At the end of the 2012 ASAP Global Alliance Summit I sat down to do my exams for the advanced level of alliance management certification, the CSAP level. The past days I noticed that some people are still quite unfamiliar with certification in the alliance management profession. So I decided to compile a three part clarification: today about the certification program and the levels, tomorrow in part 2 more about what is being tested for and what the exams are like, in part 3 we will look into who is already certified and how one can prepare for the exam.

The certification program
The Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP) developed a professional certification program that offers individuals the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of core alliance skills and the management of all forms of collaborative business relationships.

certificationThe program currently features two levels of certification:

  • Certification of Achievement–Alliance Management (CA-AM) – the basic level of certification
  • Certified Strategic Alliance Professional (CSAP) – the advanced level of certification for seasoned practitioners with a command of the full alliance life cycle from inception to termination

Why get certified?
Alliance management is evolving as a recognized management discipline with a unique set of skills and competencies required to be adept at successfully managing organizational collaboration.  A clear understanding of what those skills are and how to assess them are becoming more important to companies as they depend upon strategic alliances to drive corporate growth and to in-source innovation.  ASAP has begun the work of codifying those competencies and documenting them. To enable companies to better assess the skill levels of alliance managers, ASAP has developed a certification and credentialing program built on the competency model which validates the skills of certified alliance professionals.

Through certification, alliance managers demonstrate their knowledge of the alliance management skills. Certification represents a level of professional achievement and becoming certified also demonstrates a commitment to the profession.

What is the Certification of Achievement? 
The Certification of Achievement – Alliance Management (CA-AM) is the first of three levels of certification planned for deployment by ASAP.  The CA-AM is oriented to the intermediate level alliance manager with 3-5 years experience in managing collaborative business relationships.  A professional at this level would have a sound understanding of all the basic alliance management concepts and would have mastered the skills needed to manage an ongoing alliance.  To qualify for certification, a candidate must be a member of ASAP, attest that they have at least 3 years of relevant experience in managing collaborative relationships, agree to abide by the ASAP Professional Code of Conduct, and complete the CA-AM exam with a passing score.

What is CSAP? 
The Certified Strategic Alliance Professional (CSAP) is the next level of competency. The alliance manager at this skill level would have at least five years experience and the skills to manage the full alliance lifecycle plus an understanding of the more advanced alliance functions such as managing a portfolio or network of alliances that would be the domain of an alliance executive.

In part 2 more about what is being tested for in the certification program and what the exams are like.

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