McKinsey's article Checking the health of your business partnerships provides a good illustrative summary of alliance management best practice: conducting periodic health checks for each alliance together with a partner, and doing so across agreed dimensions. We are happy that McKinsey points to the need for a partnership dashboard that is visible to both parties.
We offer three additional thoughts.
Annual Alliance Health Check
First, McKinsey suggests an annual alliance health check. This is where you test against the categories and criteria which ideally are set out as part of the initial agreement or joint operating plan. Yet experience tells us that partnerships evolve over time. So we suggest you conduct a periodic health check at a high level during the launch phase and then allow the details of individual criteria to evolve (together with the partnership) over time. This allows you to focus on solving problems and changing alliance goals as external conditions change, or the needs of the partners evolve.
Unilateral Alliance Health Check
Secondly, in addition to a joint health check, a second level of health review is required for each partnership: a unilateral one within each partner. This helps alliance functions look across parts the portfolio to identify gaps and additional opportunities. allianceboard’s evaluations module helps create and execute health checks that are consistent across the alliance portfolio, along with automated report generation and analysis.
Clear, Easy Reporting
Thirdly, McKinsey is right to advocate a joint dashboard. Yet doing so via PowerPoint requires a lot of time by alliance managers on both sides and risks being wrong, out of date or missing critical information. This is time that could be better spent elsewhere and a risk that needn’t be taken. allianceboard’s intuitive alliance management platform provides beautiful dashboards, providing up- to-date information for individual partnerships for each partnership and across the entire portfolio. allianceboard dashboards can also be made visible for both parties. This not only saves time but ensures the joint steering committee sees one version of the truth to make informed decisions.
Business partnerships of all shapes and sizes are here to stay. Are your alliances set up for success? Get in touch to learn more about allianceboard’s intuitive, cloud-based alliance management platform.