Business Relationships

An Intro into the World of Business Relationship Management, Part 4: A Continued Review into BRM

We are on the last leg of our four-part series. In our previous BRM blogs, we provided you with a summary overview of BRM, BRMP®, and BRM Institute®. We then followed with more detailed information about the BRM role and the BRMP®. This final blog provides additional information to round out what we provided you regarding the BRM role.

Where do BRMs Work?

You will find BRMs in every type of industry and size of organization. BRMs may aligned with one or more lines of business, by program, specific IT initiative or by geography. They are often integrated into the IT strategy and planning efforts. Although today most of the BRMs work with IT as the service provider, the BRM role is equally effective for other provider services, such as HR, finance, marketing, human services, manufacturing, external service providers, etc.

BRMs by any Other Name

The BRM role may function under different titles in some organizations.  You may see the BRM role and responsibilities under the title of a Business Unit Manager, IT Partner, Account Manager, Customer Relationship Manager, or Business Integration.  Further, BRMs can come from any organizational unit, such as IT, Project or Program Management Offices (PMOs), Business Management, Business Strategy, Business Operations, Sales, Marking/PR, HR, Legal, Finance, or Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

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With Whom do BRMs Interact?

BRMs work with any organizational role they need to establish key working relationships to maximize business and provider value. However, the more frequent interactions are with the business partners, application or enterprise architects, business analysts, project/program/portfolio managers, finance managers, operations, and other service provider support roles.

Implementing BRM

The BRM may be a part-time role, a full-time role, or a BRM competency that can be leveraged by other organizational roles such as project managers, business analysts, business managers, IT staff, etc. In the past, CIOs often played the role of the BRM part time. As the profession grew, many BRMs are now in full-time roles. Further, a BRM role can be a sole practitioner role or there may be a small team of BRMs within the organization.

The BRM may report directly to the CIO with a dotted line to the business leader or report to the business leader with a dotted line relationship to the CIO. They may also report to a PMO. However, no matter the organizational structure, the common thread across all BRM implementations is an interface between business and the service provider with a focus on increasing the value realized from the provider investments (new initiatives), assets (usually current systems and infrastructure), and capabilities (the services and products offered by the provider organization).

Why do we need BRMs?

So why do we need BRMs anyway? As you have worked in your organization or past organizations, you may have seen a disconnect that often occurs between the service provider and the business they serve. Service providers sometimes struggle to show their value and relevance to the business. Alternatively, the business does not always understand what the provider can do to help bring value to the business. BRMs are a means to address these issues. Businesses rely on the BRM’s advice on how to use technology or other provider assets in an innovative way to enable business transformation, improve competitive positioning, and maximize business value. On the other hand, the provider relies on BRMs to translate the business need into provider terminology and to represent the provider to the business in business terms.

How do we Measure BRM Success?

Success will be measured differently depending on how the BRM is implemented in each organization. However, some success measures can include business satisfaction surveys on the state of the business/provider (e.g.IT) relationship, the quality and number of provider solutions that were proposed to add business value, the degree to which the business is up-to-date on key provider events and initiatives, the reduction in the time it takes in developing new proposals for change initiatives and the ability to maximize existing provider assets.

BRMP® is a registered trademark of Business Relationship Management Institute.

Susan Heidorn, Ed.D., PMP, CBAP, HSDP, CSM, BRMP

Dr. Susan Heidorn, PMP, CBAP, HSDP, CSM, BRMP is the Director of Business Solutions for Watermark Learning in Minneapolis. Susan is an experienced consultant, facilitator, speaker, and trainer, with over 25 years of business experience. Susan directs programs in business analysis, business relationship management, and leadership, including developing and delivering courses and providing consulting. She has been a speaker at a number of IIBA® and PMI® conferences as well as local and regional organizations, boards, and private clients. She is a lifelong learner whose passion it is to guide people into achieving excellence in their personal and professional lives and works on creating positive impacts to the organization.

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