Alliances as a Service

Alliances are powerful partnering strategies to help companies and organizations to grow their revenues and extend their capabilities. Alliances as a Service is an efficient, cost effective way to create and sustain a value-added network of strategic alliance business and technology partners.

Alliances as a Service (AaaS), a somewhat unfortunate acronym, is part of the rapidly growing trend of managed outsourced and co-sourced services. Managed services reduce cost and risk, as well as providing a strategic alternative to improving operations, quality and consistency.

Everything as a Service (XaaS) is linked at its origin to cloud computing: Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) … are all terms which are commonplace in the new digital world.

Functional areas outside of IT are also being offered “as a Service”: Human Resources, Office of Finance, Legal, Training … are all being treated more as OPEX than CAPEX, i.e. as variable service contracts, not structural overhead.

Within this framework, Alliances as a Service is a flexible, high value offering to optimize your ecosystem.

Most (all) companies want to grow. There are three paths to growth: Build, Buy or Ally.

  • Build – organic growth, open another office, hire more people
  • Buy – mergers & acquisitions, equity takeover and integration
  • Ally – strategic alliance framework for partnering solutions to growth

The best and most balanced companies, whether they be large multinationals or small local firms, across every sector of activity, whether they are selling products or services, will have all three strategies in play, at all times, to varying degrees of intensity.

The temptation to rely too heavily on any one (or two) of the three pillars of growth, actually weakens the strategic tripod growth model. Excellence in a firm’s ability to execute on its growth plan depends largely on its ability to articulate its strategic intent in each of the three paths to growth.

The value of having a properly designed business and technology alliance framework – your ecosystem of partner firms – is certainly as important as the execution of the alliance relationships. Alliances as a Service is a managed services offering which provides a platform and a process to optimize your alliance framework.

Partnering relations can be one-to-one (an alliance) and also one-to-many (a network). When the partnering environment is truly symbiotic, and there exists an interdependency between multiple parties, an ecosystem develops.

Ecosystems are also the most recent and lasting evolution in strategic alliance development.  They are replacing the traditional one-to-one alliance structures. One of the reasons that Alliances as a Service makes sense for many companies is that the governance and facilitation of the network is independently managed.

Ecosystems in nature are communities of living organisms, interacting with each other within a given environment.  These collaborative biological networks tend to evolve into symbiotic relationships enabling each organism to develop a sustainable place within the ecosystem.

Ecosystems, within a context of business development, are communities of common interest, partnerships of companies which come together to provide services to their clients.  The growth strategy through ecosystem development involves business partnerships outside one’s own firm and often outside one’s traditional channels to market.all_globe_rgb

Open ecosystems are the royal path to sustainability. Domains of multi-party alliance application follow the value chain of the firm.  Areas of Alliances as a Service include:

  • Marketing & Public Relations – using alliance frameworks for advertising purposes
  • International Sales & Distribution – sell and deliver goods & services with local resources
  • Production & Operations Excellence – advanced, intelligent supply chain, lean co-sourcing
  • Delivery & After Market Alliances – service models enhanced with global/local partner firms
  • Research & Development Agreements – innovation labs and contract research organizations
  • Public Private Partnerships – complex alliances for smart cities, smart energy, etc.
  • Shared Service Centers – digitally enhance, multi-channel contact centers 2.0
  • Franchise Alliance Services – tightly regulated, hard networks, consistency of service
  • Associations & Alumni Networks – trade crafts, soft networks, relationship-based models
  • Innovation Incubators – original configurations to create new products and services

The Internet of Things (IoT) provides a ‘catch all’ phrase for inter-connected devices. The XaaS (everything as a service) business models are rapidly becoming even more prevalent worldwide.

Self-driving cars, for example, will be “as a service” within the next twenty years, and everyone will be amazed at the old model of car ownership. Leasing models will be point to point, instead of weekly or monthly contacts. Uber on steroids without the driver.

Alliances as a Service is a modern, sophisticated, high-value proposition for forward-looking companies which are striving for efficient, cost effective growth models.

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