Understanding the Alliance

Because there are so many possible alliance options, IT should review and evaluate the specific alliance in question. When the organization first determines its business direction, IT should assess and understand top management's corporate prioritization for the alliance, as well as the financial aspects. While ideas are easy to develop, a successful alliance requires full corporate backing. For example, success is more likely if the CEOs have met and signed the deal, rather than vice-presidents ' authorization in one line of business. In addition, public relations must communicate to the marketplace about the alliance.

IT should also consider the other company, determining if it has experience with alliances or is subject to any special or sensitive issues. Different alliances have contracts with different requirements and success factors. Although work on the contract might be time-consuming and take attention from current work, knowing the terms of the agreement will be invaluable later on.

Due diligence work is typically required before a deal is signed. Companies look favorably on IT managers who offer to complete the IT due diligence section. In addition, IT managers might thereby meet counterparts with whom they will work during the alliance project. Examples of due diligence areas include the company background, terminology, competitors, types and volumes of data to share, timeliness of communications, and data definitions. Some industries have common file sharing formats and data definitions that can quickly bridge the data definition knowledge gap.

The due diligence process also involves clearly identifying the methods of data transfer, communication, and security between the alliance partners. It is important for the data to move smoothly, and that it be protected at all times. IT should not make assumptions about the communications hardware and software in the other organization. Furthermore, the organizations want to prepare beforehand, rather than straightening out incompatibilities while trying to process the data. The latter will not only cause frustration on both sides of the transactions, but can become critical if the difficulties involve the alliance's customers.

The organization's financial investment in the alliance project can reveal the criticality of the alliance. The importance can be gauged by comparing the project budget to the corporate budget, or the revenue projections to the corporate total.

In general, larger alliances can support more investment in infrastructure up front to set up the alliance. Smaller alliances must move quickly to prove themselves, in order to justify additional investment in infrastructure. Even in developing a shorter-term solution, however, it will still benefit IT to build a solution that can be built upon, rather than thrown away or replaced.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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