Alliances & Partnerships seem such an easy way to grow an organization. However, like with building a house, alliances and partnerships require a solid foundation to be able to deliver upon their promising success. Unfortunately, that is an often overlooked element.

Research by the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals shows that the companies that follow a structured alliance management process consistently report a better success rate with their alliances than the average. They report a better success rate of up to 80%! The companies that approach alliances in an ad hoc fashion, report only a success rate of 20%. This is what I call the 80% rule: 80% of ad hoc unstructured business partnerships and strategic alliances fail, while on the other hand 80% of the companies that follow a structured approach create successful business partnerships and strategic alliances.

An essential part of creating a solid foundation is the partner analysis phase. In this phase you will analyze the potential candidates for best fit; from a financial perspective, a strategic perspective and an operational perspective. Ideally you will then approach the organization with the best fit to start your partnership conversations with.

In many cases the partner analysis process is skipped due to many reasons. These reasons might be that there is only one partner available, or that the partner already approached you, or that your CEO agreed with the partner to team up. Whatever the reason is, my strong advice for you is to always perform a partner analysis. Albeit only to understand where your partner might be different from your organization. The difference between your organizations will be the points of attention you will proactively need to manage during the operational phase of the partnership.

There are a few ways to perform partner analysis and selection. In my ebook The 4-step guide to successful partner selection I describe a commonly used practical approach to partner analysis and selection.

Another methodology is based on the Partnership Canvas by Bart Doorneweert. Together with Ernst Houdkamp, Bart designed the Partnership Canvas as an add-on tool to Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas. The Partnership Canvas strongly promotes a joint approach for the two partners to perform partner analysis.

On March 24, 2017 Bart will organize a Partnership Design Masterclass in Amsterdam. In this highly interactive masterclass you will be able to learn about the Partnership Canvas and how to apply the canvas in actual partnership situations.

Learn more about the Masterclass here or listen to Bart explaining the Partnership Canvas in a previous episode of the Collaborative Business Podcast.

So, do you really need to perform partner analysis? It’s all up to you: it depends on which side of the 80% rule you want to be!Enjoy your week!