Alliance Management Digital Maturity Index – Q3 2021 results: about alliance (under)performance

This article highlights three results from the Q3 2021 data cut of allianceboard’s Alliance Management Digital Maturity Index™:

  • How partnering capacity and digital alliance management infrastructure affect alliance performance

  • How alliance managers really spend their time

  • Why most alliance managers new to the job are not effective from day one


Nearly two-thirds of alliances are underperforming

Only 36% of respondents say alliances deliver their intended value within expected timeframes. That means nearly two-thirds of alliances are underperforming. This in turn implies that there is substantial opportunity for organizations to raise the performance of their alliances.

Alliance management functions that are digital leaders outperform digital laggards by 47 percent

Our initial findings show there is a significant gap in alliance performance between organizations that are alliance management digital leaders and those that are alliance management digital laggards. Our initial data cut, taken at the end of Q3 2021, shows that organizations leading in both partnering capacity and alliance digital infrastructure consistently outperform laggards by a staggering 47%.



Q3 2021 data cut of allianceboard’s Alliance Management Digital Maturity Index™:
Figure 1: Q3 2021 data cut of allianceboard’s Alliance Management Digital Maturity Index™

The role of risk management

Forward-looking risk management is part of the alliance performance equation. Yet only 23% of Index respondents indicate that all stakeholders have a clear view about risks and their mitigation as they relate to each alliance.



Alliance Management Digital Maturity Index – Q3 2021 results
Figure 2: Alliance Management Digital Maturity Index – Q3 2021 results

Manual admin is a real time waster

Our Index finds that 72% of respondents spend at least a quarter of their time on manual, administrative activities – such as updating spreadsheets and creating reports – that don’t contribute to the performance of the alliance. A further 52% of respondents spend at least a quarter of their time following up stakeholders to get status updates.


Combined, this means alliance managers are spending as much as two or three days per week doing administrative ‘busy work’ that could be automated, leaving these highly skilled and experienced employees to focus their efforts on delivering results with their alliance partner.

Figure 3: Alliance Management Digital Maturity Index – Q3 2021 results


Wrong tools for the job

Less than a third of respondents have technology available that helps them do their job efficiently. That means organizations expect their alliance teams to deliver results from alliances but fail to equip them with the infrastructure they need for optimum performance.

Alliance Management Digital Maturity Index – Q3 2021 results - fig 4
Figure 4: Alliance Management Digital Maturity Index – Q3 2021 results

New alliance managers onboard slowly

Having the wrong tools for the job has many secondary, knock-on effects. For example, only 5% of respondents said alliance managers who are new to the function have all the information they need at their fingertips to hit the ground running.

This implies that alliance managers in 95% of respondent organizations are not effective from day one. While our findings don’t claim to show causality, we posit that the inability for new alliance managers to hit the ground running squanders human capital and contributes to alliance underperformance.


Key takeouts for alliance teams

Organizations that have digitized their alliance management function are reaping the rewards because their alliances outperform those of organizations that are lagging behind in digitizing their alliance management function.


In digitally mature organizations, alliance teams have information at their fingertips, allowing them to focus on delivering outcomes, rather than wasting effort on routine administrative tasks. In addition, senior executives and alliance partners are empowered with the information they need to identify risks and make strategic decisions to deliver better results. And in a corporate function where turnover is notoriously high, the right infrastructure can help new alliance managers become effective faster.


About the allianceboard Alliance Management Digital Maturity Index™

In the summer of 2021, we created the allianceboard Alliance Management Digital Maturity Index™ to analyze how partnering capacity and alliance management digital infrastructure affect four key alliance management outcomes.

Our Index helps understand how partnering capacity and digital alliance management infrastructure drive four key alliance management outcomes:

  • Strategic agility

  • Value realization

  • Risk management

  • Operational efficiency

So far, nearly 50 organizations across sectors globally have participated in the Index.


How can I participate?

The Index is continuous, and we will provide additional insights periodically. You are invited to contribute to the Index. As a thank you for your contribution, you will receive:

  • Free Index Results summary

  • Free custom report benchmarking your responses against the Index