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Easier alliances Featured

9:42am EDT July 22, 2002
Some business analysts believe that the alliance is the new paradigm of business structures, with clusters of companies connecting in ways that help each partner compete more effectively in the marketplace, and each cluster competing against other similar clusters.

Andersen Consulting predicts that alliances will represent $25 trillion to $40 trillion in value within five years.

Marcar Management Institute of America, a Belmont, Calif., consulting firm, doles out advice to companies that are looking to form alliances. Here are some things it suggests you consider when forming alliances:

  • Design an alliance before an agreement is struck. Define mutual goals, screen partners, conduct due diligence and select an alliance type.

  • The speed of implementation depends on the type of alliance, its scope and goals, its strategic importance, the partners’ experience in managing alliances and the differences among partners.

  • Knowledge protection is important, although some knowledge transfer is necessary in any alliance. Some companies confront the issue by keeping the scope of the alliance narrow, transferring knowledge incrementally, educating employees and establishing a gatekeeper for information exchange.

  • Establish some mechanism to identify and resolve conflicts. This can be accomplished by assigning one person the responsibility for resolving conflicts or by forming a task force to recommend modifications in alliance operations.

  • Establish a clear set of objectives and view them as a convergence of the goals, expectations and ideas of each partner.

  • Design the alliance agreement to accommodate termination of the relationship.

    How to reach: Marcar Management Institute of America at www.marcar.com"

    Ray Marano