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Three alliance analytics that matter

April saw the return of the ASAP Global Alliance Summit as an in-person conference in Tampa, Florida. Attendees enjoyed in depth insights, learnings, research from a wide-ranging group of presenters and allianceboard was once again proud to sponsor, attend and present at this much valued event.

allianceboard Chief Commercial Officer Michael Roch presented a session on Driving outcomes: Operationalizing Alliance Management analytics that really matter.

When asked about whether senior executives within their organization clearly understand the value that each alliance provides to their organisation, two-thirds of the audience either didn’t think so or didn’t know. While that’s astounding, our in-the-room answers aligned perfectly to the results of the allianceboard 2021 Alliance Management Digital Maturity Index™. This raises two concerns: firstly, that the C-Suite don’t have a clear understanding of what partnerships are adding to the organization, especially where the organization is driving a partnership-centric business model. Secondly, the C-suite will struggle to understand what value alliance management adds to the mix – a more existential problem for any alliance management function.

Michael Roch then provided a simple way to look at alliance management analytics. Briefly put, alliance management leads in educating its stakeholders on a unique set of outcome, activity and alignment measures. Outcome measures differ from alliance to alliance and are very specific to a deal, while activity and alignment measures operate across the purpose of all alliances within the organization’s alliance portfolio. Alliance managers need to become thought leaders especially in activity and alignment measures.

Examples of activity and alignment measures include:

  • Decision Making - # Issues resolved, µ Time to resolve issue, % Escalations to Joint Steering Committee / Executive Board avoided

  • Risk Management - # Risks impact / probability, % Risk mitigation plans within policy, $ Costs saved through risks averted

  • Execution - % Goals achieved within plan, budget, time, t Launch to operation, % Learnings implemented

  • Relationship - # Pulse checks completed within policy, # Alliance health over time, % Coverage depth (partner business units, products)

  • Opportunity - # Future opportunities identified, % Opportunities pursued to due diligence

Once established, analytics need to be made meaningful to at least four different audiences: - Senior Management, Alliance Management Leadership, Governance Committee Members and Alliance Managers. In turn, each audience has information that spans across at least four levels of analysis: - Alliance Portfolio, Alliance Management Function, Partner (All Alliances) and Individual Alliance. Alliance leaders need to figure out the right mix that is appropriate for each of their four audiences.

Examples of Alliance Management analytics

Here we see 3 fictitious organisations and the data associated with the speed of decision making over time. On average the number of days to conclude a decision has reduced, but when the data is split by organisation, we can see that year on year, Omega are taking longer to conclude decisions, while Epsilon are getting quicker. Alliance Managers can use this data to work with their partners to identify causes for the delay and try to implement solutions to speed up decisions. They can also review organisations that are improving, such as Epsilon, to identify strategies that could be replicated for greater success across the portfolio.

In part 1 of example 4 we can quickly identify how many of our alliances risks that are both probable and likely to impact on the initiative should they occur. We can also quickly identify which risks have a plan in place and which do not, to try to resolve and manage these risks.

In part 2 of example 4, you can easily show the number of risks that did not materialize as a direct result of mitigation deployed by the alliance management team. This is often a statistic that senior management teams do not get to review.

An alliance health check is an important way to monitor your alliance(s) and measure how they evolve over time. In example 5 you can see that the evolution of the Alpha – beta strategic alliance split by alliance function. Using this data, it would be possible to identify problems and allow actions by yourself or your partner, to improve outcomes.

The case for digitization

The presentation then turned to the fundamental imperative to digitize the alliance management function. The digital transformation of the alliance management function leads to better alliance management, meaning alliances are more successful in delivering their intended outcomes.

The digitization of alliance management into a purpose-built platform, helps organizations deliver on their alliance-based business model with considerable benefits compared to working from traditional methods such as siloed spreadsheets. Benefits include the ability to review the entire portfolio at the click of a mouse, allowing the data to be drilled down into segments that provide meaningful data to all audiences, all stakeholders and all alliances, without the hours of manual data manipulation.

The discussion at the conference turned to the administrative tasks that absorb the time and efforts with least return, tasks that could easily be managed on a platform such as allianceboard; What percentage of time do you spend on manually updating spreadsheets, reports, dashboards and presentations for your internal and external stakeholders and then following up? What could you achieve with that additional time and resource?

Other benefits for a digital approach to alliance management include facilitating good governance, helping you to mitigate risk through real-time monitoring of joint steering committee materials, strategic milestones, progress tracking and maintaining issues for escalation & decision. It can also facilitate smoother employee transitions, allowing new managers to have a full view of real-time data, upcoming tasks, initiatives and untapped value from that partnership.

Key Takeaways

1. Alliance Management must lead on developing a mix of outcome, activity and alignment measures in line with the organization’s strategic partnering objectives.

2. Alliance Management’s four principal stakeholder groups require analytics at portfolio, function, partner and alliance levels of analysis.

3. The more diversified the Alliance Management function’s remit is, the higher the imperative for good alliance analytics to support stakeholder engagement and partner dialogue.

Getting Started

1. Tie strategic alliance outcome measures to how your executives talk about your organization’s strategic and operational goals.

2. You are your organization’s thought leader on alliance management. Tie strategic alliance activity and alignment measures to your organization’s partnering objectives.

3. Incorporate measures into stakeholder and partner meetings incrementally. Refine your dashboard over time.

Contact us today to receive a copy of Michael's presentation or to speak with one of our senior alliance management experts about digitizing your alliance management.

ASAP Global Summit presentation summary April 2022
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