The Alchemy of Alliance Making

The Alchemy of Alliance Making

All those who have spent their career creating partnerships, alliances, and channel communities within the many market segments of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) know that our profession is much more of a wily situational craft – what I call Alliance Alchemy – than an exact, repeatable management science. As evidence, the history of PLM is full of enthusiastic press releases from respected firms and successful executives announcing new partnerships which failed to live up to the expectations of anyone, including customers and investors.

While there are many principles and best practices for creating satisfactory alliances, the insights and ingredients which allow each new partnership to perform at its full potential are almost always unique if not elusive.  I have chosen the term “alliance alchemy” to describe the practice of what it takes to manifest those great partnerships.



Alchemy, after all, is the seemingly magical process of combining or connecting rather common materials in a way that transforms them into something truly outstanding. When business goals align and corporate cultures mesh, allowing global partnerships to soar, it is truly magical to observe even when not directly participating.

During 2016, the first year of PLM Alliances, I fully immersed and dedicated myself to the partner development needs of an initial set of independent software vendor (ISV) clients who were innovating in their respective, non-competing PLM market segments. As 2017 begins I will be sharing lessons learned and exploring the alchemy of alliance making not just from a top-down strategy, but from the bottom-up reality of working in the trenches to make partnerships produce. Along the way I will be profiling the successes of others I have witnessed, as well as what I have learned both the easy and hard way through my own successes and challenges.

We’ll start in the next Alliance Alchemy post by looking at the common myths and mistakes in partnership, alliance, and channel (PAC) building. The first “myth-stake” should be obvious, but often it is not when I start working with a new ISV client and candidly tell them that “partnerships are not about you, your technology, or product offering!”

If you would like to follow the Alliance Alchemy conversation, or share your own experiences or opinions, just enter your email in the follow field on the right or leave a comment below.

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