An Introduction to Alliance Best Practice

A description of the Alliance Best Practice Group.  What we do - How we do it - Why we bother!

The Collaboration Advantage - Customer Focused Partnerships in a Global Economy

In the global economy, the nature of business relationships is changing rapidly. Executives at companies of all sizes are beginning to realise the need to collaborate and partner more frequentlywith suppliers, customers and alliance groups—and even competitors—to launch new products, innovatemore quickly, lower costs and improve overall customer service. The goal is to develop a network ofsuppliers and corporate partners that is mutually rewarding and transcends traditional business agreements, which were based largely on price negotiation.

External Communication Template

VST Skills -  Communicating your alliance intentions to: your chosen partners, your competitors, non partners, consumers and market analysts is crucial to success. Research suggests that organisations that have a well thought through external communication strategy see their share price rise accordingly. Search Terms: O43, O43 Communication, External Communication Programme, Communication Template.  

Alliance Best Practice Framework - Read This First!

READ THIS FIRST! This document identifies the 52 Common Succcess Factors that lie at the heart of the ABP Framework.  More importantly it identifies how you can use the CSFs to optimise your alliances. Search Terms: CSFs, CSF, Common Success Factors, Critical Success Factors, Help, Framework, Start, Start Here, Read This First, Optimisation.

Template External Communication Plan

A template document designed to articulate an organisation's alliance strategy, programmes and intent to its external stakeholders. Search Terms: O43, Communication

MOUP Scoping Template

A document explaining how to scope the MOUP process and how to identify appropriate key stakeholders. Search Terms: O43, MOUP, Memorandum of Understanding and Principles

Alliance Best Practice Joint Business Plan

A template document explaining how to develop and execute a joint business plan with partners. Search Terms: O42 Joint Business Plan, joint business plan

MOUP Project Plan

A template document explaining the steps necessary to conduct an MOUP process. Search Terms: O45, MOUP, Memorandum of Understanding and Principles, Project Plan

MOUP Questionaire

An Excel template showing the most appropriate questions to ask regarding governance and direction in a strtegic alliance. Search Terms: O45, MOUP, Memorandum of Understanding and Principles, Questionaire, Tools, tools, tool, Tool

High Tech MOUP Example

An example document showing a possible layout for a high tech MOUP document. Search Terms: O45, MOUP, Example, Template, Memorandum of Understanding and Principles, Layout

Initiating a Strategic Alliance using an MOUP Workshop

A document showing how to initiate a strtegic alliance relationship using an MOUP document Search Terms: O45, MOUP, Starting, Initiating, Kick Off, Launch, Memorandum of Understanding and Principles, Tools, tools, tool, Tool

Reviewing a Strategic Alliance using an MOUP Workshop

A document explaining how to conduct an alliance review using an MOUP Workshop approach. Search Terms: O45, O44, Healthcheck, Helth check, review, Memorandum of Understanding and Principles, Tools, tools, toolÂ

MOUP Briefing Pack

A combination of documents comprising a comprehensive briefing pack on the: concept, process and production of an MOUP (Memorandum of Understanding and Principles). Search Terms: O45, MOUP, memorandum of Understanding and Principles, Tools, tools, Tool, tool

Scoring the ABP Common Success Factors

An excel template explaining how to capture and measure the identified Alliance Best Practice Common Success Factors. Search Items: CO5, O47, CSF, csf, Common Success Factors, Diagnostic, questionaire, scoring, metrics

Alliance Capability Assessment Diagnostic Template

VST Vision - A document describing how to assess an organisations alliance capability. Search Terms: Capability Assessment, capability, assessment, diagnostic, Tools, tools, Tool, toolÂ

ABP Template Relationship Optimisation Report for two Partners

A template Powerpoint slide deck showing an example layout for outputing the analysis from a relationship optimisation programme. Search Terms, Process, Relationship Optimisation Process, Tools, Tool, tools, tool,

Executive Sponsor Job Description

A template suggesting the key elements in a senior executive job description for strtegic alliances. Search Terms: S25, Senior Executive Support, Job Description

Project Plan for Relationship Optimisation Programme

A template Excel spreadshett suggesting the actions and timings necessary to conduct a relationship optimisation programme. Search Terms: O44, Healthcheck, helth check, Co4, alliance audit, tools, tool, Tools, Tool

Alliance Negotiation Training

A slide deck explaining the ABP approach to alliance negotiation training. Search Terms: Cu33, Collaboration Skills, Training, training, tools, tool, Tools, Tool

Summary of ABP Training Courses

A full list of all ABP 52 Critical Success Factor Training Courses Search Terms: Cu33, Collaboration Skills, Training, training, tools, tool, Tools, Tool

ABP One Day Training Course

An explanation of the ABP one day training course to introduce attendees to the ABP Framework. Search Terms: Cu33, Training, training, one day, intermediate, Tools, tools, Tool, tool

The Power of Virtual Collaboration

Search Terms: Collaboration, Virtual

Building Relationship in Your Supply Chain

Despite years of processbreakthroughs and elegant technology solutions, an agile,adaptive supply chain remains an elusive goal. Maybe it’s the people who are getting in the way. Search Terms: Harvard, Supply Chain, William Copacino, Chris Gopal, Hau L. Lee, Robert Porter Lynch, and Sandra Morris

Building Trust and value in Strategic Alliances

A paper explaining how to build trust in strategic alliance relationships by Joe Kittel Search Terms: CU31 Business to business Trust, trust, value

Little Red Book on Building Alliances

A Primer for Building Alliances between Independent Software Vendors and Information Technology (IT) Giants like IBM, HP, SAP, Oracle and Microsoft. Author Unknown. Search Terms: IBM, ISV, Building Alliances, Independant Software vendors.

Managing Alliances in a Recession

A White Paper by Stuart Kliman and Laura Visioni of Vantage Partners Business leaders face 2009 knowing that the currentglobal recession is likely to get worse before it gets better. Companies are cutting back, scrutinizing every expense,and looking to only take the wisest risks. Even withlending rates cut to their lowest levels in recent history,experts predict that "the once-humming U.S. economycould stagger backward at a shocking six percent rate forthe current three-month quarter." In this environment of scarce resources, alliances canand will play an essential role by enabling companiesto achieve their goals without making expensive acquisitions or internal investments. Nevertheless, allianceprofessionals should expect the scrutiny of the executivesuite and prepare to take action based on asking and answering three categories of questions aimed at helpingtheir companies cut costs, enhance performance, and findcreative ways to thrive in a contracting and increasingly competitive global economy: Search Terms: Recession,

Third State of Alliance Management Study May 2009

This report presents the results of the Third State of Alliance Management Study, carried out on behalf of theAssociation of Strategic Alliance Professionals. In January and February 2009 over 400 companies respondedto our survey on alliance management. Our previous studies, carried out in 2002 and 2007, have provided a wealth of new insights into the development of alliance management as a profession. Between the first twostudies, alliance management developed rapidly. The red line of this third study is that alliance management has come of age. Authors: Geert Duysters and Ard-Pieter de Man Search Terms: ASAP, Duysters, de man, alliance research

The Partnership Charter

How to Start Out Right With Your New Business Partnership (or Fix the One You’re In) by David Gage Copyright © 2004 by David Gage Published by Basic Books, a subsidiary of Perseus Books LLC 260 pages This document is a short summary of a recent Alliance Book. Al rights reserved by Search Items; Book Reviews, book reviews, review, get abstract, alliance books

The right way to think about alliances

Strategic Alliances :Three Ways to Make Them Work by Steve Steinhilber of Cisco.  MEMO TO THE CEO - Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts.

This memo is about how enduring and mutually beneficial global business relationships help youcreate the leverage you need to compete. It’s ultimately about the right way to partner. Building alliances right requires several ingredients: partnerships play an integral part of yourcompany’s strategy, you have a repeatable and sustainable process, and you’re building both the necessary competencies and reputation for success.

Search Terms: Cisco, Steve, Steinhilber, book reviews, books, alliance books

Linked In Guide

A starter guide to LinkedIn.  Suitable for beginners and novice users.

Sponsorships as Strategic Alliances

A great article on why sponsorships should be regarded as ongoing strategic alliance relationships.

Abstract : In recent years, academics and practitioners have recognized that sponsorship relationships operate as strategic alliances. Additionally, they have emphasized the lack of analytical approaches which allow an understanding of the developmental process of such alliances. In an attempt to fill this gap, we examine how key sponsorship characteristics change over different stages of the life cycle (formation, operation, and outcome) to determine the success or failure of the relationship. Specifically, we propose a life cycle model that articulates general paths in sponsorship relationship developmental stages and the behavior pattern of sponsorship characteristics. Throughout this framework, we illustrate our reasoning with examples drawn from the UBS/Team Alinghi sponsorship relationship.

 Lourdes Urriolagoitia and, Marcel Planellas - ESADE Business School, Ramon Llull University, Av. Pedralbes 60–62, 08034, Barcelona, Spain  

Capitalising on Complexity the 2010 IBM CEO Study

Innovation through Collaboration

The Collaborate to Innovate study, conducted by the Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, takes a new look at the state of business collaboration in the early 21st Century. Our findings make it abundantly clear that cross-company collaboration is more vital, complex and global than ever before. Many executives now see improved connections across business partners and customers as critical to their competitive position. It is not simply a matter of driving cost efficiency through the use of low-cost suppliers or extending the reach of their sales capabilities through domestic and overseas distributors and resellers. Integration and collaboration across extended networks of partners is impacting core customer value and experience, and the capacity to innovate across processes, products, services.The study also demonstrates, however, that most companies are struggling to optimize their collaborations with partners and almost universally believe there is a significant deficiency in the way they integrate information exchange and processes across their partners’ networks.

Sponsored by Sterling Commerce and AT&T, Collaborate to Innovate is based on an in-depth survey of more than 400 executives and managers whose companies do business around the world. Some 36 percent of respondents represent companies with revenues of more than $1billion. In addition to our quantitative survey, we conducted 23 qualitative discussions with leading academic experts and executives with major global corporations who are deeply involved in supply-side and demand-side value chain partnership management and development.

Activating Agility

In distressed economic times, enterprises are looking to collaborate, connect and innovate in environments that, while global in reach, may be constrained in resources, infrastructure or budget. This challenge is intensified as small, nimble and agile organizations are looking to proactively speed go-to-market engagements and prepare for rapid deployment in order to take advantage of market opportunities. A key challenge for the “mid-market” is enabling their teams to seize opportunities in this new digitally enabled era, while presenting unified messaging across the entire customer experience. This is when the agile marketer looking to jump out of the box and move at the speed of digital business. Today’s nimble marketer must develop customer-driven business process through greater understanding of customer engagement, customer experience, customer acquisition, customer retention, loyalty, advocacy, customer insight, and customer messaging and creative content. Technologies and tools that help marketers optimize process and eliminate inefficiencies help boost the “bottom line” of customer value and acquisition and retention costs. This paper shines a spotlight on how global enterprises are ‘Activating Agility’ by looking beyond home-grown or single point solutions and instead, enabling collaboration, unification and activation of customer engagements.

Alliance Culture - Its in the DNA!

Why are some companies more successful with alliances than others?
Because some companies have built up an alliance capability. They have invested tools, skills and processes that support alliance management.  But they also have something else. They have a culture that is supportive of collaboration.
One of the biggest long term challenges for alliance professionals is fostering collaborative capability throughout their organizations. Despite much attention to the matter of collaborative culture, there is very little research defining the specific elements of a culture that is supportive of partnering effectively. The researchers and authors of this study set out to define the attributes of an Alliance Culture and a model to measure it.  This research fills an important gap in understanding how culture contributes to alliance success and provides insight to alliance managers on how to foster better collaboration.
  • Ard-Pieter de Man, Professor of Management Studies at the VU University Amsterdam and Principal Consultant at Atos Consultant
  • Dave Luvison, Professor at the Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University

An Examination of the Build Buy Ally Growth Model

Strategic alliances are now being seen by many organisations as a cost-effective way to grow business quickly with little need for additional resources. Mike Nevin reports on new research which suggests that identifying and implementing best practice programmes might help overcome this major challenge.

The Alliance Sales Methodology

The Alliance Sales Methodology (ASM) from Alliance Best Practice is an open, non proprietary, comprehensive, simple yet robust description of a best practice process for generating more alliance sales. The ASM contains full descriptions of each stage of the alliance sales process including: 1. Develop the relationship vision and strategies for execution. 2. Develop the skills necessary for both sides to actively sell the others products and services. and 3. Grow the Trust in the relationship as a precursor to relationship growth. The ASM contains full details of all deliverables and tools employed in the process. The Methodology is available in full to PREMIUM MEMBERS. Search Words: ASM, Alliance Sales Methodology, Methodology,

The New Deals

The New Deals Why Companies Are Deepening their Alliances with Customers, Suppliers, and Bankers in a Post-Recession Economy A report by CFO Research Services prepared in collaboration with Ariba

Procurement Driven Growth

In response to today’s fresh set of challenges, procurement executives are looking for new ways in which procurement can help build shareholder value. Accenture’s research and experience suggests that many procurement organizations are already finding new ways to add value and contribute to growth. Accenture believes that integrating four key areas of focus into a single program will take procurement to the next level, unleashing a new wave of procurement-driven growth.

MOUP Template for Go To Market (GTM) Alliances

This document has been produced as a guide to help newly appointed alliance executives to develop a meaningful vision (goals, objectives, template, blueprint, etc.) for the alliance relationship/s for which they are responsible. The document will also help alliance executives to think through many of the questions that need to be answered to be able to develop successful strategies to execute the chosen vision.

Influencing the Key to Successful Business relationships

In business, a high proportion of your working day is spent relating to other people – as a leader you need to focus as much on communicating, creating and developing effective working relationships, as you do on the functional aspects of your job. Fiona Dent and Mike Brent describe a range of tools and techniques to make you more effective in this crucial skill of influencing. First appeared in the Spring Edition of the Ashridge Journal Reproduced here with permission from Ashridge Business School

Alliance Scorecard Example

This is an example of an alliance scorecard developed for both HP and IBM in Europe in 2011. There are many other examples of scorecards in the ABP database. If you'd like a full list simply contact us at

Common Success Factors in Strategic Alliances

This white paper is based on research conducted by Alliance Best Practice (ABP) originally started in 2002 which is ongoing to this day. So far over 600 organisations have contributed to the research which is ongoing. (For a complete list of contributing organisations and research reviewers see Appendices). The ABP database of findings from the research currently contains over 200,000 entries from organisations in multiple sectors. In each case at least three key stakeholders were interviewed in detail, these stakeholders were;Strategic, Managerial, and Operational. The result is a definitive examination of the common success factors in strategic alliances. Evidence from the ABP database shows that by paying attention to and enhancing the these success factors organisations can significantly improve their alliance relationship success. In addition the identification of common success factors is crucial in building effective alliance scorecards.

Example Alliance Scorecard

Alliance Management Salary Review and Benchmark 2012

This report is the result of an extensive review of alliance management remuneration packages conducted by Alliance Best Practice in January and February 2012. 38 Individuals completed the following 23 survey questions: 1. What is your Job Title? 2. Do you have any direct reports? 3. If 'yes' how many? 4. Do you personally carry an alliance sales quota or target? 5. If 'yes' what is the target figure? 6. What is your basic salary? 7. How is your reward package constructed? 8. What is your bonus measured as a % of basic salary? 9. Are you part of a formal pension scheme? 10. Do you receive a car allowance? (Please indicate the nature of the scheme) 11. Do you receive any insurance cover as part of your job? (e.g. Private medical health cover, Life Insurance, Key Man insurance, etc.). 12. Do you receive any other benefits? (If so could you please specify type and amount). 13. Does your organisation use an external consultancy to benchmark alliance salaries? 14. If 'yes' which company does it use? 15. What country are you resident in? 16. What country is your Head Office Resident in? 17. What Sector do you work in? (e.g. High Tech Software, Hardware, Services, Telecommunications, Other)? 18. What is the size of your company measured in staff numbers? 19. What is the size of your company measured in gross turnover per annum? 20. At what level of seniority do you operate in your company? (e.g. Level x of y Levels) 21. Do you have a formal job description? 22. If 'yes' was it internally or externally generated? (e.g. Internal or external consultants). 23. Is your role centrally based (i.e. corporate) or country based?

O43 Developing and Executing Communication Programmes

VST Skills - A PowePoint slide deck explaining how to develop and execute alliance communication programmes.  Both internal and external.

O42 Developing a Joint Business Plan

A PowerPoint Slide deck explaining how to develop and implement a Joint Business Plan.

O39 Developing and Executing an Alliance Best Practice Process

A Powerpoint Slide deck showing how to develop and execute an alliance sales process.

Cu 38 Developing business to business cultural alignment

A PowerPoint Slide Deck explaining how to develop Business to Business Cultural alignment.

C09 Negotiation Training by Lifecycle Stage

A PowerPoint slide deck showing the outline of a Collaborative Negotiation Training Course by Lifecycle Stage.

S30 Developing a Common Vision

How to develop a common Vision for an Alliance Relationship.

Cu 33 Developing Personal Collaboration Skills

How to develop personal collaboration skills in alliance relationships.

Cu 33 Developing Collaboration Skills (Advanced)

An advanced version of the developing personal collaboration skills training course.

Cu 31 Developing Business to Business Trust

How to develop business to business trust.

Cu 36 Developing Decision Making Processes

Developing joint decision making processes and governance models in alliance relationships.

An example VST Rollout Programme Version 1.0

An example of how one High tech company is rolling out VST.

IBM CEO Study 2012

Every two years IBM conducts an extensive study of CEO views worldwide. This year 1700 CEOs were interviewed. See their responses and the IBM analysis here. The key conclusion? We live in a connected world: economic, political, business, technology, etc. Consequently the ability to collaborate is crucial and a key competitive differentiator.

VST Briefing Pack for Senior Executives Version 2.0

A briefing pack to allow VST users to explain VST advantages to senior management.

The Alliance Best Practice Benchmarking Questions

A full list of the ABP benchmarking questions.

Scoring the Alliance Best Practice Common Success Factors (CSFs)

A tool to help alliance executives conduct alliance benchmark examinations.  The tool contains full details of use and an extensive Help Glossary to expain terms used.

VST Methodology Version 9.0

An updated version of the Alliance Best Practice VST Methodology.

VST Alliance Sales Methodology

An explanation of the VST Alliance Sales methodology from Alliance Best Practice.

VST Bridge to Value FAQ

A PowerPoint slide deck for VST users to use when explaining the benefits of the VST Methodology and the most Frequently asked Questions.

VST Briefing Note for Partners

A template document based on IBM inviting Partner representatives to a call to discuss a VST Exercise.

VST Briefing Pack for Senior Executives Version 3.0

A powerPoint slidedeck designed to be used by VST practitioners to present the key benefits of a VST approach to key stakeholders in their own and in their partner organisations.

VST Case Study Short

A powerPoint slide deck discussing a VST case study.

VST Dashboard

A snapshot of a VST Dashboard in action showing: Stages, Next Actios, Baseline Revenue, New Revenue, etc.

VST Methodology 2 Slide Pack

A PDF overview of the VST Methodology on two slides.

VST Methodology 2 Slide Pack

A PowerPoint editable 2 slide overview of the VST Methodology.

VST One Day Course Outline for Alliance Executives

A description of a VST Training Course.

VST Training Course for Channel Executives

A PowerPoint slide deck explaining the VST Training Course for Channel executives.  Includes: content, timings, agenda, outcomes, objectves, etc.

VST v CHAMP Feature Comparison

A comparison of the features of the VST Methodology as compared with the CHAMP Methodology.

VST Value Proposition

A single slide PDF explanation of the VST Value Proposition.

MOUP Pre Workshop Briefing Document

The production of an MOUp is a key output from Stage 1 of the VST Alliance Sales System.

Initiating a Strategic Alliance Using an MOUP

A PDF briefing document that shows how an MOUP workshop can be used to initiate a strategic alliance.

What is Alliance Benchmarking

A single sheet explanation of the power and value of Alliance Benchmarking.

Alliance Benchmarking Factsheet

A single page PDF explaining the value and process of Alliance Benchmarking.

Scoring the ABP Common Success Factors CSFs

An excel file giving full information on how to score the Alliance Best Practice Common Success Factors

Relationship Optimisation

A Powerpoint slide deck explaining the theory and practice of Alliance Best Practice relationship optimisation.

Examples of value baselining in strategic alliance relationships

This 2 slide document is a series of quotes from Alliance professionals from various organisations, explaining the way in which they determined the baseline value of their partnerships.

Enterprise Level Partnering

White paper produced by The TAS Group highlighting the challenges faced by Enterprise level partnering, the benefits of good partner alignment and a look at how to execute partnering strategies effectively.

Example VST Report Progress Summary

Partially filled template of a report highlighting which stage of the VST process each partner is at and what the required next actions are. Also contains a detailed breakdown of each task in the VST process.

VST Programme Overview

One page snap shot of the 5 stages in the VST programme

VST Example Proposal

This slide deck describes the rationale and the supporting justification for implementing the VST programme

The VST Value Proposition

This one page document clearly and concisely illustrates the key benefits of the VST programme

Example Alliance Benchmark Report - High Tech

A slide deck showing an example (full) Alliance Best Practice benchmark report for two High Tech companies.

A Lens on Cooperation

A summary of an award winning alliance book by Edwin Kaats and Wilfrid Opheij This book won the business book of the year in the Netherlands 2013 and it deals exclusively with issues around business to business collaboration. Well worth a read!

The Alliance Best Practice 52 Common Success Factors

The full list of 52 Common Success Factors in Successful Strategic Alliances

Delivering an MOUP Workshop

VST Vision - Proposal for the delivery of an MOUP workshop including actions and deliverables before, during and after the workshop.

BVP Workshop

VST Vision - Slide deck of an example BVP workshop

Business Value Proposition

VST Vision - This document defines the meaning/purpose and benefits of a business value proposition and outlines a process for creating one.

Alliance to Win Overview

VST Skills - An example slide deck for running an 'Alliance to win' workshop. For more details please read the 'Alliance to win factsheet'.

Alliance to Win Factsheet

VST Skills - This document explains the 'Alliance to Win' process, ABP's approach to developing a robust Go-To-Market strategy.

Example Internal Communication Plan

VST Skills - An internal Communication Plan for Use in companies to explain and agree the key activities for alliance development in the organisation

Alliance Balance Scorecard Example

VST Trust - The alliance balanced scorecard provides you with a consistent framework that can be applied to a single partnership or across multiple alliances to measure performance.

Identity Compass

VST Trust - Identity Compass is a diagnostic tool that reveals key characteristics of individuals, teams and company cultures. It is used to identify and improve cultural alignment in strategic alliance relationships.

S21 Developing the scope for a VST Alliance Optimisation exercise

Scope is a crucial start point in any alliance optimisation exercise. Clarity around scope allows us to identify the right key stakeholders who can give us the correct information from three crucial perspectives: Strategic, Managerial and Operational. That in turn allows us to make good improvement decisions based on good information. This short slide deck introduces the VST user to a range of questions and considerations necessary in the formulation of an ambitious yet achievable scope statement.

An Explanation of the Alliance Best Practice Alliance Benchmarking System

Issues covered in this briefing pack
  • Understanding Begins with Insightful Questions – In other words good data leads to good decisions and bad data leads to bad decisions
  • What would ‘good’ data look like (as opposed to bad or misleading data)?
  • What should we measure in alliances and why?
  • What would a good (practical and usable) alliance benchmark overview report look like?
  • What are the proven common success factors (CSFs) in successful strategic alliances?
  • Why is benchmarking different from health checks?
  • What is the typical revenue increase after a benchmarking exercise?
  • How can you get further details

Why the Hybrid Cloud Makes Sense

In a previous era, it was possible for a CIO to confine almost all of the technology operations of his company within the walls of a data center that was directly managed, and likely owned, by that company. But today, the data center is just one component of the hybrid cloud, an architecture that combines elements of private clouds, public clouds, and on-premise data centers. Enterprises are increasingly choosing this cloud architecture in order to maximize the performance of mission-critical applications, which benefit from the security and reliability of the private cloud and on-premise data centers, as well as the scalability and flexibility of the public cloud. The hybrid cloud helps companies manage the processing of applications from big data to payroll, service mobile and fixed users, and speed content to its consumers. Determining what goes where in a hybrid cloud and how everything fits together is a prime new focus for CIOs. CIOs will have to develop new skills to employ the hybrid cloud and its new technologies, but the results will be well worth the effort as the hybrid cloud provides new levels of business agility and an ability to say “yes” more often. This CITO Research white paper examines hybrid cloud design challenges and provides advice about how to build and optimize for such clouds.

How collaboration technologies are improving process, workforce and business performance

A recent survey report from Accenture points to the role that collaborative technologies can play in both internal and external team collaboration. Companies need their critical workforces to perform smarter, faster and more productively. Achieving that goal requires embedding collaborative technologies deep into processes and incentivizing collaborative behaviours— ultimately transforming the way organisations turn knowledge into action. Collaboration platforms should do more than help employees talk about their work; they should create new ways for employees to do their work.  

How to Run an Alliance Best Practice VST Exercise

This short slide deck gives you all you need to know to run a VST exercise.

Alliance Best Practice Taxonomy

A set of clear definition of some common phrases and words used in the Alliance Best Practice Framework.

Culture As a Force Field - Understanding Human Behaviour

Over again leaders of collaborative organizations emphasize the critical importance of “culture.” Yet advocates are far less articulate when it comes to being lucid about how and why culture is so important. In this article Robert Porter Lynch of the Warren company expands this understanding, moving from an intuitive sense to substantive clarity. Culture is somewhat a mystery because a cluster of hidden forces are almost always at play -- invisible and thus seldom ever acknowledged – but they are the first cause of failure or success when any leader tries to improve an organization’s performance or change its direction. If you would like to contact the author you can at:

Strategic Alliances in Life Sciences - Are You Ready?

Life Science companies have adopted a multi-track approach to cope with the current and anticipated drop in sales revenue, including; cutting costs and staff, expanding business in emerging markets, , re-calibrating business models, and research priorities ; using real world evidence and emphasizing a product's clinical, safety and economic impact to articulate their value proposition.  Next to classic mergers and acquisitions (M&A) Strategic Alliances have proven to be a viable alternative in coping with these challenges.

How to Run a VST Initialization Exercise

This short briefing deck has been produced to assist VST Licence holders to conduct their own VST Alliance Initiation Exercises. There are six stages in the VST methodology and each stage has a given output. The initiation exercise covers stages 1-3 Examples of the outputs from each stage are included in this pack under the section: ‘Useful Templates’. This pack is designed to be an overview of the process. Further details are available from a wide range of supporting documentation. See Section ‘Further Supporting Documentation’. Finally if you have any further questions regarding the VST Methodology you can get further help either by contacting us directly at or by accessing the “Downloads’ Section of the Alliance best practice website at   Search Terms: VST, Stage 1, "Vision Skills Trust"

VST Stage 1 Scope and Key Stakeholder Identification Template with Explanation of Terms

This document helps VST users to clarify the scope and consequent key stakeholders in a VST Alliance Optimisation exercise.  It includes simple definitions of the key terms used.

Alliance Optimisation Guide

This documents shows alliance executives of all types how to identify and then realize the untapped commercial potential in their strategic alliance relationships.

IDC Alliance Predictions 2015

Strategic Partnerships Shaping Business in 2015

Effective Collaboration White Paper by Jeff Weiss and Jonathan Hughes of Vantage Partners

The quest for harmony and common goals can actually obstruct teamwork.  Managers get truly effective collaboration only when they realize that conflict is natural and necessary.  So argue Jeff Weis and Jonathan Hughes of vantage Partners.  A thoughtful Harvard Business Review (HBR) article

Protecting the enterprise with cybersecure IT architecture

As digitization creates new cyberthreats, businesses should make security an integrated part of their IT infrastructure.  So argues McKinsey experts Oliver Bossert, Wolf Richter, and Allen Weinberg in this thought provoking article.

VST Briefing Note for Alliance Formation

How to explain the VST Process to Key Stakeholders in a newly formed or newly forming strategic alliance.   Search Terms: VST, Briefing Notes, Stage 0

VST Briefing Note for Existing Alliances

A briefing note to key stakeholders in an existing alliance relationship.   Search Terms: VST, Stage 0, Briefing, Briefing Note

VST Example Joint Go to Market (GTM) Template - Stage 3 Output

An example template for VST Stage 3 Output.   Search Terms : VST, Stage 3, GTM, Output

Where is Due Diligence Due in Strategic Alliances?

Choosing the ‘right’ partner is critical to long-term alliance success, however partner evaluation due-diligence is undertaken within constraints… An independent research project aimed at improving strategic alliance due diligence effectiveness Strategic alliances have become an essential business strategy and now account for 40% of all business in developed markets1 ….but they frequently fail to live up to expectations wasting valuable time and effort, and causing financial, operational and reputational damage and loss of other opportunities. Partner selection is fundamental to achieving alliance success, with even the best alliance management unlikely to overcome poor partner selection ….but due-diligence, the enquiry exercise upon which alliance formation decisions are made, is limited by time, resource, competitive and financial constraints. Partner selection literature provides abundant advice on specific partner selection criteria which should be evaluated to improve alliance outcomes     (e.g. trust, complementarity, culture, commercial benefit etc.) … however there is scant research exploring the relative importance of these selection criteria or an organisation’s ability to effectively evaluate these success factors.

ISO 44001 - An Executive Briefing

This document explains the practical value of the new international Business Collaboration standard - ISO 44001.
ISO 44001 is a business tool that helps organizations implement a flexible and robust system of establishing, managing and even ending collaborative relationships involving two or more businesses. The international standard outlines collaborative relationship management practices that help to ensure that businesses of all sizes get the maximum value from working with others to achieve a common goal or outcome.

The 52 Best Practices in Strategic Alliance Relationships

This list represents the most common best practices in commercially successful strategic alliance relationships.  The list has been generted by benchmarking over 800 alliance relationships starting in 2002.  The research and benchmarking efforts continue to this day.

First 90 Days

Alliance Best Practice Ltd (ABP) talks to alliance executives regularly and one topic comes up time and again; which is 'What should I do in my first 90 days in the job to get off to a flying start?' Here then is the ABP suggestions for the key tasks of the first 90 days.

Assessing the Importance of Best Practices in Alliance Sales Performance

The purpose of this questionnaire is to introduce interviewees to 52 separate Common Success Factors (CSFs) in commercially successful alliance relationships.  These factors have been derived from extensive independent research of over 27,000 alliance relationships conducted over the last 18 years. Interviewees are then asked to assess the importance of that Factor in alliance sales relationships and to indicate how well they feel that their own organisation performs that Factor in practice.

Agile Alliances

Long gone are the days when strategic alliances were formed over many years between large multi national enterprises that diminated their respective sectors.  Today speed, agility, innovation, and easy of engagement are the key requisites for a new breed of of strtegic alliances.  ABP has dubbed these particular types 'Agile Alliances' and there is a growing body of research showing that these disruptive partnerships are shaking up established industries and generating exponential value for the participants.  Read how in this ABP briefing paper.

VST Alliance Sales Manual

The new and updated VST Alliance Sales Manual Version 13 is now available.  Changes since the last version include clarification of the roles in the RACI process and clarification and simplification of the six stages to a Faststart 3 Stage Process..

Do you have an Ecosystem strategy?

  • 76% of business leaders surveyed agree current business models will be unrecognizable in the next 5 years—ecosystems will be the main change agent
  What is as an ecosystem?
  • An ecosystem is the network of cross-industry players who work together to define, build and execute market-creating customer and consumer solutions.
  • The power of the ecosystem is that no single player need own or operate all components of the solution, and that the value the ecosystem generates is larger than the combined value each of the players could contribute individually.
  • Ecosystems create strong barriers to entry for new competition, new entrants must compete against the entire system of independent complementing businesses.
How do you Participate in an ecosystem?
  • You need to identify your role, are you providing:-
  • An offering, a platform, a market play?
  • You need to identify the right partners who will allow you to successfully collaborate outside of your sphere.
  • However, executives often don’t have the experience and capabilities to design and execute market-leading ecosystems. As such, many aren’t seeing the revenue growth they had predicted.

The Importance of Partnerships to Start-Up Success

Today’s consumers want connected, end-to-end experiences that meet their needs when and where they want. They are obsessed with flexibility, optionality, and variety. They are also commitment-phobic and want to try before buying. This dynamic has significant implications in the startup ecosystem, particularly for companies that are looking to disrupt mature industries.

Accelerating digital innovation inside and out - agile teams, ecosystems and ethics - Deloitte and MIT - June 2019

Digitally maturing companies are not only innovating more, they’re innovating differently. This innovation is driven in large part by the collaborations established externally through digital ecosystems and internally through cross-functional teams. Both ecosystems and cross-functional teams increase organizational agility. The risk of this increased agility, however, is that it can lead a company’s innovation efforts to outpace its governance policies. It is particularly important, then, that these organizations have strong policies in place regarding the ethics of digital business.

Maximizing the Value of Ecosystems - IDC June 2019

Technology is driving significant change to the way companies and customers interact. As customer expectations grow, companies must respond with ever more competitive offerings. Traditional business and go-to-market models are being re-examined where corporations are leveraging partners to satisfy customer demands allowing faster time- to-market and lower costs. As a result, companies require greater partner innovation and collaboration but face new challenges to effectively manage these cross-company business processes.

• Collaborative Systems & Leadership Excellence -International Collaborative Leadership Insititute

Powerful forces in global business are driving the need for far greater collaboration within the emerging “Eco- System.” But there is a massive chasm between the level of collaboration needed to be successful and the corporate ability to deliver what’s required. • What are the realities? What’s needed to spur the collaborative shift? • Why have the Alliance Best Practices seemed to have stalled out? • What can be done to deliver higher levels of collaboration? • What shifts in thinking are needed? What is the new paradigm for the future?

The Emerging Art of Ecosystem Management - Boston Consulting Group - Jan 2019

As the Internet of Things (IoT) makes our homes, phones, and cars “smart,” companies must work with a far wider range of partners to pull together the underlying technologies, applications, software platforms, and services needed for an integrated solution. The need for partnerships is further amplified by rapidly changing technologies and consumers’ growing demand for a highly customized user experience.

Competing in Digital Ecosystems - Kelley School of Business - Indiana University - 2018

Digital technologies are revolutionizing traditional interdependencies among businesses. As a result, managers have begun to recognize their business environments as digital ecosystems. For firms accustomed to framing their business environments as industries, this represents a significant shift in perspective–—one that requires an understanding of fresh strategic initiatives necessary to compete in the digital era. In this article, we highlight what is new and different about digital ecosystems for firm strategy. We offer frameworks that explain how digital ecosys- tems provide firms with new sources of value and new avenues for growth. Two sets of underlying concepts govern these frameworks: (1) production and consumption ecosystems and (2) digital envelopes and product-in-use information. We introduce and elaborate upon these foundational concepts and highlight new strategic options for firms to compete in digital ecosystems.

Ecosystems - Cornerstone of Future Growth - Accenture Strategy Group - May 2018

Accenture Strategy surveyed 1,252 business leaders from diverse industries across the world to better understand the degree to which companies are capturing ecosystem opportunities. They found that companies are pursuing new business models to navigate, or even lead, disruption. When asked what they would typically do to disrupt their industry, 60 percent of executives said, “build ecosystems.” Nearly half have already built or are currently building an ecosystem to respond to disruption.

Clubs Clans and Caravans - Yves Doz - INSEAD - July 2004

How competing organisations can 'club' together to bring a new service or product to market. Once the idea is established then direct competition takes over. Also includes some startling insights into the nature of partner ecosystems from a leading thinker in the topic.

Tech Go-To-Market: Disruptive Program Design for TSP Partner Ecosystems - Gartner Research Report - August 2018

Selling digital business solutions drives the formation of partner ecosystems, which challenges traditional partner program structure and processes. Technology product marketers responsible for optimizing route-to-market strategies must create disruptive ecosystem programs to succeed. Key Findings Selling complex digital business solutions requires presenting a more complete solution than most technology and service providers (TSPs) can provide on their own (that is, the “whole product”). Traditional enablement programs, infrastructure and support systems, execution platforms, and results and performance metrics rarely support the formation and governance of partner ecosystems. Ecosystem partnerships between TSPs selling digital business solutions are rarely driven by revenue share or partner compensation like traditional programs. Revenue through partner ecosystems can be initially undefinable and, in the medium term, unpredictable.

The Most Innovative Companies 2019 - The Rise of AI, Platforms and Ecosystems - Boston Consulting Group - 2019

In a world where computers can compose notes to your friends, it’s hardly surprising that the theme of BCG’s 13th annual global innovation survey and report is the rising im- portance of AI and of platforms that support innovation. This is not an out-of-the-blue de- velopment. Our last few reports have high- lighted the crucial role of science and tech- nology in innovation, the impact of digital technologies on both digital natives and more traditional industries, and strong innovators’ increasing use of various internal and exter- nal vehicles to uncover new ideas. This year’s survey shows that AI use is rapidly expanding and that many companies are relying more on platforms and their cousin, ecosystems, to support their innovations efforts.

Thriving in a World of Business Ecosystems - Deloitte University Press - 2015

Focusing on the ascent of business ecosystems can provide much more than just a different and useful metaphor. It can illuminate and clarify both deep challenges and extraordinary potential opportunities for leaders in business, government, and civic sector organizations alike that will influence organizations’ strategies and operations for years to come. That’s why, in this report Business ecosystems come of age, Deloitte investigate some key strategic questions that come with a world of ecosystems and share how forward-thinking firms are answering them.

Business Ecosystems Come of Age - Deloitte University Press - 2015

Over the last few decades, driven largely by digital technologies and massively increased connectivity, global economies have been moving beyond narrowly defined industries built around large, vertically integrated, and mainly “self-contained” corporations. New means of creating value have been developing everywhere in the form of ever-denser and richer networks of connection, collaboration, and interdependence. This report examines that trend.

Ecosystem Advantage How to Boost Your Success by Harnessing the Power of Partners - Judge Business School - 2010

Based on the observation of best practice and detailed case studies we observe that companies have started to organise themselves in loosely coupled networks, similar to the mediaeval ‘commons’, and which we call ecosystems. These are far less structured than joint ventures, but have at the same time a lower level of transaction costs than pure market systems. These ecosystems seem to be better adapted to respond to the demand for complex, integrated solutions, rather than standardised products and services delivered in homogeneous volume. The imperative for gaining competitive advantage via these ecosystems is for firms to create sustainable ecosystems and for the lead firm how to capture the value created by the ecosystem. Based on a set of case studies we develop six keys to create the ecosystem advantage: the clarity about the creation of value added, the definition and structuring of the partner roles, how to stimulate complementary partner investments, the need to reduce the transaction costs, how to stimulate co-learning in the network and how to engineer effective value capture mechanisms. Keywords: ecosystem, value capturing, networks

Partner Ecosystem Report - BearingPoint Beyond - 2018

IT & Technology companies are under immense pressure. On the one hand, as digital transformation envelopes each sector around the world, IT & Technology companies are in the vanguard of this change and businesses look to them for help. This presents lots of new opportunities for revenue growth – a desirable position indeed. On the other hand, many established IT & Technology companies face disruption themselves from new technologies and business models that blur the line between physical and digital worlds. Dealing with declining revenues and job cuts, IT & Technology companies – just like their customers – have to overhaul their technology and business models to provide new ways to consume their services and much more compelling solutions to customer problems.

Digital Platforms and Ecosystems Presentation - BearingPoint Beyond - 2019

This PDF version of a Powerpoint presenattion given by Dr Chris Stephenson of BearingPoint Beyond. Explains how Digital Platforms are driving Growth Through Partner Ecosystems.

Ecosystem Management vs Alliance Management : What's the difference? - Ard-Pieter de Man - November 2018

A presentation by Professor Ard-Pieter de Man on the differences between Ecosystem Management and Alliance Management given in November 2018.

Three Things Ecosystem Masters Get Right - Accenture Strategy Practice - 2018

It is no small feat for a business to single-handedly navigate disruption in today’s complex business climate. This is why ecosystems are taking off. Most companies recognize the need to implement new business models to address, or even lead disruption. According to Accenture Strategy research, 60 percent of executives say ecosystems are the way to do it. 1 - Businesses can use ecosystems to make strong market plays that drive disruptive growth. The opportunity is staggering. Ecosystems could unlock $100 trillion of value for business and wider society over the next 10 years. 2 - However, few businesses have fully capitalized on the opportunity, claiming the role of “ecosystem master.” Many ecosystems currently don’t live up to their potential. A third of executive respondents target revenue growth of 5 percent or more with their ecosystem plays. Only 12 percent achieve this growth. 3 - This begs the question: What are the masters leading ecosystems getting right?

Partner Ecosystems Briefing Sheet - Briefing Paper from Alliance Best Practice - 2019

This Alliance Best Practice Briefing Paper identifies the key drivers in the growth of partner ecosystems and gives some practical advice on how to establish and manage partner ecosystems.

David and Goliath Briefing Sheet - Alliance Best Practice Ltd 2018

This short briefing sheet from Alliance Best Practice Ltd charts the rise in popularity of so called 'David and Goliath' alliances. That is alliances, partnerships and collaborations between very large and very small organisations. The paper identifies the key business drivers for these types of alliances and offers insights into the key challenges for such relationships.

Your Role in the Ecosystem - Accenture-Strategy - 31 Jan 2019

Platform Ownership is Not the Only Path to Growth and Profitability. Platforms, which provide the foundation for game-changing solutions, are driving the digital economy and accelerating the transformation of many companies. Understandably, companies in all industries—including communications, media and technology want a piece of the platform revolution. Some 300 platforms already exist, and the development of others is rapidly accelerating. Accenture Strategy estimates that, unfortunately, only 10 percent are likely to succeed. Companies that continue to invest solely in building platforms may find they are simply competing in a race to the bottom. The good news is that platform ownership is not the only path to growth and profitability. In fact, Accenture Strategy believes the greatest value in the platform economy lies in how organizations leverage ecosystems to deliver outcomes and solutions through platforms. Some pioneering communications, media and technology companies are already evaluating how they can participate in existing ecosystems. A few are even pursuing more valuable ecosystem leadership roles. But most are still trying to figure out the role that is right for them. Those that wait too long face the risk of being marginalized; and for many, it may already be too late.

Alliance and Partner Manager Salary Survey 2019

Alliance Best Practice Ltd (ABP) surveyed alliance, partnership and channel managers from 1st June - 1st July 2019.  We asked 15 questions covering topics such as: basic salary, bonus amount and structure, title, span of control, location, partner types, company size, industry, additional benefits, etc.  We received 143 responses from a range of seniorities and geographies.  The results are interesting and show some surprising changes since the last survey in 2014.
Some of the Key Observations were:
The term gets shorthand, causally 'managed' by the innovations and introduced as clear and natural. Rendering something as mind boggling as the possibility of whenever wherever learning thusly closes it to examination; it basically turns into a black box with a contribution of access, which happens whenever or anyplace, and a yield of learning. What is happening inside the black box has been clouded from see and shut from enquiry, but you can find a detailed essay about this at to access the info. What occurs on the off chance that we open up this black box and think about what is happening? In attempted the second phase of the writing audit, this procedure was inspected by recovering and perusing the articles on cell phones. Getting to peer-investigated writing is a movement key to advanced education practices of research and scholarly writing for students and staff. Imagining advanced education picking up, instructing or appraisal without peer-explored writing having a noteworthy job is exceptionally tricky. The affirmations in the portable learning writing of whenever, wherever learning through cell phones infer this is an affordance of utilizing a cell phone to achieve this assignment.
  • Partner related roles appear to be paid more highly than alliance related roles.
  • The highest paid country is still the United States of America (USA) as it was in 2014.
  • Smaller companies appear to be ‘headhunting’ experienced alliance professionals.
  • Salary v Span of control is still logically consistent as it was 5 years ago.
  • Companies in the 500-1000 Employees category paid the highest bonuses.
  • ‘Hardware or Platform Provider Companies’ and Traditional Software Companies’ pay less.
  • The most common revenue target was 1,000,000 – 5,000,000.
  • 43% of respondents carried no target at all and 57% carried some form of target.
  • Healthcare was a universal part of the benefit package also stock options.

Capgemini Presentation 9 Jan 2020

Ed Gardner's presentation at the Alliance Best Practice Quarterly Meeting on 9 Jan 2020

VST Logic

A 3 slide presentation pack explaining the logic of the VST Alliance Sales System.

Best Practices in Alliance Sales

The latest alliance sales research from Alliance Best Practice Ltd (ABP).  This latest report includes updates in alliance sales approaches identified in the last 12 months.

Partner Playbook from Crossbeam

The Partner Playbook is a comprehensive guide to thriving as a partner professional – a collection of insights, tactics, and strategies from those in the trenches. No more getting stuck in tactic-hell and no more struggling to prove your value.

  • No more guessing: - Get a crash course on partnership basics to quickly get up to speed as a new partner manager.
  • Master-level tactics: - Lessons from the pros, like the partner manager that was responsible for 25% of his company’s revenue.
  • The right tools: - Learn how to leapfrog your peers by updating your tech stack and stop using software that was designed in 2000-whenever.
  • Be in demand: - The soft-skills and career outlooks shared by partner professionals at top SaaS ecosystems.

The Emerging Art of Ecosystem Management

Useful partner ecosystem research report from the Boston Consulting Group identifying different types of partner ecosystems.

Gartner Report on Disruptive Partner Ecosystems

Selling disruptive digital solutions drives the formation of partner ecosystems, which challenges traditional partner programme structure and processes.  Technology and service providers optimising route to market strategies must create disruptive ecosystem programmes to succeed.

VST User Group Briefing Sheet

A 2 page briefing sheet which describes the value of the VST Alliance Sales Methodology.

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