During the BRM Connect conference in New Orleans, we met with Lee Reiff, a Business Relationship Manager and former student of IT Chapter. We had a discussion about the challenges of being a BRM in an organization such as Larimer County, in Colorado. Lee has been implementing the strategic partnering practice for a few years and he agreed to share his journey with us. If you are interested, you can view the interview and other inspiring stories on IT Chapter Youtube channel or down below.
A lot of progress was made since it all started. According to Lee, the main achievement is the formation of an actual BRM team. In 2016, when he was brand to the BRM role and recently certified, he started building the BRM capability from bottom up in the organization. Today, they’re a team of three BRMs, all certified. They use the BRMP fundamentals, the tools and the techniques every day with their Business Partners.
So, which tools helped him succeed? The first one he mentioned was the Relationship Strategy on a Page (RSOP) as it allows to set expectations about how the BRMs will work with their Business Partners. Through workshops, they were able to have discussions and lay out a road map of activities and initiatives to collectively achieve the targeted results. Secondly, the Communications Plans coming out of the RSOP Sessions with the Business Partners are their most utilized BRM tool. Communication is probably the most important skill for a BRM because it’s required to act as a navigator, connector and orchestrator. Moreover, communication skills are essential to breaking through the barriers and optimize value creation. Lee and his team also started using the Relationship Maturity Assessment that the BRMI offers. It’s helpful in implementing strategic partnering and it’s well received by leaders in the organization. They are easy to relate to, to understand and they enable action plans to focus on.
Regardless of the tools and techniques you use, great accomplishments come in hand with great challenges! For Lee, one of the biggest challenges right now is not having a bigger team. They are spread a little thin for the 26 different departments which they have broken down into five Service Categories. To work effectively, they align BRM assignments to the categories and it gives them a view of all of the work going on. They’re also facing another challenge, because some of the work comes in from the old network that existed for years. Leaders and Users reach out to IT teams directly to get things done. Without a doubt, they’re providing value to the organization, but there has to be transparency around those items for the BRM team. This way they can engage in meaningful conversations to prevent value leakage coming from a misaligned Value System between Provider and Business Partner. Basically, the challenge is to achieve more clarity of the BRM role within the provider strategy and operating model.
All things considered, implementing the Business Relationship Management is not an easy task. However, you will find support and guidance in the material and knowledge provided by the BRM Institute. It might take time and lots of efforts, but professionals like Lee Reiff are constantly working to facilitate value co-creation. The challenge can be rewarding, are you willing to take it? Check out our BRM offer to know how we can help you succeed!