Alliance Relationship Management


Partner to Profit, LLC and Phoenix Consulting Group, LLC collaborated in conducting research to understand current practices in the development of business cases within alliance management operations and how those business cases are used to inform decision makers in setting performance objectives and investment allocation.

A key finding in that study exposed the lack of a 21st century purpose-built platform/system, on par with commonly used systems such as CRM and PRM, to support the business of alliances. A capability and feature set of an alliance specific system, Alliance Relationship Management (ARM), was born as a result of that study.

Alliance Relationship Management (ARM)

The overarching purpose of an Alliance Relationship Management system is to enable fact- based decisions to better manager alliance-partnerships. Key business capabilities:

  • Forecast and track resource requirements.
  • Predict and track revenue and profitability of alliance initiatives.
  • Provide insight into alliance ROI and break-even of investment decisions.

What would be some of the attributes and benefits of a purpose-built Alliance Relationship Management platform?

  • A secure and accessible forum to share information and to collaborate with internal stakeholders and with all partners in an alliance
  • Function as the plan of record between the collaborating parties. Current methods of emailing plans and spreadsheets back and forth inevitably become nightmares in version control.
  • Robust permissioning at the data level, so alliance partners can share what needs to be shared and protect sensitive data such as SG&A or margin that may be crucial to the investment planning and management but not necessarily appropriate to share with the partner(s).
  • An ability to accommodate different business models since alliance partners generate revenue in different ways. Service oriented businesses will optimize for the service component. Software business will look at unit sales or recurring revenue.
  • Integrate with and preserve the investment of other enterprise systems, most notably the CRM for deal tracking and sales performance but may include other systems such as the PRM, or Learning Management System (LMS), etc.

In lieu of a purpose-built ARM system businesses are using some of the features/functions of CRM and PRM systems to manage aspects of their alliance-partnerships such as sales tracking and product certification. But those systems fall short of what an ARM system requires.

For comparison purposes the key capabilities and attributes of ARM have been position along side CRM and PRM.


A Comparison

Focus Customer Channel Alliances
Function Sales Management Channel Management Alliance Development and Management
Complete Workup by Partner No No Yes
Create/view/edit Permissions Limited Limited Full
Top KPIs Sales Channel Development and Sales Financial and Non-Financial Performance
Collaboration and Community Limited Limited Full
Modeling No No Yes
Joint Offer Bill of Materials Generic Generic Specific
Competitive Evaluation No No Yes
Resource Forecasting No No Yes

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