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3 areas of alliance management key to successful partnerships

As identified in Strategic Alliance Monthly, June 2022

We’re living and working in an era of accelerated technological progress. Every day, new innovations improve our ability to work smarter, enrich our lives and maximise what we can achieve.

Disruptive technology is all around us. It challenges the status quo and through its naturally forceful nature, it drives innovation, growth and competition.

With so many technologies available to support every aspect of your business needs, it can quickly become muddy water when trying to decipher which technology provides what you need to help deliver the best outcomes for your organisation.

Word, Excel and PowerPoint have been the building blocks for decades. And today, complimentary platforms that answer specific user needs and bridge gaps between the often-multiple silos of information.

With alliance management being a relatively new business function in its own right, the technology supporting the management of partnerships is maturing, with tools available to reflect the changing need for all alliance information to be accessible by multiple teams across geographical locations, be editable based on user group access and be presented in real-time.

This month’s Strategic Alliance Monthly looks at the importance of joint alliance business planning and examines industry advice for best practice. The article also reviews evolving technology needs and how some alliance managers are resorting to manipulating existing software in novel ways to try to meet their needs.

The article identifies 3 areas of alliance management that are key to successful partnerships: research, planning and communication.

The piece first looks at barriers to successful alliances and how effective research on your partner organisation(s) can go a long way to preventing you being “Blindsided by Barriers”.

This is great advice. Without research, how can you assess whether your business objectives, expectations and partnership goals are aligned?

As part of that research, it is also important to understand the competitive landscape, ensuring that partners and partnerships align to strategic business plans. Short-term gains with an exclusive agreement may preclude the organisation as a whole, from strategic alliances with companies that would consider the exclusive partner as a competitor, or as they put it in the article “You have to be very careful on competitive issues, so as not to ruffle internal feathers”.

Planning also plays a prominent role. According to author John Lavietes, planning needs to consider, among many other things, regional business cultures and how these may affect the partnership or cause misunderstandings.

“Fail to account for coopetition, legal barriers, and cultural differences and grave mistakes ensue, because the parties are not setting expectations up front. [They are] assuming everyone has the same understanding of activities,” says Neil Blecherman, CA-AM, technology alliances and partner program director at Nutanix, featured in the article.

Nothing truer could be said than the section titled “Tough Conversations Prevent Tougher Situations”.

Communication is key and documenting the communication to ensure that everyone’s understanding, and interpretation of the planning discussions are aligned.

Plans are rarely developed in a single day and usually need buy in from multiple stakeholders, both internal and external. An alliance manager is therefore responsible for managing the documents associated with those plans, ensuring stakeholder access for real-time input and updates and ensuring these documents are correct, complete and accurate ahead of any governance requirements or future meetings.

So, what technology is available to support Alliance Managers?

Managing a hub of documents and spreadsheets with varying versions that are in constant need of updates is a full-time role in itself. Many alliance managers are turning to technology to ease the admin burden and allow focus on progressing the alliances and growing the overall alliance portfolio.

Within the article, we hear from OneStream Software who are currently using Sway to support their alliance work. “Building out tools like Sway can help organize and advance all of the prework necessary for planning meetings and grant your partner access to important company data, but it’s up to the alliance leads to share critical information internally on both sides to fulfil the alliance’s needs,” said Jennifer Kula, CA-AM, global vice president of strategic alliances at OneStream Software.

Microsoft Sway is a presentation software, but because a document can be accessed from multiple locations and organisations some alliance professionals have seen the value that this functionality can add to managing their alliances.

Whilst this is an innovative way of using presentation software to achieve the outcomes of alliance management planning, it doesn’t fulfil all the needs of the users. The article itself highlights one of the major flaws being “the software itself isn’t necessarily going to remind all stakeholders of deadlines for key upcoming investments, so the onus is on partner reps to apprise other stakeholders of top priorities on the immediate horizon.”

Other business functions have become used to relying on advanced solutions that offer bells and whistles built for the precise needs of these functions.

You’ll be pleased to know that alliance management no longer needs to settle for manipulating Microsoft Office. Just like in all other business functions, technological progress is also being made in alliance management. You no longer need to manage a plethora of spreadsheets and rely on 6 different softwares to arrange a planning meeting, document it, assign roles, manage deadlines, follow up, set reminders, track budgets, analyse risks and report on stages of the initiative. This can all be done in one platform that links to your favorite tools you currently use.

allianceboard is the alliance management platform. A purpose-built platform for alliance leaders to organize and grow their alliance ecosystems with their partners at the heart of all areas.

Drive alliance success and manage all initiatives in all stages (not just planning) on one platform:

· Single- and multi-partner collaborations

· Automated plan items and collaboration workflows

· Governance committee management

· Risk analysis

· KPIs and reporting

· Automated alliance health checks

Not only can you securely collaborate with partners in real-time, creating greater alignment, trust and agility, you can maintain granular insights across the entire alliance portfolio.

While we can all agree that research, planning and communication are the foundations to success, the imperative in great alliance management now sits with the incorporation of technology to accelerate innovation in the field, further strengthening partnerships.

Are you interested to have a no obligation chat about your current practices and how allianceboard can integrate with your existing systems and improve your alliance management function?

Book a 15-minute introductory chat with the allianceboard team today:

3 areas of alliance management key to successful partnerships July 2022
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