About Business Relationship Management

Introduction

Business relationship management stimulates, surfaces, and shapes business demand across business functions like IT, human resources, finance, legal, etc. and ensures that the potential business value from meeting business demand is captured, optimized, and recognized.

Key Concepts

BRM AS A DISCIPLINE

The business relationship management discipline comprises a set of skills and methods that can be learned and adopted by people, whether or not they fill a BRM role. For example, while certain people may be certified to drive public transport vehicles (bus drivers, licensed taxi drivers, etc.), anyone can learn to drive and follow the rules of the road.

Similarly, those without the formal BRM role can be schooled in one or more of the underlying disciplines with a BRMP and CBRM certification, such as value management and powerful communications.

BRM Institute states that BRM disciplines rest on solid, research-based foundations that have been verified and enhanced over a decade of successful implementations in leading organizations across the world. BRM disciplines have proven to be equally effective for a wide range of business functions (business partners) including IT, human resources, finance, legal, facilities, external service providers, and others.

All business partner-facing roles should be skilled in the disciplines of business relationship management.

BRM AS A CAPABILITY

Beyond being a role or discipline, business relationship management is deployed as a capability in its most impactful stateA BRM capability is comprised of everything it takes—both visible and behind the scenes—that brings business relationship management to life.

This includes having people with the right BRM competencies play the roles required by defined BRM processes, armed with useful techniques and tools that are all backed by management systems that create incentives for performance and improvement. A BRM capability is a capability designed to stimulate, surface, and shape business demand across all functions (business units, sales, marketing, technology, HR, finance, etc.) and ensure that the potential business value from that demand is captured, optimized, and recognized.

A strong BRM capability converges cross-functional teams and eliminates value-depleting organizational silos. It strengthens collaboration and drives a culture of creativity, innovation, and shared ownership across the enterprise, so that holistic, innovative, and value-driven strategies are created and deliver their intended business value results.

BRM AS A ROLE

Business relationship manager is a role is performed by an individual, either as an explicit or implicit part of their job. It serves as the strategic interface between a business function and one or more business partners to stimulate, surface, and shape business demand for the function’s business assets and capabilities. It also ensures that the potential business value from those assets and capabilities is captured, realized, optimized, and recognized.

As an organizational role, the business relationship manager is a connector, orchestrator, and navigator between their function and one or more business units and external customers.

The role of most BRMs is a full-time position, whereas CxOs and heads of functions fill the BRM role for the enterprise.

The Practice of Business Relationship Management

Business relationship management embodies a set of competencies (e.g. knowledge, skills, and behaviors) to foster an effective, business value-producing relationship between business functions and their business partners.

These competencies can be leveraged through an organizational role, a discipline (i.e. all business partner-facing roles should be skilled in business relationship management), and an organizational capability (i.e. a business partner organization should be effective in shaping and channeling demand to the highest business value opportunities).

The House of BRM illustrates three key aspects of business relationship management:

  1. The foundation supports the BRM role and ensures it has the competencies to effectively deliver value to both the business and its business partners.
  2. The pillars define the BRM space in terms of core BRM disciplines: demand shaping, exploring, servicing, and value realization. More can be found on these disciplines below.
  3. The roof protects business relationship management as a key aspect of business partner capability by ensuring clarity around the role, discipline, and organizational capability of BRM in the context of business strategy and business value results.

4 Core BRM Disciplines

Demand shaping stimulates, surfaces, and shapes business demand for the services, capabilities, and products of business partners by ensuring that business strategy fully leverages business partner capabilities, while business partner capabilities enable business strategy. Most importantly, demand shaping focuses on optimizing business value, meaning that low-value demand is suppressed while higher-value demand is stimulated.
Exploring identifies and rationalizes demand. Business relationship management helps sense business and technology trends to facilitate discovery and demand identification. Exploring is an iterative and ongoing process that facilitates the review of new business, industry, and technology insights with potential to create value for the business environment.

The key benefit of this discipline is the identification of business value initiatives that will become part of business partners’ portfolio of services, capabilities, and products.

Servicing coordinates resources, manages business partner expectations, and integrates activities in accordance with the partnership between business and its business partners. It ensures that engagement between business and its business partners translates demand into effective supply requirements. Servicing facilitates business strategy, business capability roadmapping, and portfolio and program management.
Value realization (formerly referred to as “value harvesting”) ensures the success of business change initiatives that result from exploring and servicing engagements. Value realization includes activities needed to track and review performance, identify ways of increasing value from strategic partnership between business and its business functions, and initiates feedback that triggers continuous improvement cycles. This process provides stakeholders with insights into the results of business change and initiatives.

Target Audience

Our target audience is any business professional or organization wishing to transform business functions like IT, human resources, finance, legal, etc. into strategic partners that lead with business as peers by playing a proactive role in shaping business strategy and sharing ownership for business results.

With its focus on improving relationships among business partners and maximizing business value, the principles of business relationship management apply to everyone engaged in business, regardless of whether you are a BRM or a C-level executive.

To learn more about business relationship management, join BRM Institute as a Professional Member to gain access to members-only resources and benefits.

Check out the courses offered by our Registered Providers (RPs) to enroll in one of our world-class professional development and certification programs today.

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