The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) released a new primer to advance its business relationship management initiative. The Business Relationship Management and the New CIO Operating Model primer addresses how to develop mature vendor relationship management capabilities in state government.

The initiative is spearheaded by NASCIO President and New Hampshire CIO Denis Goulet. The publication builds on NASCIO’s previous efforts on its “CIO as Broker” model and customer relationship management.

“The office of the state CIO is a trusted advisor to agencies and is a key member of the strategy team. Now, more than ever, state CIOs have the opportunity and responsibility to build relationships among agencies, private sector partners, and other key players,” Goulet explained in a press release.

The primer says that “the Business Relationship Management focus is more on evolving relationships that travel together, learn together, share risks and rewards. Relationships are not abandoned when failure occurs or is anticipated. Instead, course corrections are made to ensure projects, programs and management initiatives don’t fail but rather adjust, pivot, learn and move on.”

The primer offers a handful of basic tenets that serve as the premise for the BRM initiative:

  • “Relationships are growing in importance.
  • With respect to projects, programs, and management initiatives, the emphasis is increasingly on value creation and achieving outcomes.
  • Value created and outcomes achieved become the measures of success or failure. If the intended outcomes are not being achieved, course corrections can be made to avoid failure. We learn and we adjust as long as the outcomes are valid, properly articulated, achievable, and relevant.
  • Experimenting is encouraged.
  • Collaboration is the way forward.
  • The office of the state CIO is a trusted advisor to agencies and is represented as a key member of the strategy team.
  • Providers, trusted private sector partners, cross-jurisdictional collaborators, and internal staff are all trusted advisors to the state.
  • CIO is developing strategy, anticipating change and evaluating emerging technology.”

The primer also includes five “calls to action” to help states and territories get started with BRM:

  • “Develop the business case for business relationship management. If your state is moving toward the new CIO operating model, identify how the BRM discipline fits into and improves your model and unique circumstances.
  • Identify stakeholders who will support the creation and operation of an effective BRM discipline.
  • Leverage existing organizational structures for CRM and VRM. Evolve these roles and responsibilities into broader roles of BRM. Using existing organizational structures can prove more efficient in achieving the intent of BRM.
  • Apply the BRM discipline to those relationships and projects that are of the highest priority for the state CIO. This will essentially be a starting point toward a full enterprise-wide BRM discipline. With short CIO tenures and frequent elections, smaller goals may be more sustainable.
  • Develop a governance structure for your BRM initiative. Above all, it is critical to have this in place for effective BRM. The stakeholders could be brought together to form the first iteration of a formal governance structure for BRM. In the future, such a governance structure would evolve as needs and the discipline changes.”
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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs