The Role of the Business Relationship Manager (BRM)
Designed to bring value to an organization through the convergence of different business functions, the business relationship manager (BRM) role is a senior-level, strategic business partner who shares ownership for both business strategy and business value results.
Whether it be IT, HR, finance, sales, legal, or external, a BRM’s primary objective is to break down the silos separating business functions to optimize cohesive organizational effectiveness and jointly determine strategic direction. Today, the most successful organizations are those that converge business functions—such as IT, HR, and finance—through a BRM capability. The end result is a drive towards collaboration and a culture of creativity, innovation, and value that reflects the business strategy as a whole.
Organizations across every industry have room to grow their business value through the hiring of business relationship managers. While BRMs come from all areas of business, the position requires a specific set of skills. including strong communication, strategic thinking, and influential relationship-building.
Business Relationship Manager Job Description
“Great leaders create great leaders in everyone around them. BRMs are great leaders.”
– Aaron Barnes, CEO and co-founder, BRM Institute
The business relationship manager (BRM) is a senior-level, strategic business partner who shares ownership for both business strategy and business value results. The BRM owns executive-level relationships and serves as a single point of focus, working to converge functions such as IT, HR, finance, etc. and one or more lines of business or value streams.
This is achieved by stimulating, surfacing, and shaping demand for capabilities and assets, in addition to ensuring that the potential business value from those capabilities and assets are captured, optimized, and recognized.
Through effective relationship management capabilities as defined by BRM Institute, the BRM contributes to the business partner leadership team by actively partnering with business peers to determine strategic direction.
The business relationship manager (BRM) is a senior-level, strategic business partner who shares ownership for both business strategy and business value results.
They work to identify ways in which the BRM’s function can support and advance business objectives. Additionally, the BRM shapes business demand into supply by:
Strategic Partnering & Strategy
- Coach business leaders and enable them to articulate their function’s (i.e. technology, people, etc.) needs and requirements that will advance business performance.
- Partner with enterprise architecture to develop and maintain multi-year business capability roadmaps.
- Partner with business transformation teams (change management) to ensure effective business transformation for all initiatives.
- Partner with the project/program/portfolio management organization (PMO) to ensure a healthy and well-managed initiative portfolio.
- Partner with business leadership to plan new joint initiatives, evaluate proposals, and determine how they fit into business capability roadmaps and priorities.
- Think strategically by identifying business function opportunities and the best-suited position for the function’s adoption within the business partner organization. Measure adoption and work with business leadership to develop future roadmap and opportunities.
- Identify and integrate business partners’ long-range plans into business capability roadmaps and priorities, as appropriate. Brief stakeholders on business partner plans.
- Focus on business value rather than solutions to develop ideas, including digital awareness, risk assessments, business continuity, and business capability requirements.
- Build and manage the relationship team to ensure convergence and strategic partnering with the business partner team, including working closely with CxO leadership as executive sponsors for each business partner.
- Advocate for an awareness and focus on business partner strategic plans.
- Correlate business value and priorities to planning activities and goal-setting.
- Ensure that project/program managers of business partner projects are knowledgeable about the business partner and their objectives; engage as a project/program stakeholder, including evaluating project efforts and progress against joint strategic plans and objectives.
- Be creative and innovative with regards to your knowledge and awareness of industry trends and digital advances as they relate to new opportunities and business needs.
- Evaluate joint initiatives as they relate to corporate strategy to ensure convergence and opportunities for measurable success.
- At a business unit-level, own the BRM’s functional operating and project/program budget, and perform accurate budgeting and forecasting across operations and projects or programs.
Partnership & Relationship Management
- Lead as the strategic interface between the BRM’s function and business partner to stimulate, surface, and shape business demand and ensure that the potential business value from those assets and capabilities is captured, realized, optimized, and recognized.
- Establish and earn value-adding, strategic partner relationship maturity for yourself in the role of a BRM and for the entire function.
- Develop a deep knowledge of the business partner’s business unit and build positive relationship development, both horizontally and vertically.
- Ensure business value realization and optimization, from value plans through consultancy, business case development, financial awareness, managing expectations, and identifying opportunities to add value.
- Ensure project and initiative progress, including consistent and effective communication. This includes managing escalation and avoiding risk.
- Educate business partners about processes, roles, and capabilities.
- Establish communication processes and channels across business functions.
- Measure and communicate business value realized with the business partner on a periodic basis.
Knowledge & Skill Requirements
- MBA or related qualification
- Graduate degree or progressive educational certificate
- Business Relationship Management Professional (BRMP®) preferred
- Certified Business Relationship Manager (CBRM®) preferred
- Master of Business Relationship Management (MBRM®) preferred
- 10+ years of functional experience in the business function
- 5+ years of experience facilitating the development and implementation of business initiatives and projects, based on management objectives
- Ability to listen, build rapport, and credibility as a strategic partner vertically within the business unit, as well as with leadership and functional teams
- Strategic thinker
- Ability to map joint organizational vision and long-term thinking, imagination, and idea generation
- Energy, focus, assertiveness, and diplomacy
- Knowing when to push an agenda and when to let a situation develop, rest, or advance
- Highly developed communication skills
- Ability and comfort with working at executive levels
- Highly skilled and experienced at negotiating conflict and problem-solving to achieve win-win outcomes at executive levels
- Exceptional ability to lead change using positive and collaborative methods
- Setting the standard for business management
- Leading by example, mentoring, and motivating others in the BRM team and all around you
- Ability to set expectations with business partners and effectively leverage governance for a positive business partner experience
- Ability to influence and break down silos within an organization as well across organizations
- Ability to focus on business value results, rather than solutions
- Technical aptitude, requirements management, and the ability to assess and articulate risk variables
- Must have and maintain credibility with the business community
- Must demonstrate acumen in business and function disciplines
- Understand and integrate business strategies and trends in technology to deliver value
- Be able to influence others, using personal rather than positional power
- Strong communication skills in writing, speaking, and presenting
- An outside-in focus
- Outstanding end customer/consumer relationship skills
- Solid understanding of IT, HR, and finance assets and capabilities
- Be able to identify gaps and areas that need improvement
- Strong humility, listening, creativity, and negotiation skills
- Accept ownership
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