Business Relationship Manager
and Plan Build Run
In this article, I define business relationship management, business relationship manager (BRM), Plan Build Run (PBR), and show how various BRMs act as both pivotal agents of the shared service provider they represent as well as key involved strategic partners to the business units they support through PBR.
Note: I provide high-level examples of some of the more predominant BRM roles, but by no means it is my intention to offer this as an all-inclusive list of all the BRM roles that might exist today.
Business Relationship Management
and Business Relationship Manager
Business Relationship Management is defined by Business Relationship Management Institute (BRM Institute) as both an organizational capability and a role.
Business Relationship Management as an organizational capability, embodying a set of competencies (knowledge, skills, and behaviors) and processes that foster productive value-producing relationships between a Provider (IT, HR, Finance, Sales, etc.) and the business entities they serve.
The Business Relationship Manager (BRM) role serves as the strategic interface between a Provider and one or more Business Partners to stimulate, surface, and shape demand for the Provider’s products and services and ensure that the potential business value from those products and services is defined, realized, optimized, and recognized.
Plan Build Run
Plan Build Run (PBR) is a simple term that often describes the delivery lifecycle sequence for organizational projects. PBR can be broken down at a very high-level as follows:
- 3 – 5 year business unit strategy is developed (Business and BRMs)
- Business Unit Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are established to assist value management (Business and BRMs)
- Ideation–ideas are discussed, documented, and rationalized against the business strategy
- Through business cases, ideas are solutioned, quantified, qualified and prioritized with high-level features and functions, value, costs, and business change defined
- Once approved, project management begins with charter, resource plans, and project funding allocated
- Mature and validated plans take the form of an authorized project resourced and targeted to realize the goals/objectives set forth earlier during the Plan part of the lifecycle
- BRMs move to major stakeholder of the project
- Projects normally achieve their desired outcomes through phases such as detailed requirements, design, final solution, quality assurance, training and implementation
- Progress, priorities, cost and value are jointly monitored by stakeholders
- Project is complete/implemented with new/desired functions operational
- Run teams (business or other) support implemented solutions
- Realized value is being tracked and optimized against goals/objectives
BRMs and PBR
PBR can be leveraged by any business team to move an idea through ideation, to realization, to optimization. Business teams vary by organization, but usually consist of business leaders, business operators, BRMs, information technology (IT) teams, shared service teams, and sometimes include end customers. The nature of the idea and solution required will dictate the various teams that will be involved in the full implementation cycle.
- BRMs facilitate 3-5 year strategic business unit planning
- BRMs facilitate KPI identification and measurements
- BRMs work with business partners to facilitate ideation and construct business cases. Business Analysts often support the BRM and Business Partner.
- BRMs hand off approved business case to Project Manager to deliver project
- BRMs move to major project stakeholder after handoff to Project Manager
- BRMs attend steering committee/project status meetings and facilitate major scope changes with Project Manager and stakeholders as needed
- BRMs facilitate Value Realization with Finance BRM, Business, Value Management Office and/or Business Analysts
- BRMs orchestrate project/operational assessments to establish candidate areas for continuous improvement in subsequent project lifecycle activities
Human Resource BRMs or HR Business Partners
Human Resource (HR) BRMs have four main areas of focus working with their Business Partners: Strategic Partner, Communicator & Facilitator, Moderator, and Crisis Consultant.
- BRMs design, develop, and guide efforts to increase business unit performance through integrated HR plans
- BRMs lead implementation of key HR business processes including performance and pay, employee engagement surveys, leadership assessments, and talent planning
- BRMs balance HR and Business Priorities
- BRMs communicate culture, policies, tools and resources for employees and monitor employee experience
- BRMs consult with leaders and legal counsel on employee relations issues
Finance BRMs are an integral part of the business teams and the business decision-making process. Finance BRMs are responsible for analyzing financial risks, providing relevant insight and formulating strategies to drive financial performance, as well as ensuring the business meets all of their obligations as a responsible organization around reporting and financial transactions.
- BRMs design, develop, and guide efforts to increase business unit performance through the formulation of business strategic and operational plans
- BRMs lead implementation of key financial business processes including new initiatives, investment appraisals, investigate the feasibility of new revenue streams and generally offer financial support to commercial decision-makers
- BRMs facilitate or assist in full Value Management Lifecycle
External BRMs (Customer Relationship Managers, Sales Teams or Business Development, Outsourcers)
The external BRM is very similar to the IT BRM and is all about delivering what matters to customers, providing them with value and quality to ensure their business runs smoothly and efficiently through a strategic relationship. The entire relationship not only encompasses the direct interaction aspect, such as sales and/or service related processes, but also in the forecasting and analysis of customer trends and behaviors, which ultimately serve to enhance the customer’s overall experience.
- The External BRM is very similar to the IT BRM above with additional external business partner (or sales) responsibilities
The Bank BRM is responsible for acquiring, deepening and retaining a profitable portfolio of relationships with businesses or individual customers in the market. The BRM will meet with prospects and customers, determine their needs, and provide appropriate banking solutions and value-added services. The BRM seeks to cultivate long term and profitable business relationships that are within the scope of the credit risk parameters established by the Bank.
- BRMs engage in prospect and customer outreach efforts focused on acquiring new business relationships and expanding business relationships with existing customers
- BRMs use knowledge of business, finance, banking, credit and risk management to identify, recommend and promote products and solutions to best serve customers while adhering to appropriate risk parameters that protect the Bank
- BRMs uncover and assess the borrowing requirements of businesses and present appropriate commercial loan solutions
- BRMs coordinate commercial lending activities with business applicants, including loan application package preparation and submission to underwriting, acquiring additional information when required and facilitating closing activities
- BRMs proactively source and expand business banking business partner relationships through business development calling efforts, coordinating with external referral sources for potential leads and other outreach activities
- BRMs consult with customers and prospects about their financial goals and needs to identify and promote Bank products and services that best meet those needs.
BRMs and Plan Build Run
Regardless of the particular business service area they represent, the Plan Build Run approach I described is a useful way to show how BRMs can fulfill a multitude of primary stewardship roles (building on their common competency and relationship management foundation) in order to ever more effectively and successfully help their business partners improve their business and strategic performance.
BRM Institute’s Business Relationship Management Professional certification is designed to enable BRMs to excel with a solid baseline level of knowledge for strategic business partnering and achieve their greatest success at Plan Build Run. I truly look forward to the coming days where successful businesses will require the BRMP® credentials before hiring someone into the BRM role.
Aaron Barnes co-found and leads the world’s first nonprofit 501(c)(6) professional association, membership, certification, and professional development in the field of Business Relationship Management (BRM). As of April 2014, one year since opening for membership enrollment, Business Relationship Management Institute connects more than 800 members—senior executives representing leading commercial, government, and nonprofit organizations as well as leading BRM, IT Service Management (ITSM), and management consultants—from 27 countries around the globe. Through its active social media channels, BRM Institute joins thousands of BRM and ITSM thought leaders and expert practitioners into a vibrant global professional community. Aaron can be reached through www.brm.institute.