Not every company will have a Joint Portfolio, but if you do, this article gives some guidance.
“My model of business is the Beatles… great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs
How do you create propositions with your partners?
I emphasised in an earlier post on Solutions, that for each solution you need solution- and audience-specific messaging, so your salesforce and partners will rapidly see the value of the proposition to their customers. We’ve found that the best way to address this is through a series of workshops. In a workshop we can we quickly resolve any differences and ensure agreement and alignment. This contrasts to the drawn-out process that results from dialogue via email and unstructured meetings. We strongly recommend that you use facilitated workshops, as it increases commitment from all the parties involved and expedites progress. And most importantly, you should also ensure you test the propositions internally before talking to customers.
What is a Joint Portfolio?
If your partnerships are aimed at creating new products or propositions, you need to develop your joint solutions and/or propositions once your partners are on board. You would normally complete this activity prior to taking the solution to market, although occasionally it makes sense to involve a customer first. Correctly managed, that can focus and speed the process. [The Expertek Partnership Framework does not cover the product development in detail – there are established processes for this].
It is also important to test your proposition at the earliest stage possible and certainly before you make any significant investment. The Joint Proposition development should normally be matched by a joint business case which ensures both (or all) parties can agree that the solution is viable. One advantage of using a third-party is that they can develop your Joint Business Case without divulging the specific costs incurred by each party. This might well be an area of sensitivity early in the relationship.
Why do you need a Joint Portfolio?
Even where the solution development investment is relatively modest, it is still vital to have a formal process for developing and documenting the proposition. Without this, the resources expended in creating and developing the relationship may be wasted. The proposition/portfolio creation process ensures there is alignment between the partners in the areas of:
- Understanding the problem
- The market requirements
- Targeting customers
It is not just a documentation process. It’s a way of capturing and aligning the Intellectual Property (IP) and strategic perspectives of the partners.
We have found that a Joint Business Case helps to align the aspirations and commitment of the parties involved. The business case also ensures that realistic expectations are set with senior sponsors; this should avoid conflict and lack of support as the partnership develops.
What are the key activities?
Joint Value Proposition
This is the documentation of the proposition or propositions from the partnership, which may range from your proposition with a service wrap, to a new solution formed from both partners’ capabilities.
Joint Business Case
The creation of a business case for developing the solution – from the point of view of both/all parties. It defines the commercial costs and benefits of the relationship. The business case can be based on the whole relationship or a specific project or proposition.