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Keeping Cool Amid Chaos in the Alliance Hot Seat

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 20, 2014
Originally posted on 3/6/2013

In trying to describe a “day in the life” of an alliance manager, Subhojit Roye, head of alliances at Infosys BPO Limited, came up with a number of metaphors: being in the “hot seat” in the alliance “situation room,” or feeling like “a gladiator in the ring,” among others.

“There were times I didn’t know what I was doing in a meeting, just going from one session to the next and having back-to-back conference calls,” he admitted. “It feels like a madhouse, each time you’re wearing a different hat, sometimes in the same meeting. Sometimes it’s just chaos. So how do I find a method in the madness?”

How indeed. Roye urged the 2013 ASAP Global Alliance Summit attendees to ask themselves the following questions in this “situation room”: Who am I inside? What role do I play? What game am I playing? And how do I play well?

In addition, a good alliance professional needs to be constantly switching gears—or hats—between the strategic, operational, and tactical levels. “Whatever you did at a transactional or deal level, what does it mean at a strategic level?” Roye explained.

Roye also mentioned the “IDEA” approach to the alliance life cycle: the acronym stands for Identify, Define, Establish, Assess.

A second acronym Roye presented was SMILES—a type of report that uncovers Suspects (potential new partners), Milestones (e.g. a product launch or event, or a partner moving to a new level in the alliance life cycle); Interactions (meetings or calls); Leads; Exits; and Successes. The use of SMILES makes for a unified way for alliance managers to report the status of their alliances, and serves as a framework for thinking and reporting.

Final questions Roye left the audience with were: What are the resources I have? Are these concepts relevant to my situation? If I’m starting from scratch, can I apply IDEA and SMILES as is? If not, can I modify my current systems? How elaborate does my system need to be? Finally, can I share my experience with my peers at ASAP?

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