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Together Everyone Achieves More - with a Constellation of Alliances
By Paul Lavallee, Founder, VentureFuel

Strategic Alliances done right will enable your company compete effectively.

In moving forward with your vision and strategy you need the strength of global Alliances to reinforce your message, and to compete effectively. The competition is rarely just another company. As Benjamin Gomes-Casseres, author of The Alliance Revolution (Harvard University Press) put it, "the real competition is a constellation of competitors" .... a TEAM approach where Together Everyone Achieves More !

In order to compete more effective a major objective of your alliance program should be to work more closely with the partners. Systems Integrators, complementary product partners, implementors, consultants etc often see deal flow which is incremental to yours. They also tend to team up with friends to the exclusion of companies perceived as threats. "If yur not with us, yur agin us!" holds true in the real world.

The 5 F's General Framework I have used successfully with a number of software ventures is a hybrid of Ben's approach. For more information on Benjamin Gomes-Casseres visit www.alliancestrategy.com

1- Focused (strategy before structure) - It is the strategy and the existing relationships (both friendly and competitive) which matter most in guiding partner choice, - then, partner choice and your mutual goals that guide the structure of the deal. The sequence is important. Companies that have followed this lesson are usually alot more successful in alliances than those who have rushed out to "sign up some partners" without thinking it through. Also, you need to create an organizational process that incorporates evaluating alliances as an option. Alliances will work for some things but not for others. You need infrastructure for tracking progress with alliances. To be successful, you need to be focused and proactive in evolving an alliance strategy. Joint goals will help drive effective investment of resources for all parties. As Ben says "Execute alliance strategies, don

Paul Lavallee brings more than 30 years of extensive experience in the software & IT business. Mr. Lavallee has served as a director on several boards and advisory committees of both pre-IPO and publicly traded companies. For more information visit: www.venturefuel.com

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