20 Jan 2022
10 min read

Why do Partnerships and Alliances often fall flat?

The rise of RESTful APIs has been met by a rise in tools for creating, testing, and managing them.
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In the enterprise software industry, partnerships can be the key to unlocking growth and expanding market reach. However, many partnership programs don’t live up to their potential. Let’s explore why these initiatives frequently falter and what can be done to enhance their effectiveness.

Complexity and Lack of Strategic Vision

One of the biggest challenges in partnership programs is managing the inherent complexity. Many companies jump in without fully grasping the time and effort needed to build a robust ecosystem. Large software firms often struggle to evolve their ecosystems and gain traction with partners, particularly when launching new products or shifting business models. This complexity can lead to misaligned objectives and confusion, causing partnership efforts to lose steam (BCG). Research by Forrester indicates that 75% of partnerships fail because companies lack a clear strategy and vision.

Inadequate Partner Support and Engagement

For partnerships to thrive, there needs to be strong engagement and support from all stakeholders, especially at the executive level. However, a significant number of partnership programs fail due to insufficient buy-in and involvement from senior management. The Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey found that 46% of CIOs cited weak ownership as a critical factor for partnership program failures. Without top-level support, these programs can lack the direction and resources needed to succeed.

Resistance to Change

Change management is another critical area where partnership programs often falter. Moving away from established systems and processes can face considerable resistance from employees who are accustomed to the status quo. This resistance can be a major roadblock when implementing new partnership strategies and technologies. McKinsey research indicates that 70% of change management initiatives fail due to employee resistance and lack of management support.

Ineffective Performance Tracking and Incentives

Tracking the performance of partnerships is essential for understanding their impact and identifying areas for improvement. However, many companies fail to implement effective performance metrics and incentives. Without clear metrics and rewards, it’s difficult to gauge the success of partnership initiatives and maintain partner engagement. An Accenture report found that only 30% of companies have effective mechanisms in place to track and incentivize partnership performance.

So, what can be done to avoid these pitfalls? Here are a few tips:

Develop a Clear Strategy: Establish a well-defined vision and strategic goals for the partnership program. Ensure that all stakeholders understand and support these objectives.

Engage Leadership: Secure active involvement and support from senior management to provide the necessary direction and resources.

Improve Data Integration: Invest in robust data integration and security measures to ensure seamless data flow and protect sensitive information.

Foster a Culture of Change: Create a culture that embraces change and provides comprehensive training to help employees adapt to new systems and processes.

Implement Effective Metrics and Incentives: Use advanced analytics and reporting tools to track partnership performance and develop incentives that align with partner and company goals.

By addressing these common issues, enterprise software organisations can enhance their partnership programs and unlock their full potential. It takes careful planning, strong leadership, and a willingness to adapt, but the rewards can be well worth the effort.

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Why do Partnerships and Alliances often fall flat?