5 Tips for Successful Partnerships

April 1, 2015 Christian Michaud

Organizations are partnering more and more and it is a model that fits today’s market conditions. When two organizations decide to work together, it is always with the best intentions and hopes for the future but what if it doesn’t work? How can you minimize the risks?

Service providers need a way to build out their service offerings or extend their distribution capabilities efficiently and with limited financial risk. Partnerships help organizations to accelerate innovation through allowing service providers to test more services in their markets while reaching new customers in new places.

Partnerships that don’t work can drain resource, deliver very little return on investment, or ruin your reputation. There’s always risk when partnering but relationships that work can set both organizations on a path to long-term gains both financially and in new source of ideas.

There are a lot of different things that make technology partnerships successful and here are a few of valuable things I’ve learned over the years:

Don’t just choose the best technology partner, choose people you can work with

The person you are dealing with is more important than the best technology. Of course, the technology needs to be good! But for long-term success you need a business culture that matches your own. Partners need to commit themselves and show the capacity to learn and absorb each other’s skills. You need to get along with the person you are dealing with. There need to have mutual gains and be a win-win situation.

Have a framework in your organization for partnerships

Your own organization should have a framework for partnerships in place to accelerate the on boarding of new partners and demonstrate a commitment to the partnership model. This can mean a system to quickly measure success or failure, a legal structure to manage the business relationship, or a framework to facilitate consensus, problem solving, goal sharing, improvements and most importantly, communications.

Sign contracts but never look at them again

The best technology partners have a commitment to the greater good of the relationship. There is a common understanding of the market and how to enter it. It doesn’t matter if partners step out of the bounds of the agreement. Both sides need to share the risks, power and agendas. If one of the parties starts to look at the clauses, it may be the beginning of the end.

Understand your partner’s roadmap

It is critical that you understand where your partners are headed in the next three to five years. If you are not both headed in the same direction, it will be a short-term partnership that delivers limited returns.

Make your partner successful

Above all else, you should be focused on making your partner successful. Enabling your partner to succeed will result in a strong co-operation and bigger returns for you in the long term.

Partnering is a critical element of our business and something I am passionate about promoting. If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch.

About the Author

Senior VP, Product & Business Strategy at Tata Communications

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