How to Improve CRM and Tap Your Audience

By Sofia Zafeiri, Social Media Coordinator at IIL

A lot has been written and said over the past six years about the Agile methodology–from a tech methodology to the next best thing that quickly resolves challenges.

The truth, however, has different sides to it depending on how your company chooses to implement Agile. Nevertheless, surveys and stats have repeatedly shown that Agile offers specific benefits to the teams adopting it. So, Agile started expanding to more departments outside IT.

One of the key benefits of this method against the old and traditional ones is that it helps teams in a variety of ways to create and produce high-quality services that are focused on improving the customer experience.

According to a survey conducted by Econsultancy, by 2020, customer experience is expected to be more significant for companies than content marketing. Consumers’ behavior is changing rapidly, and the Internet is the leading reason for this shift.

As consumers continued researching their future purchases using reviewing apps and websites (whose growth has multiplied since 2000) they began to realize not only their purchasing power but also that:

• They were not interested in ads.
68% of Millennials trust online reviews as opposed to 34% who trust TV advertising.

• They have more trust in the opinion of their peers and influencers they follow.
53% of Millennials surveyed said that user-generated content has an influence on their purchasing decisions, compared to 44% for traditional media and 23% for banner ads. 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

• They wanted companies to see them as individuals and co-creators of value rather than recipients of products.
Personalized CTAs resulted in a 42% higher conversion rate than generic CTAs.

Major changes in consumer habits happen over time and from one generation to another. Millennials struck a deafening, “Not for me,” to the market dynamic as we knew it 8 or 10 years ago. Inevitably, corporations had to play along to survive. Companies started shifting their primary focus from massively advertising their products to astutely tapping their audience.

According to Walker, even companies have 60 to 70 percent of their buying decision made before a sales representative even walks through the door. The traditional “sales pitch” will be obsolete by 2020, since buyers will do their homework.

But, how does that affect the employees of a company? Trends and markets change rapidly in a short period. Sometimes before the end of a project, the objectives and tactics need to change, as they don’t respond to any real-life challenge anymore – they are not current.

This is where Agile comes in.

The three most significant benefits of adopting Agile are:

  1. The ability to manage to changing priorities
  2. Increased team productivity
  3. Improved project visibility

Although Agile began as a method for software development, its benefits were discovered to be relevant and much needed in more departments.

To learn more stats about how and why Agile is the answer to your team challenges, watch the video below:

Find more stats about the current state of Agile and Scrum in the infographic.



To learn more about the Agile and Scrum Conference visit here.

Don’t forget to use code SOCIAL for an additional $10 discount.












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About the Author

Sofia Zafeiri is the Social Media Coordinator at IIL. She graduated from NYU with an Ms in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. Before moving to New York City, she worked for a variety of organizations in Europe.


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Business Relationship Management (BRM)

By Elaine Lincoln, Ed.D., CBAP, PMI-PBA, BRMP

Last summer I had the opportunity to attend a BRM Foundation course. I was excited to learn about this role, which is not really a new role, but a role that has in the past two years become “professionalized”, meaning by that, it has its own:

  • Professional organization devoted to Business Relationship Management practitioners: The Business Relationship Management Institute (BRMI)
  • Interactive Body of Knowledge (BRMBOK™) that describes the role, techniques used by Business Relationship Managers (BRMs) and the competencies needed to be an effective BRM

During the course I was introduced to BRM terminology, tools, and techniques aimed at providing a common language for understanding the role.

Having been a practicing Business Analyst for many years of my career, I was struck by what I perceived as a very strong similarity between the BRM role and the work I performed as a BA:

  • I could identify with the metaphors that were used to describe the BRM as a navigator, orchestrator and connector between the business and the provider organization.
  • The BRM operated as an extreme advocate of the business, but without project boundaries.
  • The basic concepts of “Business Demand”, “Provider Supply” and helping an organization to maximize business value from their investments resonated with me.

They even had a Business Relationship Maturity Model: 

  • To help organizations identify their current level of relationship maturity
  • To raise awareness that greater benefits to the organization could result with a willingness to mature the relationship between the business and the provider

This is done by moving away from an “Order Taker” mentality (a rather derogatory term for a BA!) and striving towards strategic partnership and ultimately business convergence characterized by shared goals, risks and rewards between the business and provider.

BRMI’s Business Relationship Maturity Model

Business Relationship Maturity Model (BRMM) Business Relationship Management Institute, Inc., BRM Body of Knowledge (BRMBOK™),  Business Relationship Management Institute, Inc., 2015,  Page 28. Copyright and all rights reserved. Material from this publication has been reproduced with the permission of BRMI. Find them online at

What is Business Relationship Management?

There is so much material to cover, but for this first blog I thought I would focus on providing an explanation of what Business Relationship Management is for those who may be new to the concept. Like I said earlier, if you’ve worked as a Business Analyst the terminology will be familiar to you.

According to the BRMI, BRM is a role, a discipline, and an organizational capability. I’m going to focus on describing the BRM role and at the same time cover some basic BRM terminology.

The first concept to grasp is that of basic supply and demand (sounds like Economics 101, right?). In terms of supply, think about the services that are provided within an organization, for example the services provided by your Information Technology (IT) group. IT is a supply organization or a “Provider” of services to the rest of the enterprise.

The business needs (“demands”) information, and technology is the supplier of that information. The business is responsible for determining what information and capabilities they need (“demands”), and their IT partners are responsible for providing or enabling the business to leverage the best available technology.

The BRM sits at the intersection between the Service Provider and the Business Partner to ensure that the business goals are supported. But that’s only where the story begins. An effective BRM does much more than simply ensure that the business goals are supported.

An effective BRM contributes to the business leadership team by actively engaging with the business to discuss strategic direction and works to identify ways for the Provider to not only support, but to advance the business’ objectives.

By having a deep understanding of the business partners’ goals, the BRM can “stimulate, surface and shape business demand for the Provider’s products and services and ensure that the potential business value from those products and services is captured, realized, optimized and recognized” (Source: BRMI). The BRM therefore influences overall delivery and value realization for services, projects and capabilities.

Ideally, the BRM is a member of both the business and provider management teams and would typically be involved in the following:

  • Contributing to strategy and planning
  • Identifying how products/services support/advance business objectives
  • Helping the Solution Delivery team and other provider management leaders to assess what supply is necessary to meet demand
  • Partnering with provider organization to ensure supply-demand alignment
  • Monitoring business partner satisfaction
  • Facilitating continuous improvement of business partner-provider experience

Although I used the resource provider domain of Information Technology to explain the BRM role, which also happens to be the domain with which I am most familiar from my work as a BA, it is important to note that BRM concepts apply equally to other resource provider domains such as Human Resources, Finance and Legal.

Hopefully this explanation of Provider Supply and Business Demand has served to anchor your thinking around some basic BRM concepts and what the BRM role entails.

Ready to learn more? Join IIL’s Business Relationship Management Professional (BRMP®) course:

  • Online, starting August 7 and October 24
  • In Dubai, August 20-22
  • In Singapore, September 25-27
  • In New York, October 25-27 and December 6-8
  • In London, November 6-8

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