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Smart Alliances: A Practical Guide to Repeatable Success (J-B BAH Strategy & Business Series) Hardcover – 25 Sep 1998

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 170 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (25 Sept. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787943266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787943264
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 2 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 746,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"An extraordinarily practical guide to making alliances work. Highly recommended to anyone at the sharp end of a strategic alliance." –Gary Hamel, associate professor, London Business School, and coauthor, Competing for the Future "Harbison and Pekar bring substance and depth to a topic that has all too often been discussed in mere platitudes. Their advice on how to manage cross–border alliances in a rapidly changing global economy is essential reading." –John A. Quelch, Sebastian S. Kreske Professor of Marketing, Harvard University "As the president of an association that endeavors to provide our membership with practical guidelines for alliances, I found this book to be one of the best guides on the subject–clearly pointing out the successful as well as the unsuccessful routes to higher return on equity through alliances." –Charles H. Conner, president, Association for Corporate Growth "John Harbison and Peter Pekar have assembled a decade of their writings and consulting experience on alliances into a fascinating manual. Direct and comprehensive, their book represents an unusual combination of thoughtful analysis and pragmatic advice." –Bruce Kogut, Dr. Felix Zandman Professor of International Management, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

From the Inside Flap

In the old days–the 1980s–a company that lacked a competitive capability could either develop it internally or gain it via acquisition. Today, the speed of business has accelerated to such a rate that companies no longer have the time to secure such crucial capabilities using either of those methods. The solution? Alliances. And yet, surveys of CEOs show that the lack of know–how for forming lasting alliances is one of the biggest gaps in business knowledge. Even in companies with successful experiences, the learning often fails to filter down past the senior level.In 1988, Booz∗∗Allen & Hamilton, one of the top management consulting firms in the world, became aware of the problem. Since then, the firm has become renowned for gathering the best thinking on alliance building from companies in every major industry around the globe. Now, in Smart Alliances, two of Booz∗∗Allen′s senior consultants distill that knowledge into an eight–step plan for building and sustaining strategic alliances at every level of the company.From identifying opportunities to mapping objectives to planning and implementing compatible partnerships, they share the secrets of how alliances can be used to take a company global–through the success stories of corporate legAnds like Corning, Ford, and Hewlett–Packard in regions as diverse as Europe, Japan, and India.But authors Harbison and Pekar go far beyond the anecdotal. Using firsthand experience, in–depth interviews, and a wealth of collective research on more than 6,000 international alliances, they put hard numbers to this increasingly vital strategic skill. Their best practices can help companies jump the learning curve and form the kind of sustained partnerships that make for repeatable success.

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First Sentence
It was a brisk November day at the Zhukovsky airfield outside Moscow as Sergei Borisov, a test for the Tupolev Design Bureau, taxied his Tu-144LL supersonic airliner to the end of the runway, nudged his throttles to full thrust, and held his breath as his aircraft took off. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Jun. 2000
Format: Hardcover
Having worked in M&A, this book is neither worthy of vocational nor academic merit. The research by Booz-Allen is hugely flawed and the analysis that much worse. This is a pitiful book unworthy of anyone's money. I would have given it no stars if the option was available.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Rosini on 28 Dec. 2004
Format: Hardcover
While the authors may have a good understanding of how to build a good strategic alliance, they clearly have no clue on how to write a useful book about it. It has large fonts, lots of useless tables and pie charts a wide white spaces - edited differently it would not have had 170 pages, possibly no more than 60.
It is a dry report of interviews with BAH customers, with the occasional name dropping and some lame scenarios. There are some pages in the end where some best practices are discussed but it's not much and there is no mention of "when things go bad". I would recommend Guy Kawasaki's "The Art of the Start" chapter on partnering and alliances instead of this book.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Nov. 1998
Format: Hardcover
Booz.Allen & Hamilton consultants John Harbison and Peter Pekar make a compelling case for the following:
(1) Strategic alliances have consistently produced a return on investment that is 50% more than the average on investment that the companies produce overall.
(2) There is a positive correlation between experience in alliances and return on investment per alliance. In other words, there is an experience curve that one needs to go through.
The ambitious goal of this book is captured by its title: provide leaders with a repeatable, pragmatic framework for alliance planning and implementation. Through this framework, the experience curve might be shortened.
The framework is based on the authors' consulting experiences as well as surveys of more than five hundred major corporations.
From a Board of Director perspective, alliances create value but how the investment community reacts to alliances will vary depending on the structure of the alliance and the industry within which the alliance is formed. Pages 85-86 offer a useful framework for Board members when questioning CEOs about alliance efforts.
Based on our own experiences in developing an alliance of international firms offering senior level career consulting services as ours, we think the book is a useful addition to your bookshelf.
But it is a dry, abstract book.
In relation to our own experience, we think the authors did not devote enough space to the unanticipated pleasant and unpleasant conceptual leaps that one must make in day-to-day alliance work. The term "transfer of technology" does not capture these unanticipated leaps.
For example, we had certain expectations about an alliance we formed in 1987.
Read more ›
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Nov. 1998
Format: Hardcover
This thoroughly researched book validates what alliance practioners have learned through hard, grueling, trial and error work. And it offers several surprising, helpful insights as well.
Pekar's extensive inventory of alliance best practices referred to in the book baits a reader for his sequel, in order to learn more about the way alliances really work best!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 28 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
High level introductory text 28 Jan. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is targeted to large traditional corporations - not the "new economy" companies that are doing a lot of the alliances these days.
It also lacks depth, providing only an outline of the Booze Hamilton approach to alliances. The book is a sales tool in that if you want to learn all the details of their process, you must buy an engagement in addition to the book.
So, if you are with a large corporation, skip the book and call a consultant. If you are in the new economy skip the book.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Lite-weight with no real substance 30 April 1999
By Mojo Master - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Covers the subject at a very high level with lots of consultant charts, tables and matrices. Great stuff if you need to fill a presentation with a lot of fluff. Deffinitely a teaser for a Booz&Allen consulting gig. You get a glimps of their template tools and lots of reference to how effective they are. Some interesting reading regarding major corporate alliance success stories, but never much drill-down. This book is targeted for the completely clueless exec, the dilentante on a long flight, any consultant-type who wants to look like they know something, or the B-school prof who adds this title to his supplemental reading list. Not recommended if you are the one who needs to make an alliance happen at your company. Let me know if there exist a more hands-on guide to making alliances happen.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Intro Text 31 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I gave this book 2 stars rather than 1, as it is a decent introductory text (with its share of fluff) with a couple of good charts (though a preponderance of "filler" charts). However, the book is a thinly disguised publicity push of Booz Allen (and a few others). And the book is impractical since it is virtually devoid of tools--rather useless for the professional. Caveat emptor.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
a bit dry but very, very useful 5 Nov. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Booz.Allen & Hamilton consultants John Harbison and Peter Pekar make a compelling case for the following:
(1) Strategic alliances have consistently produced a return on investment that is 50% more than the average on investment that the companies produce overall.
(2) There is a positive correlation between experience in alliances and return on investment per alliance. In other words, there is an experience curve that one needs to go through.
The ambitious goal of this book is captured by its title: provide leaders with a repeatable, pragmatic framework for alliance planning and implementation. Through this framework, the experience curve might be shortened.
The framework is based on the authors' consulting experiences as well as surveys of more than five hundred major corporations.
From a Board of Director perspective, alliances create value but how the investment community reacts to alliances will vary depending on the structure of the alliance and the industry within which the alliance is formed. Pages 85-86 offer a useful framework for Board members when questioning CEOs about alliance efforts.
Based on our own experiences in developing an alliance of international firms offering senior level career consulting services as ours, we think the book is a useful addition to your bookshelf.
But it is a dry, abstract book.
In relation to our own experience, we think the authors did not devote enough space to the unanticipated pleasant and unpleasant conceptual leaps that one must make in day-to-day alliance work. The term "transfer of technology" does not capture these unanticipated leaps.
For example, we had certain expectations about an alliance we formed in 1987.
These expectations materialized but only weakly.
On the other hand, the alliance created opportunities we had not planned for. These opportunities included leveraging our participating in the original alliance to yet another alliance that was even more fruitful. The alliance forced us to create new services and gained leverage in areas unrelated to the original alliance objectives.
We call these events happy surprises.
Both the happy surprises and the unhappy surprises are worthy of more mention.
They are one of the reasons to enter alliances.....and one of the reasons to be careful about them!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Must Read For Those Considering Strategic Alliances 8 May 1999
By Mark L - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Smart Alliances is a must read for those looking for new ways of creating value within their organizations. The book does an excellent job of showing statistics and considerations which support a case for using alliances as a means of leveraging upon existing company strengths. In addition the book has a good roadmap of issues that should be considered in the process. We work in helping companies to create successful alliances and encourage our clients to read this book for confirmation that they are pursing the right strategic approach for the right reasons.
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