The importance of the Business Relationship Management role and function is undeniable. Business Executives often recognize the BRM’s mission is to ensure that business needs are understood, managed, and addressed while business value is optimized. However, Executives can sometimes misinterpret the various ways BRMs have to achieve this mission. This article is meant to highlight seven things Executives need to know about Business Relationship Management.
Executive Support Is Critical In Value Optimization
For business value creation it’s important to have clarity around organizational strategic objectives, this helps align key initiatives and increases the chances of success. However, it doesn’t automatically lead to business value optimization.
Recognition of business value optimization is ensured by building strategic partnerships across the organization and raising the collaboration levels towards common goals. BRMs who work towards strategic partnerships, need Executives support in their journey.
Executive support is more than acknowledging good ideas or providing funds, it’s about helping out when roadblocks occur, making time for BRMs and overall demonstrating support. As a result, when executives set the focus on building strategic partnerships across the organization, BRMs are able to serve business purposes and lead to value optimization.
Leadership Cannot Be Delegated And Should Be Visible
Leadership is key in many different ways, but some things need to be clear: it cannot be earned, it cannot be delegated, and a job title doesn’t make you a leader! On the contrary, the true leader does not need a title to lead and influence. Leadership should be visible at any level: leaders shall set up an example, walk the talk, and inspire the whole journey not only an idea. Without visible leadership the success of BRM itself and the organizational initiatives is marginal.
BRM Role Should Be Clearly Defined Via RACI
Understanding the role of BRM is important, but defining it is vital. What is the best way to go about it? By using the roles and responsibilities matrix, also known as RACI chart, the key BRM roles and responsibilities should be clearly identified. This is specifically important for other roles interfacing with Business Partners, such as Product Managers, Project Managers, Enterprise Architects, etc. Clarity in the roles will prevent confusions and misunderstandings regarding each stakeholder business functions. There are several mistakes around the role clarity that can be avoided through the RACI chart and prevent falling into common pitfalls, such as overlapping responsibilities or unclear accountabilities.
BRM Role Is Meant To Be Strategic
Understanding this is fundamental for value creation and overall BRM success. BRM is meant to operate in the context of business strategy, therefore BRMs need to be involved early in the business decision-making cycle. As BRMs focus is value optimization, they emphasize on initiatives intended to enact business strategy. Engaging early in the decision cycle increases their ability to identify the most valuable possibilities and this can only be done when the BRM has a clear view of the bigger picture. On the contrary, a BRM focused only on the tactical tasks, such as keeping the lights on, will fail the main mission and objectives of the role. Essentially, being involved in the high-level decision-making process and interfacing with business unit heads and senior executives ensures that the BRM Role performs at its best.
Strategic Acumen In BRM Requires A Specific Set Of Competencies
There is a set of competencies that describe the knowledge, skills, and behaviours needed to successfully perform as a BRM. The competencies allow BRMs to identify, surface, and stimulate demand for high business value opportunities. In order to do so, knowledge about both the provider and business partner world is a must.
The competencies group that build the BRM role are:
- Strategic Partnering
- Business IQ
- Portfolio Management
- Provider Domain Knowledge
- Business Transition Management
- Powerful Communications
Altogether, the competencies allow BRMs to advance their organization from siloed service providers to true converged strategic partners and ultimately sharing ownership of strategy and results.
Business Demand Needs To Be Shaped
BRM is key for forecasting, planning, and managing demand for products and services, so that supply can meet demand. By definition, demand shaping is the process of using business analytics and other techniques to help rank and prioritize demand, based upon value realization potential and other factors. It’s a BRM core discipline which involves surfacing potential high-value ideas and opportunities. Sometimes it involves saying “no” to the Business Partner. Such a decision can seem hard to accept but it’s also part of the demand shaping process which includes suppressing demand that does not have high potential value realization or meet other necessary conditions.
BRMs Need To Be Skilled In Managing All Stakeholders’ Expectations, Not Only Business Partners’
Like it was explained previously, the BRM is meant to operate in a business strategy context. At this level, the BRM has a clear perspective on the organization’s direction and all stakeholders. It allows the BRM to provide guidance based on a holistic approach and to optimize value delivery. Moreover, it’s important to understand that every stakeholder has expectations about their business function, project, role, business outcomes, etc. These need to be managed and it’s up to the BRM to do so. It’s not just about the Business Partner because it’s all about the value for the entire organization.
In conclusion, there is actually much more to know about BRM than what has been listed. The best part is that we can help in different ways, whether you need training, coaching or team workshops! Check out our full BRM offer here!