Strategic Alliances: Looking to the Past for Greater Future Opportunities

Rapid advancements in technology have changed the way strategic alliances are born, managed, and terminate. This inevitable evolution has led to valuable alliance-based benefits, such as streamlined and time-efficient processes, more opportunities for growth in individual businesses and their joint market, and the ability to increase customer relations. It is also important to understand the history behind these alliances. Oftentimes, an old process can lend invaluable balance to its evolved counterpart.

What is a strategic alliance?

Strategic alliances are forged between two business entities that share similar goals, objectives, and markets, yet lack vital assets to meet them.

Companies create alliances to benefit both parties by equally sharing resources and ideas to spur innovation and growth. Yet, both parties have the option to remain separate entities instead of legally joining, such as business ventures.

What’s the history?

Alliances, especially strategic business alliances, are not new trends. This type of enterprise collaboration has been occurring for many years, spanning back as far as the Dutch guilds in the 17th century. The reason for their existence has evolved.

Between the 1970’s and the 1980’s, the focus of strategic alliances changed from simple product quality, exchanging or obtaining hard to acquire, expensive, or high quality raw materials, to more of an economic stimulus. During this time, hugely profitable strategic alliances were born, such as the alliance between Canon and Kodak; or Toshiba and Motorola; or IBM and Microsoft.

After the 1990’s, with the international marketing booming, strategic alliances began to take a swift turn towards the need for newer, better, and more shocking product. As technology took root as an integral part of business success, many entities turned towards strategic alliances in order to simply keep up with the advancing market. Simply put, alliances began to become centered on continuous and collaborative innovation.

This trend has continued to burgeon as businesses become even more deeply entrenched and intertwined with technology. Oftentimes, a businesses success depends on their utilization of technological resources from in-house financial, management, and inventory programs, to user-friendly websites, to computer driven registers.

Why look to the past?

Strategic alliances are hugely beneficial business ventures. Yet, it’s easy to narrow focus and therefore waylay potential opportunities unless there is a full understanding of how alliances can be fully used.

By looking at the history of strategic alliances, entities can build from pre-established maneuvers. Innovation is key for success, yet why stop there? What about exchanging materials, blueprints, or even evaluating how different products interact or can be combined?

Innovation comes in many forms. By understanding the history behind the great success of strategic alliances, many joint entities can find even greater benefits.

3rd Eagle is a boutique consulting firm that specializes in various aspects of business start-ups and ventures including aiding in the kindling, building, and sustaining of positive business alliances, partnerships, and generative collaborations. For more information, contact us.

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