A wise alliance executive once said, “If you’ve seen one alliance, you’ve seen one alliance.”

We take that a bit further. “If you’ve seen one alliance capability, you’ve seen one alliance capability.”

Developing an Alliance and Collaboration Management Capability

Every company’s ability to manage its alliances must be directly related to the complexity of its alliance portfolio and aligned with the company’s overall structure and culture. It must also have the agility to change as the portfolio does. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to your alliance practice.

Designing and developing the capability begins with an excavation project to identify all the alliance relationships a company has and their management needs. It is also informed by the company’s partnering strategy—how the portfolio is expected to grow or shrink within the current corporate strategy and possibly in relationship to current product strategy. In many instances, the type of relationship that is considered an alliance and thus should be alliance-managed must also be decided.

With the scope clarified, there are three critical questions to answer:

  • Who should be an alliance manager?
  • How are they organized and where do they report?
  • What are their roles and responsibilities?

Answering these questions produces an Alliance Management Capability Plan that also addresses:

  • The competencies required of an alliance manager
  • Roles and responsibilities for other key constituents (alliance team members, executive sponsors, governance committee members)
  • The criteria and process for considering whether a relationship should be managed as an alliance and a manager assigned to it
  • Interfaces with relevant corporate bodies and processes (e.g., global brand teams, pipeline review strategic planning processes, financial budgeting and reporting processes, etc.)
  • The knowledge base needed for those with an alliance management role to draw from

Through a process of discovery that may include a combination of wide-ranging interviews, workshops with key stakeholders, and development of the value/complexity profiles of existing alliances, we work with you to develop your Alliance Management Capability Plan and gain acceptance for it.