Forecast: Alliances Will Increase In 2004

By John S. McClenahen As companies turn away from cost cutting to growing their business in 2004, there will be a "modest" increase in the number of marketing and other kinds of alliances, predicts Larraine Segil, a Los Angeles-based partner at Vantage Partners, a Boston-based consulting firm specializing in business relationships. For example, she foresees marketing and promotion alliances increasing for "consumer-facing" industries as brands and differentiation through branding become more important. And she expects "an increasing number" of competing IT companies to form alliances -- especially as companies go about the work of securing and delivering complex service deals. Segil does offer a cautionary note, however. "Most companies . . . will hesitate to make significant investments right away. They will wait for evidence of continued economic recovery."

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