Driving Innovation Through Successful Strategic Partnerships

Jean Loh

Strategic business partnerships have grown across sectors in recent years, driven by the benefits of risk sharing, resource pooling, and technology. It takes commitment and cooperation to build a durable, productive partnership, and companies looking to gain market share and a competitive edge must learn to partner effectively and intelligently.

Strong partnerships are a critical component for continued growth and business agility. Yet there is no guarantee that a partnership will succeed in providing the expected benefits to each party involved. In fact, a large number of partnerships fail to meet their goals. For partnerships to endure and thrive, companies need to pay attention to elements such as trust, recognizing and leveraging each other’s strengths, and developing programs and metrics that deliver quality results.

Guiding principles of strong partnerships

Let’s look at the advantages of strong partnerships. First, partnering provides an opportunity for firms to expand into new markets and generate new revenue sources. Second, by working together, partners can combine their strengths in key functional areas such as product development, marketing, sales, and service delivery while bridging or filling the gap in areas of weakness to provide a broader array of services. Third, it allows the partners to spread their risks and gain benefit from larger-scale efficiencies.

A number of factors contribute to the strength and durability of a relationship between organizations. No partnership can exist for very long unless it has a strong and meaningful value proposition for each party. By clearly realizing the benefits, partners are more likely to stay committed and make the necessary adjustments or compromises to make it work. The Accenture–SAP partnership, for instance, is a strategic services alliance that has delivered significant results over a number of years. The Accenture–SAP partnership demonstrates the value of building trust over time through the sharing of ideas and know-how, open communication about expectations, and development of common core values and goals. For years, the companies have relied upon each other for assistance and support, including financial investments.

The fundamental objective of the alliance has always been to leverage each other’s complementary capabilities to deliver the SAP software solutions that best meet their client’s needs. But these objectives have evolved as the relationship has matured to match shifting market dynamics. Today, to be consistent with the companies’ overarching visions, the alliance is aiming to help clients become “high-performance organizations.

Building on mutual trust and strengths

In today’s business environment, creating high-performance companies means a shift from simply implementing ERP systems to providing clients with distinctive capabilities to outperform their competitors. For that reason, generating new, innovative solutions together is another important objective of the alliance. Through Accenture and SAP Business Solutions Group, a co-innovation solution development partnership, each company provides new ideas or insights to one another with respect to solutions and technology advances.

The Accenture Finance Transformation Solution, developed for the SAP HANA platform, is an excellent example of this partnership. SAP HANA, with its in-memory processing, performs calculations around liquidity and analytics in close to real time, while Accenture offers rigor around the quality, timeliness, and level of clean and reliable data coming in. The solution is designed to help financial firms such as banks, insurance companies, and reinsurers close their books faster and deliver more reliable financial data earlier.

This is just one example of a strategic partnership built on trust and mutual strengths, resulting in solutions that can empower companies to become high-performance organizations – and even change the dynamics of the marketplace.

Everyone says they’re looking for a digital transformation, but how many people know what that means? For deeper insight, read What Is Digital Transformation?


Jean Loh

About Jean Loh

Jean Loh is the director, Global Audience Marketing at SAP. She is an experienced marketing and communication professional, currently responsible for developing thought leadership content that is unbiased and audience-led while addressing market challenges to illuminate and solve the unmet needs of CFOs, CIOs, and the wider global finance and IT audience.