Alliance Management Consulting and Training, Partnering Frameworks and Tools, Collaborative Leadership

Digitizing Alliance Management for Agility and Efficiency
1. Partnering Guide / July 15th, 2020     A+ | a-
This is the second in a series of posts from allianceboard, a next generation alliance management platform and The Rhythm of Business on why the time has come to digitize your practice to drive value for stakeholders, your partners, and you. Louis Rinfret, PhD, founder and CEO of allianceboard contributed this post. Access the first post in this series Digitize Your Alliance Management Practice to Provide Visibility, Promote Agility, and Create Value

How do you ensure your alliance team is agile and efficient while managing a growing portfolio?  As companies race to innovate and grow, heads of alliance management functions must plan how to support the increasing demands on their teams.

Working harder with current systems and processes is not sustainable in most situations.  Leaders must then think strategically and envision how they will structure their alliance management function for sustainable, agile, and efficient growth while responding to current demands in the short term.

In this post we explore a new kind of solution that organizations of all sizes have begun adopting - a digital alliance management platform. We explain how it can help organizations reduce costs, save time, and enable alliance management teams to manage growing portfolios in an agile and efficient way.
What is a digital alliance management platform?

A digital alliance management platform is a software solution built specifically to track and manage strategic alliances. It differs from other software tools such as CRMs, specialized project management software, task tracking systems or ERPs in that it focuses on the needs of alliance management teams and their stakeholders. It is better adapted, easy to use and efficient in meeting the needs of these users and their stakeholders.

allianceboard is such a platform and it was designed to enable alliance professionals to manage their alliance portfolios more efficiently and with higher success rates. It offers functionality such as:
  • A central repository for all your contacts, documents, and calendar items
  • An automated dashboard and one-click reporting functionality for self-serve and stakeholder updates
  • Automation of plan item set-up, tracking and stakeholder notifications
  • Granular sharing capabilities for seamless collaboration
  • Governance committee management tools
  • Partner evaluation, opportunity, and risk management tools
  • And more…
How does a digital alliance management platform enable agility and efficiency?

Whether we think of it this way or not, when we manage strategic alliances, we keep information about these alliances somewhere: in our emails, contacts, documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. 

These tools are convenient as we all use them daily. But on their own they have limitations in terms of information aggregation, analysis, control, sharing and automation. They also present scalability issues as well as operational and business model risks. 

Using a digital alliance management platform can help alleviate several important issues and unlock your alliance management team’s agility and efficiency. Here are three ways in which organizations have improved agility and efficiency using a digital alliance management platform:
  1. Reducing time spent on administrative tasks that can be automated 

Alliance management teams spend an inordinate amount of time working on internal tasks that are important yet could be supported by automation and done more efficiently. An alliance management platform can free-up alliance management time with automations in:
  •  Launching new alliances and projects
  • Tracking goals, deliverables, risks, decisions, and payments
  • Managing governance committee meeting preparation and follow-ups
  • Finding and updating partner and project information
  • Producing dashboards, reports and engaging with stakeholders
The time saved here in finding and preparing information means faster actions and decisions which translate into agility. The time saved can be re-invested in higher-impact activities such as managing risks, developing opportunities, building relationships, negotiations, governance leadership, ecosystem strategy and engagement and ensuring alliances are achieving their strategic intents.
  1. Implementing efficient dashboarding and reporting capabilities
Most alliance managers spend upwards of two thirds of their time managing internal stakeholders. Much of this time is spent sharing information and aligning on various issues.Alliance managers will typically prepare updates in spreadsheets, presentations, and other documents, but this is time-consuming and must be adapted to each set of stakeholders.
The lack of readily available dashboarding and reporting tools results in poor transparency and visibility, low alignment, slower decisions and actions and often more limited engagement of key stakeholders – slowing down your organization and robbing it from its agility. 
Using a digital alliance management platform, alliance managers can save time and get stakeholders to focus on key issues quickly, drive-out delays involved in consensus decision-making and therefore improve agility and execution speed. With allianceboard, reports such as the one below can be quickly created with the latest information and automatically distributed to stakeholders.
  1. Supporting the development of your organization’s alliance management capability
Nowadays, most organizations’ success is highly dependent on the success of its alliance portfolio. This underscores the need for a strong alliance management capability, particularly as organizations become more and more interdependent and grow their ecosystems of partners.
As a relatively new field of practice alliance management has been underserved when it comes to tools, processes, practices, and systems relative to other, more established disciplines such as finance, marketing, HR and so on. As a result, many alliance teams have relied on ad hoc processes and tools resulting in some good successes, but overall a sub-optimal impact of the alliance management function and alliance portfolio. 
Now alliance management functions can leverage best practices, processes, advice, support, and tools to structure their work in an efficient and scalable way. For example, allianceboard integrates resources from the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP) such as partner evaluation templates and advice from the ASAP Handbook of alliance management directly into its digital alliance management platform to help clients get started. allianceboard also collaborates with The Rhythm of Business to help clients structure customized alliance management processes which can be easily embedded and codified into allianceboard and leveraged across partners and projects.
Over time the practices and processes embedded into the platform dynamically evolve as stakeholders leverage them and contribute feedback for improvement, which ultimately benefits your whole partner portfolio and organization.
These are only a few examples of how a digital alliance management platform can help your alliance management function be agile and efficient. Whether you have a well-established, mature alliance organization or are working on structuring a more nascent team, a digital alliance management platform such as allianceboard is a wise investment and we would be pleased to have a discussion focused on your specific situation and needs.
Interested in learning more?
Download the allianceboard solution overview or contact The Rhythm of Business or allianceboard for a free personalized consultation.
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