or IT concerns and improve- particular event. (100-500) stakeholders to gather innovative ideas ment opportunities. from attendees for the events. Innovation Campaign A finite, time-bound program/initiative to Potential ideas and All employees Large gather ideas from the broader organiza- solutions to address from select (100-500) tion, to address specific organizational a single objective or departments/ objectives and challenges. concern. organizations. Focused Innovation Workshop A focused whiteboarding exercise with Potential ideas/solutions SMEs represent- Small select experts to drive ideation on to address a single ing different (5-10) specific organizational objectives and objective or concern. departments or challenges. perspectives. One-on-One Innovation Meeting A periodic one-on-one session with a CXO Improvement CXO/senior Small or a senior leadership member, led by an opportunities based leadership (5-10) internal/ external facilitator to gather on key organizational member. ideas. objectives. Innovation Letterbox A channel for all employees to provide Top-of-mind issues/ All employees Large ideas and improvement opportunities concerns and improvement from the (100-500) throughout the year. opportunities. organization.Figure 2 cognizant 20-20 insights 3
  4. 4. CASE STUDY >>Leading U.S. Insurer Embraces BRMChallenge more of the six lines of business and one manager dedicated to the strategic initiatives.Charged with enhancing the business-IT relation-ship, the CIO at a large U.S. insurer engaged our To provide a working framework for the BRMbusiness consulting team to set up a BRM orga- organization and various innovation mechanisms,nization. we defined and syndicated detailed packages, including process flows, standard operatingSolution procedures, supporting process templates andOur business consulting team engaged with client metrics. As part of enabling the creation of thestakeholders to identify the key challenges in the BRM organization and suggested innovationexisting business-IT relationship. To address these processes, we also worked with the client to definechallenges, we recommended the establishment detailed implementation and training packages.of a BRM organization as part of the IT planningand strategy function. The four key functions of Benefitsthe BRM organization were: The insurer has rolled out our functional recom- mendations on the BRM organization setup and• Facilitation of innovation to manage the idea- has implemented various innovation processes. generation process through four key innovation As a result, the company has realized the channels: innovation labs, innovation booths, following benefits: innovation campaigns and focused innovation workshops. • A 20% to 25% increase in the overall business• Business opportunity management for satisfaction score, measured by a stronger providing consultation to the business for business-IT partnership, improved communi- proposal development. cation, innovative technology solutions and periodic reviews.• Monthly business partner reviews to gather feedback from various business units on key • A significant increase in the number of new business performance metrics. ideas (on the order of fourfold) generated through various innovation mechanisms and• Semi-annual business customer satisfaction eventually converted into strategic initiatives. surveys to assess improvement opportunities for the business-IT relationship. • A significant reduction in the average cycle time (on the order of 30%) of developing proposalsBased on the four key functions, we recom- for technology initiatives by engaging the BRMmended that the BRM organization be staffed by organization to drive the executive to manage the overall business-ITrelationship, three managers aligned with one orideas, configuring parameters for evaluating manager is also responsible for working with keyideas, collaborative reviews and templates for IT stakeholders to identify the benefits of imple-publishing results. menting the chosen ideas and create a proposal for implementing them.Idea InfrastructureBusiness relationship managers also play an Measuring BRM Successimportant role in identifying and bringing While CIOs are keen to engage business relation-together a core team of experts required to ship managers to enhance the business-IT rela-evaluate ideas, facilitate sessions for evaluation tionship, it is also critical to continuously evaluateand identify the ideas with the highest potential and improve the value that the BRM organizationfor implementation. The business relationship adds to business-IT alignment. The organization’s cognizant 20-20 insights 4
  5. 5. success should be continuously measured using for growing and transforming its capabilities.the following parameters: • The degree to which the business is up to date on key IT events and initiatives.• Business satisfaction survey on the state of the business-IT relationship. • Average cycle time reduction in developing proposals for technology initiatives.• The quality and number of technology ideas or solutions that were proposed to the businessReferencesInnovation Labs, Martens, “Hot Jobs: Business Relationship Manager,” CIO, Aug. 28, 2007, the AuthorsPhilippe Dintrans is the Vice President and the Practice Leader of Cognizant Business Consulting’s (CBC)Strategic Services Group for North America, where he has led a number of consulting engagements onbusiness transformation, IT transformation and change management for marquee clients. Philippe holdsa master’s of science in engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an MBA fromINSEAD. He can be reached at Anand is a Senior Manager with CBC’s Strategic Services Group, with 11 years of experience in suc-cessfully leading and managing large IT performance and process improvement initiatives for variousclients. Amit holds a bachelor’s degree from IIT Delhi and an MBA from the Indian School of Business,Hyderabad. He can be reached at Nathan is a Senior Consultant with CBC’s Strategic Services Group, with seven years of ITconsulting experience. His specific areas of expertise include IT organization and operating models,cost optimization and business process re-engineering. He holds a bachelor’s degree from MadrasUniversity and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. He can be reached Vijayakrishnan is a Senior Consultant with CBC’s Strategic Services Group, with six years ofexperience in the industry. His specific areas of expertise include IT performance and process improve-ments, IT organization and operating model redesign and IT strategy development. He holds a bachelor’sdegree in computer science engineering and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.He can be reached at cognizant 20-20 insights 5
  6. 6. About CognizantCognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) is a leading provider of information technology, consulting, and business process out-sourcing services, dedicated to helping the world’s leading companies build stronger businesses. Headquartered inTeaneck, New Jersey (U.S.), Cognizant combines a passion for client satisfaction, technology innovation, deep industryand business process expertise, and a global, collaborative workforce that embodies the future of work. With over 50delivery centers worldwide and approximately 140,500 employees as of March 31, 2012, Cognizant is a member of theNASDAQ-100, the S&P 500, the Forbes Global 2000, and the Fortune 500 and is ranked among the top performingand fastest growing companies in the world. Visit us online at or follow us on Twitter: Cognizant. World Headquarters European Headquarters India Operations Headquarters 500 Frank W. Burr Blvd. 1 Kingdom Street #5/535, Old Mahabalipuram Road Teaneck, NJ 07666 USA Paddington Central Okkiyam Pettai, Thoraipakkam Phone: +1 201 801 0233 London W2 6BD Chennai, 600 096 India Fax: +1 201 801 0243 Phone: +44 (0) 20 7297 7600 Phone: +91 (0) 44 4209 6000 Toll Free: +1 888 937 3277 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7121 0102 Fax: +91 (0) 44 4209 6060 Email: Email: Email:©­­ Copyright 2012, Cognizant. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by anymeans, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission from Cognizant. The information contained herein issubject to change without notice. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.