Alliance, partnership, channel, ecosystem. These are all terms that are used to describe ways of working together between organizations. Sometimes we add the word “strategic” in front of it to highlight its importance for an organization. All these terms have their own meaning, yet they are all part of the collaborative business spectrum. Sometimes people use different terms for the same kind of collaboration. Thus it is imperative to ensure that you understand what your counterpart means with the terms they use. 

In many reports we can read that it is now all about ecosystems. In between the lines you almost read that you should forget about all the other terms: ecosystem is now the fashionable term to use. 

An ecosystem is a constellation of multiple organizations working together in several ways to accomplish an overall goal. Sometimes, partners might be part of the ecosystem without actually realizing that they are part of something bigger than just their own partnerships. Ecosystems are built on bilateral partnerships, multi-partner partnerships and even transactional relationships. Together all these relationships form the ecosystem. To successfully build and maintain ecosystems it is essential to understand the basics of building and maintaining the underlying alliances and partnerships. 

Ecosystems are on the rise, but they are not all or nothing. It is neither black nor white: other types of collaboration will continue to exist. Don’t let yourself be carried away in the use of fashionable terms, but ensure that you understand what your counterpart means with the terms they use.

Attending the online Alliance & Partnerships Masterclass is an excellent way to learn all about building and maintaining alliances and partnerships.