Business Relationship Management Professional (BRM)
The online Business Relationship Management Professional (BRMP) course allows delegates to understand the BRM role and create awareness of it in their organisation. They will also be able to look at current relationships in their business and identify where improvements can be made. Our training package includes the online course + the BRM Professional exam.
Get BRM Professional qualified at your own pace
Exam included with course fee
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30 or 60 days online access
30 or 60 days online access - spread the 18 hours of study over the period that best suits you. The flexibility of the on-demand learning allows you to learn at the times you’re available
Fully accredited - ITSM Zone’s accreditation from APMG for the Business Relationship Management course is your guarantee that the material is accurate and relevant to the current syllabus.
BRM Professional study guides and more...
Tutor support included - No additional resources are required – everything that you need to understand the concepts and principles is included.
24/7 helpdesk on hand to help you whenever you need it. We’re proud of the support that we offer to our students, and we consistently receive an average rating of over 9/10 for the quality and speed of our support teams.
Training+ Virtual Mentor session included
Includes free 30 minute Training+ Virtual Mentor session. With over 30 mentors available, we’re confident that we can provide a mentor with the right skills and experiences to answer your questions. This session is your opportunity to set the agenda and ask the expert for the answers that you need. Learn more about virtual mentors
easy to absorb lessons covering terminology, principles, themes and exam preparation
Includes video tutorials, study guides and quizzes
Study duration: 18 hours
Lessons in this training
Module 1: An overview of BRM
The video below is the first lesson in this module, and is part of the Business Relationship Course
The ‘Business Relationship Management Professional’ foundation course
Module 1 – An Overview Of Business Relationship Management
Lesson 1 – Introducing Business Relationship Management
Welcome to module1, lesson 1.
In this lesson introduces you to Business Relationship Management. We’ll study a number of topics, including:
What Business Relationship Management is BRM metaphors And
Let’s start by looking at the context of Business Relationship Management.
Most enterprises consist of one or more business units that deliver goods and services to external customers. In the case of a commercial enterprise these customers pay directly for the goods and services received. In the case of public or not for profit enterprises, the commercial relationship does not exist but the recipients of the services are still usually regarded as customers.
Each business unit is supported by internal service units and third party suppliers. IT is a major service unit in many organizations but there are others – HR and Finance for example.
The diagram on your screen illustrates the key relationships: business unit and customer; service unit and business unit; and business unit and 3rdparty supplier.
Each of the three key relationships must be managed if it is to be successful; and by successful, I mean if it is to serve the aims of the business and provide value to the business.
The business unit utilizes Customer Relationship Management to manage its relationship with its customers, and Supplier Management to manage its supplier relationships. Business Relationship Management is concerned with the relationship between a service unit and the business units served.
I think you’ll see that Customer Relationship Management and Business Relationship Management have very similar concerns. And in fact CRM provided Service Units with a model for handling the relationship withtheircustomers – the Business Units.
The big, and obvious, difference between CRM and BRM is that the ultimate duty of CRM is to serve the interests of the Business Unit and the wider business. And that could meanendingthe relationship with a customer. BRM, on the other hand, serves the business not the Service Unit; a Service Unit cannot choose to end its relationship with a Business Unit.
Okay, so I’ve set out the basic situation, now let’s focus more on the specifics of Business Relationship Management. I’ll start by defining some terminology. Every trade, profession and discipline has its own technical language, its own jargon if you like, and BRM is no different. Properly used, jargon can help communication by removing ambiguity and reducing the scope for misunderstanding.
So far I’ve used phrases that you’re probably very familiar with: Service Unit and Business Unit. The BRM Body of Knowledge uses different terms as you can see from this diagram.
Instead of Service Unit, the Body of Knowledgeuses the term Provider. And where I’ve used the phrase ‘Business Unit’, the Body of Knowledgesays ‘Business Partner’. In your professional career I’m sure you’ve seen other terms used: customer, client, and consumer for example.
You don’t need to worry about the different shades of meaning that might attach to these different terms. Just be aware that these are the words I’ll be using in the rest of this course, and these are the words that you’ll see in the exam.
The diagram on your screen now shows BRM acting as an intermediary between the Provider and the Business Partner. Notice the double-headed arrow; this implies two-way communication and influence. We’ll explore this idea much more as the course progresses.
Here is the BRM Institute’s formal definition ofProvider:
“Provider is the term we use to describe the organization that the Business Relationship Manager represents to their Business Partner”
As I’ve already said, the Providercouldbe HR, Finance or a number of other types of internal Service Units. In this course I’ll assume that it is an IT Service Provider and in fact in most enterprises right now, it is IT that’s most advanced in its BRM capabilities.
The term ‘Business Partner’ is used in two senses. First, it refers to the organization that uses the services of the Service Provider. But it is also the name of a role which the BRM BOK defines in this way:
“Business Partner is the term we use to refer to the individual that the Business Relationship Manager represents on behalf of the Provider organization.”
Now I personally find this definition a little clumsy. What it’s trying to say is that the Business Partner is the role in the business that Business Relationship Manager works with to achieve the objectives of Business Relationship Management
The last term I need to introduce you to is ‘Business Relationship Manager’.
“A Business Relationship Manager is a role that serves as the strategic interface between a Provider (e.g. IT Organization) and one or more Business Partners to stimulate, surface and shape business demand for the Provider’s products and services and ensure that the potential business value from those products and services is captured, realized, optimized and recognized.”
Okay, let’s do a quick exercise.
Plan to spend twenty minutes of this exercise and don’t forget to check out the Exercise Solutions document for our ideas.
Based on the definition of Business Relationship Manager that I introduced you to on the last screen, make a list of the objectives of a Business Relationship Manager.
When you’re done, go on to the next screen.
The way to approach the last exercise is to analyze the definition and pick out key verbs: stimulate, surface, shape for example. You can then ask ‘what would the BRM actually do?’ For example, what would the BRM do to stimulate demand?
We’ve recorded some of our ideas in the suggested solution to this exercise. Don’t worry if you didn’t get them all … the idea is to get you thinking. In fact, you probably came up with some ideas that aren’t in our list!
In this lesson I’ve talked about the ‘Business Relationship Manager’ and about ‘Business Relationship Management’. Don’t go thinking that ‘Business Relationship Management’ is what the ‘Business Relationship Manager’does, end of story. It is, but there’s more to it than that.
In fact we can view BRM from three perspectives: as a role, as a discipline, and as an organizational capability.
I guess BRM as a role doesn’t need much explanation. It refers to a set of duties, responsibilities and authorities that will be assigned to a person or team. In a small organization one person might have the BRM role for all services offered by the Provider. In a larger organization each service might have its own Business Relationship Manager.
BRM as a discipline describes the skills, capabilities and knowledge that are used to do Business Relationship Management.
And BRM as an organizational capability refers to the ability of a Provider to be effective in shaping and channeling demand to the highest value opportunities.
This course will explore Business Relationship Management from each of these perspectives.
You’ve probably familiar with the term ‘metaphor’. A metaphor can be a useful way to explaining a concept.
There are three metaphors that are helpful in understanding Business Relationship Management: BRM as navigator; BRM as connector; and BRM as orchestrator.
I’ll explore each of these in more detail over the next three screens.
The first metaphor is BRM as aconnector.
BRM acts as a connector between the Provider organization and its Business Partners. It develops productive connections between Provider resources and the Business Partner, and amongst the business Partners.
The diagram on your screen illustrates this idea.
BRM acting as a connector has three main aspects:
First, it facilitates productive connections and mobilizes projects and programs. The fundamental idea here is that the Provider should not simply respond passively to request from its Business Partners; rather it should actively seek out and implement new and improved ways of supporting them. BRM is the means of doing this.
The second aspect is that BRM should stimulate, surface, and shape business demand for the Business Partner while increasing the savviness within the Business Partner regarding the Provider’s services and products. The exercise you did a few screens back enabled you to think about the ideas in the first part of this description. Let’s now look at what is meant by “increasing the savviness within the Business Partner”. The idea here is that BRM should work to educate the Business Partner about how the Provider can support the Business Partners right now and in the future. This also includes making sure that the Business Partner understands the constraints that the Provider is working within.
The third aspect of BRM as a connector is influencing the Provider to ensure appropriate supply of services and products, both in terms of quality and capacity. I think you’ll see that this encompasses the idea not only of understanding business requirements but also of BRM acting as the representative of the business within the Provider to ensure that these requirements are understood and met.
The next metaphor is BRM asorchestrator.
My dictionary defines orchestrate as “to organize so as to achieve the best or greatest overall effect”. So BRM orchestrates, or organizes, the key roles, resources, and capabilities to help stimulate, surface, shape and harvest business value.
The diagram on your screen illustrates this idea.
BRM as orchestrator has three main aspects:
The first aspect is to orchestrate capabilities to drive value from Provider services. For example, BRM might be involved in developing and maintaining IT Service Continuity plans to ensure that they continue to reflect changing business priorities.
The second aspect is to coordinate and aggregate business demand for the Business Partner. The point here is that the Business Partner, particularly in a large enterprise, is likely to be a complex organization with many departments, sections and teams each with its own particular needs. BRM should understand and, in a sense, simplify it in order to be able to communicate specific needs to the Provider
The third aspect of BRM as orchestrator is to orchestrate key Provider roles on behalf of the Business Partner. For example, Enterprise Architecture, Subject Matter Experts, Project Managers, and Program Managers.
The final metaphor is BRM asnavigator.
BRM acts as a navigator between the Provider organization and its Business Partners – navigating the two along the path to realized business value. I can probably best explain this by describing the three main aspects of BRM as a navigator:
First, BRM facilitates convergence between Provider and Business Partners. Convergence breaks down walls and embeds Provider capabilities within the Business Partners so as to increase agility and business value. I’m sure you’re very familiar with the issue of silos within an IT organization – they get in the way of cooperation; they disguise the ‘big picture’; they inhibit synergy. Well here we’re talking about the big silo – IT itself. So BRM is acting to break down the barriers thrown up by the silo.
The second aspect is that BRM facilitates business strategic planning and road mapping for the Business Partner. Obviously (I hope!) we aren’t suggesting that the Provider determines the future strategy of its Business Partners – that really would be a case of the tail wagging the dog(Noel – does this last phrase make any sense to a North American audience? If not, don’t record it).What is true, though, is that the future strategy of the Business partner is influenced by a knowledge of the capabilities of its Provider and of the opportunities and challenges offered by new technologies. So, BRM contributes to and participates in the setting of strategy
The third aspect of BRM as a navigator is guiding key Provider roles on behalf of the Business Partner. For example, by ensuring that the strategic direction and intent of the Business Partner is understood by Provider roles. These roles include Enterprise Architecture and Portfolio and Program Management.
Over recent years Business Relationship Management has been increasingly-recognized as an important role, discipline and organizational capability. There have been (and still are) three drivers for this:
The global acceptance of Service Management standards and best practices to improve service delivery. For example, ITIL® and ISO/IEC 20000). The need to improve ‘strategic alignment’ between business and service Provider. This is due to the shift from Provider as a commodity/order taker to a business strategic partner. Additionally, global sourcing enables a Provider to shift to higher value services and to flex with demand—to no longer be ‘supply constrained’. Furthermore, there is an increasing business demand for increased innovation and agility.And
A shift from business-Provider alignment to convergence. The business-provider model is changing as IT becomes ever more widely embedded in the enterprise.
At present there is no meaningful standard associated with Business Relationship Management though the role does make an appearance in the standards and frameworks listed on your screen.
The Business Relationship Management Institute aspires to assisting the development of meaningful BRM standards over time.
I’ll now quickly go through the standards and frameworks that are relevant to BRM:
ITIL® is a widely adopted framework for the management of IT services. It includes a description of a Business Relationship Management process. ISO/IEC 20000 is a service management system standard that is based on the ITIL® framework.
COBIT 5 is a framework for governing and managing enterprise IT that was originally developed as a tool for auditors. COBIT 5 recognizes the importance of Business Relationship Management and recommends the appointment of a Business Relationship Manager. What it does not do is advise on how BRM should be done. In fairness, COBIT is mainly focused on thewhatsnot thehows.
The Skills Framework For the Information Age is a system for IT professionals to match the skills of the workforce to the requirements of the business. It is a logical two-dimensional skills framework defined by areas of work on one axis and levels of responsibility on the other. It has been proven as an effective resource that benefits business by facilitating all aspects of the management of capability in corporate and educational environments. The system does not include the Business Relationship Manager role but business relationship management expertise is included in the higher-level responsibilities of other roles.
Ok, we’re almost finished but before I wrap up this lesson here’s a quiz to check out what you’ve learned.
Okay, that completes this lesson.
In this lesson you learned about:
Three key terms – Provider, Business Partner and Business Relationship Manager
The three perspectives of Business Relationship Management – BRM as a role; BRM as a discipline; and BRM as an organizational capability
The three BRM metaphors – BRM as a Connector, BRM as an Orchestrator, and BRM as a Navigator.
The next lesson is Lesson 2 where we’ll study Business Relationship Management as an organizational capability.
Move on when you’re ready
BRM Professional Exam Details
closed book, multiple choice
Exam pass mark:
50% (25/50 questions)
extra time is available for non-native English speakers.
BRM Professional Course
30 days access + Exam
BRM Professional Course
60 days access + Exam
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President and CEO, Business Relationship Management Institute.
I compliment you on a job well done. This is, frankly…, amazing. I could have never imagined a CBT course with the BRMP done this well. You have captured the content, the visuals, the spirit, and the soft skills we were trying to accomplish with this course. Congratulations to you and your team, and thank you for bringing this to the BRMs around the globe.
BRM and a Regional Technology Manager - Jaguar Land Rover (JLR)
Several members of our team felt they would have sincerely benefited from the course at the start of our BRM transformation journey rather than halfway through the year. The course gives such a well- structured framework for how BRM should be setup.
Who's The Business Relationship Management Certification for?
The certification is aimed at anyone working or looking to work in a business relationship environment, such as buyers, sales teams and customer service advisors. However, it may also be of use to business owners, project managers and others involved in business processes.
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