Don’t Underestimate the Power of “Strategic Alliances” in Technology EcosystemsAdd bookmark
A strategic alliance is a long-term partnership that is mutually beneficial to both partners. Both firms leverage the strength of each other. For example, a small partner can benefit by alliancing with a large partner to access its strong customer base, whereas the large partner can benefit from the niche solution of the smaller partner.
Strategic alliances and partnerships have become a key lever in driving technology business expansion. It allows firms to increase their customer outreach at lower cost, improve customer experience and rapidly scale operations.
In the fast-moving world of technology, partnership announcements are becoming daily news. This is flourishing particularly in the technology ecosystem, with thousands of startup and solution providers forming new alliances.
A deeper look at alliances will make use realize that many partnerships are just sales agreements. A true strategic alliance creates impact and value beyond agreements.
We work in a sophisticated environment with ever-increasing customer expectations that cannot be fulfilled by one-dimensional cooperation.
But how do firms go about creating impactful and valuable partnerships? There are 4 golden rules in my opinion:
A general partnership is formed between two companies to expand into new geographies or business.
A strategic alliance is deeper than that. The world of technology world has become complex and diverse with an ever-growing need for more specialization. No single organization can meet speed and specialization goals at the same time. This has to be an ongoing way of working: keep exploring the alliances and partnerships that your firm lacks and wants to build further.
Align and Set Goals
The first consideration is to align and discover the value proposition that both partners can bring to the customers. This would involve understanding each other's strengths and identifying the accounts or customers where both parties agree to jointly create a value proposition. You will have to build a team who can drive these alliances. It’s a role that requires patience, collaboration and dealing with uncertainties. This is the stage where you set goals and metrics for both partners and drive them rigorously.
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Go To Market and Create Value Proposition
Conduct market intelligence and work with your alliance partner to identify a list of customers. Categorize them by priority, size, industry etc. as is suitable to your needs. At this stage, you will need to create a solid marketing plan and value proposition for your clients. You will also have to plan to participate in events and reach out to influencers. This is also the time to build POC solutions and demos. Some partners even go beyond and create an end-to-end solution approach.
Analyze and Track
A successful alliance will work if there is a plan to not just develop leads and opportunities, but to sustain it with regular progress. Both parties need to continuously share insights and discuss opportunities. Each firm will have to analyze the profit and revenue gained from partnership, and analyze it with respect to the goals that were setup at the start of the project.
Initiating an alliance and developing the “first meeting” is most crucial. It determines the success of alliance.
Both parties needs to build an environment of trust and set the right expectations. As the saying goes: the best business comes from “referral”. Treat your alliance and partnerships as multiple referrals and see how it can flourish your business.