In the February 2023 Strategic Alliance Monthly article, ‘Map Makers’, author John Lavietes examines the importance of stakeholder mapping.
Most alliance professionals would agree that having an in-depth understanding of the stakeholders involved in the success of your alliance is an important foundation to your ongoing relationship with your partner.
Understanding who the key players are for every stage of the alliance lifecycle is not only crucial for effective communication, but necessary for effective risk management and governance strategies.
The article also highlights the need for alignment when mapping as not all counterparts and peers will go by the same titles or sit in the equivalent departments.
Every element of an alliance relies on alignment of the participating partner organizations. Ensuring the right people are involved at the right time helps mitigate risks and facilitates timely and accurate delivery of partnership goals.
In a recent article we reviewed the areas that the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP) deems as important to creating a successful alliance. Many of these illustrate the importance of mapping stakeholders. As key factors of success, the inability to action any of this with haste would therefore be detrimental to success, highlighting the importance of knowing who to speak to about the different areas of the alliance.
Many alliance professionals are managing multi-initiative / multi-program alliances that add complexities to day-to-day operations. Ongoing stakeholder mapping supports alliance managers to keep track of team members and counterparts in an environment where roles and people change on a regular basis.
Diana Sanchez Palencia, Alliance Director at Harvard University’s Office of Technology Development and featured in Lavietes’ article, believes “It’s essential that we thoroughly understand each partner’s inner workings and capabilities, and the roles of the numerous stakeholders we interact with.”
A digital approach to managing contacts in all partner organizations can significantly reduce the administration required to maintain accurate records. It also maintains transparency between partners and allows both or all partners access and the responsibility to maintain records.
Using a digital tool to manage stakeholder communications provides a clear channel, that all involved can view (different user and access levels can be applied for sensitive or read only information), helping to eliminate overlapping between different teams and even redundant communications.
Lavietes comments that “collaboration models are becoming more sophisticated and tailored to the goals and business models of the industry partners”, highlighting the importance of simplifying and streamlining communication processes from the outset, whilst maintaining the ability to remain agile.
Transformational flexibility is a given in alliance management. Changing plans are inevitable, whether it be with the alliance goals, the governance model, the contracts or with timelines. A good alliance manager will be monitoring all these elements and action mitigation plans to keep the alliance on track should any of these changes affect the partnership. Having instant access to accurate information in a digital format will allow this to happen.
The article concludes with discussions about real life scenarios with senior alliance professionals in the pharmaceutical industry, one stating “The larger the organization, the more segmented the business end of decisions can become sometimes.”
Manually managing this constantly changing landscape would monopolize the time spent managing the alliance. A digital approach allows the admin burden to be shared and connects you with your partners, allowing you to jointly manage alliances, save time and accelerate decision-making.