A strategic partner can provide real benefits for companies, especially where there is a strong fit in the goals and motivations between the businesses. At Coplus we operate as a strategic partner to deliver services on behalf of others, and also work strategically with partners acting on our behalf. These relationships are vital for us. In fact we view strategic partnerships, and our ability to develop and sustain these relationships, as a key differentiator for our own business, and consider it in itself an important capability.
Of course, all relationships require mutual understanding and trust; no-one wants to work with a person or company which they feel doesn’t represent their interests, but for us the strategic partner relationship is deeper and more intrinsically linked than a typical supplier-customer relationship.
In a strategic relationship there is alignment of goals and a co-ordinated approach to delivering on those goals. The factors in developing strategic partnerships we consider most important are:
What are your unique capabilities? Conducting an honest appraisal of your company’s strengths and weaknesses and understanding of how you differ from the rest of the market.
Where do you want to go and what do you need to get there? A strategic partnership could be a solution to expanding your capabilities but you would equally consider if the capabilities could be built from within your existing operation.
Do you have current supplier relationships that could be developed further? You can build on the existing understanding and trust between your companies. If it’s a completely new focus then which companies in the market share a similar culture and have the necessary skills and capabilities to enhance your offer?
Sometimes you may set out in this way to find strategic partners, or perhaps these develop over time. At Coplus we’ve been fortunate to have worked with some of our partners for over 10 years. Strategic alignment has materialised from these relationships, with new services being developed by Coplus which benefit not only our partner and us, but our other customers too.
However, new relationships can be just as successful if a shared understanding and trust exists. For us this is about really understanding what we are good at, and then working with similar businesses equally competent at their specialism to make the overall offer very compelling.
This article first appeared in Modern Insurance Magazine issue 39.