CEOs are increasingly turning to alliances as a way to grow their business and maximize shareholder value. They are searching for growth strategies while confronting a host of new forces that include intensified competition, rapid technology advances, upstream innovation and rising development costs. These forces tend to push corporations out of their comfort zones and contribute to disappointing success rates. Alliances are different from other structural transactions, such as a mergers or acquisitions, and need to be managed differently. To begin with, alliances are larger, messier to manage and somewhat open‐ended in terms of their duration and focus. They are an ongoing activity, often run as a distinct business operation. To obtain specific business objectives, such as getting products to market faster, these newer kinds of alliances are taking nontraditional forms. Accenture has identified five forms, including “invasive relationships” where significant amounts of technology and personnel are shared, or “multifunction” where different core functions are shared toward a common objective. We have found that companies can achieve high performance in alliances by focusing on six factors described in this article.
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