Study Center

Certification Prep Guide

An overview of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals Credentials for CA-AM and CSAP. How to qualify, how to register, and what to expect when taking the exams. (download 99.9 KB)

Study References

A compendium of reference reading available through Phoenix Consulting Group, the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionsals (membership required for access) and on the web at large. (download 93.7KB)

Glossary of Terms

Definition of terms in alliance management as they are commonly used in the profession and in the context of the ASAP certification exams. (download 67.7 KB)

Self-Assessment Tool

A skills inventory tool that will aid you in determining where your strengths, weaknesses and gaps are in alliance management competencies.  (download 81.5 KB)

Reference Readings

A collection of readings from leading authors in the profession to help you study on major aspects of alliance management. 

Optimizing your Return on Relationship: Building Value Creating Alliances, 2012

Author: Norma Watenpaugh, Phoenix Consulting Group

(download 411 KB)

Gone are the days when merely a good relationship could be considered the primarygoal of alliance management. If your alliance is aligned to strategic objectives of the organization, then performance to those objectives is the true measure of an alliance. While it is important as good business managers that we understand the return on investment on our partnerships and alliances, it is also important to understand that viable, sustainable partnerships are based on a more complex value proposition. They are not just a deal. A winning value proposition isn’t just a two way proposition. It is a three way proposition ‐ one that includes not only your partner, but also your joint customer. In order to optimize your Return on Relationship™, you must understand how you are creating value for customers, your partner, as well as for your organization. 

Which Metrics Matter? High Performing Alliances Keep a Close Eye on the Strategic Intent of the Partnership, 2011

Author: Norma Watenpaugh, Phoenix Consulting Group

(download 1.2 MB)

Strategic intent and financials are performance outcomes of successful alliances. But using only these metrics is like using only the rearview mirror to navigate your car. They tell you the success of past actions, but they do not help alliance managers optimize future performance. This study examined best practices over 104 high-tech alliances and separated performing and non-performing alliances for comparison. There were distinct differences in what the high-performing alliances measured versus those that fell short of their objectives.

Alliance Culture: It’s in the DNA. 2010

Authors: Ard-Pieter de Man,  Professor of Management Studies at the VU University Amsterdam and Principal Consultant at Atos Consulting and Dave Luvison, professor at the Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University

(download 131 KB)

Why are some companies more successful with alliances than others? Because some companies have built up an alliance capability. They have invested in tools, skills and processes that support alliance management. Recent ASAP studies have shown that companies that invest more in alliance management than others have higher alliance success rates. However, one element was missing in those studies: the soft aspects of alliance management. This white paper gives insight into these soft elements of alliance management. Based on the alliance literature, interviews with managers and a large scale survey among the ASAP membership, we developed a method for measuring alliance culture which will enable companies to measure and benchmark their alliance cultures.

Managing Alliances with the Balanced Score Card, 2010

Authors: Robert S. Kaplan, David P. Norton, and Bjarne Rugelsjoen

(download 619 KB)

The balanced scorecard management system can help companies switch their alliance management focus from contributions and operations to strategy and commitment. This paper describes how the balanced scorecard (BSC) management system helps companies create better alignment with their alliance partners. Drawing on the experience of two strategic partners, it demonstrates how applications of BSC techniques  can clarify strategy, drive behavioral change, and provide a governance system for strategy execution.

Effective Executive Sponsorship, 2010

Author: Norma Watenpaugh, Phoenix Consulting Group

(download 72 KB)

Executive sponsorship is commonly acknowledged as one of the most critical factors for alliance success. This applies not only to individual alliances but also relates to how well an organization can realize value from all their partner relationships i.e., how well does a company partner. A successful alliance program begins at the top with the support of the CEO.  Like many other things, the CEO influences company culture, models the behavior, and sets the priorities in collaborative relationships.  CEO support and that of the CXO staff fosters the environment where alliances can thrive and deliver results. 

 Partner Health Diagnostic

Author: Norma Watenpaugh, Phoenix Consulting Group

(download1.8 MB )

Partner health diagnostics are a proven best practice, lending insight into how well an alliance is functioning in many dimensions. The ultimate goal of a diagnostic is to improve alliance relationships and performance by acting on objective feedback. The diagnostic enables the alliance leader to:

  •  Understand critical success factors for alliance performance from the perspective of the both alliance teams – a bilateral view.
  • Gain insight and perceptions of key alliance stakeholders regarding the health and value of Company’s most important relationships.
  • Address relationship issues before they impact performance.
  • Strengthen alliance teams through collaborative problem solving that will result in far-reaching benefits in alliance performance.
  • Identify opportunities to leverage into competitive advantage.

 Alliance Governance: Balancing Control, Trust and Risk, 2007

Authors: Ard-Pieter de Man, Professor of Management Studies at the VU University Amsterdam and Principal Consultant at Atos Consulting and Nadine Roijakkers, Business Consultant with Atos Consulting.

(download 226 KB)

Control and trust are usually seen as opposing or irreconcilable elements in alliance governance. A fine-grained analysis of alliance governance structures shows, however, that companies realize different levels of control and trust by applying multiple governance mechanisms simultaneously. These mechanisms include contracts, equity, alliance boards, incentives, formalization, change management and optimization. In control based governance these elements are applied in a different way than in trust based governance. For example, the alliance board will govern the alliance with direct supervision when control based governance is used, whereas it will govern the alliance at arm's length when governance is based on trust. This paper also shows that the choice for more emphasis on control over trust (or vice versa) in an alliance relationship is explained by the mix of relational and performance risk an alliance faces.

Managing an Alliance Portfolio, 2002

Authors: James Bamford and David Ernst

(download 169 KB)

At a time when alliances are increasingly important, underinvesting in efforts to measure their performance isn’t a realistic choice.  The authors have found it useful to include four dimensions of performance fitness: financial, strategic, operational, and relationship. Financial and strategic metrics show how the alliance is performing and whether it is meeting its goals—but may not provide enough insight into exactly what, if anything, isn’t going well. Operational and relationship metrics can help reveal the causes of problems and uncover the first signs of trouble. Together, the four dimensions of performance create an integrated picture that has proved invaluable to the relatively few companies that have used them to measure the health of alliances.

Phoenix Rising Blog

Leveraging Partner ROI

Posted on 9/15/2014

Partnering Return on Investment is often quite attractive since the investment in a partnered initiative is shared.  In other words half of the resources or costs are on your partner’s balance sheet.  There are other organizational... Read More


Alliances for Competitive Advantage

Posted on 9/14/2014

Creating Business Value for CustomersCreating a competitive edge is crucial for all businesses and can be achieved through alliances. Alliances can also be a defensive measure in countering a competitive shortfall such as a gap in a company... Read More


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