This week our company will be announcing a new expansion of our Compliance library with the addition of comprehensive Settlement data for almost all jurisdictions across the country.

While we have continually worked to improve and expand the WCR product since its launch in 2007, the real story here is the strategic partnership behind the data itself. With this expansion we have an example of a model that should be embraced by more entities within the workers comp industry. In today’s ever competitive environment, it is the strategic partnership that rules the day.

I have written numerous times about the National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network. It is no secret I have tremendous respect for the organization and its members. The NWCDN is a legal resource network that now has representative law firms in more than 45 states and Canada. We have long partnered with this group by promoting their free educational conferences, and they have been an excellent sounding board for particular WCR compliance questions that arise for various jurisdictions. This particular addition, however, is a greater example of what organizations can accomplish when they have common goals with the absence of conflicting interests.

It represents, as far as I am concerned, the path to success for many of us in an increasingly chaotic economy.

Strategic Partnerships are an ideal way to create the ultimate “win-win” scenario, in that appropriate participants can optimize their services while minimizing redundant practices. With the NWCDN, our interests and audience align, but our services are vastly different. We do not provide legal representation, but do provide the most extensive workers’ compensation compliance system available to assist employers, TPA’s and carriers. The law firm members that comprise the NWCDN can provide quality legal representation to those same users, and providing key support information helps familiarize our subscriber base with their expertise. As I have often said about this relationship, “We are dancing with the same people, but not at the same time”.

Of course, our subscriber base wins from this type of relationship as well, since they benefit from an ever more robust Compliance research system.

Many companies in the industry do benefit from these types of arrangements. If your company is not currently engaged in mutually cooperative partnerships, they should consider doing so.  Look through the vast array of vendors and suppliers that serve the workers' comp market. I am sure you will find companies that are not competitors, but serve the same market. Ask yourself what you and your company have to offer, and what complementary firm could benefit from that service?

It is important to remember that any strategic alliance MUST have mutual benefit. We are approached constantly by people, who tell us that we should run specific content they provide, simply because they think it would be “great for our users”. All too often it is content or information that simply benefits the person or company promoting it. We have no shortage of people willing to use our market position and industry penetration for their specific benefit, without an investment or mutual contribution on their part. Those are not the Strategic Partnerships to which I refer – in fact, they are not partnerships at all.

Much of the data and work behind WCR is home grown – we've built it on our own. We realize, for the future, that we can do both. We will continue to build and improve our offerings of our own effort, but also through quality associations that benefit all involved. We are talking with other players currently that generally fit this scenario, and I am convinced that together, with the right partners, Strategic Alliances will ultimately take us across the finish line.

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