Alignment for the Future: Revisiting Your Alliance Strategy

Jonathan Hughes and Jeff Weiss

Far too frequently, alliance partners are selected and partnerships managed in a way that is insufficiently informed by the business context in which the partnerships will operate. When alliance strategy is not driven by business strategy, partnerships fall short because little potential value is inherent in them to begin with, competitive dynamics are not appropriately managed, and/or insufficient resources are allocated to manage the individual alliance or overall alliance portfolio. 

Successful alliances are informed by the business strategies of the partners, and adapted as those strategies change. In our experience, companies that achieve the greatest success from alliances pay attention to three levels of alliance capability, each informed by their business strategy:
  1. Alliance portfolio level
  2. Individual alliance level
  3. Alliance capabilities and infrastructure level
What follows are key questions and best practices at each of those three levels that, based on our research and over 20 years of experience working with companies to achieve greater success from their alliances, have proven most effective in creating a foundation for alliance success.