To guide technology leaders in creation of an association focused on marketing and certification of an IEEE specification.
In 2008, member companies active in the IEEE 802.1 Audio/Video Bridging (AVB) Task Group—since renamed the Time-Sensitive Networking Task Group—approached VTM Group requesting counsel. The companies sought to establish an association that could advance the AVB specification within various application industries through an active marketing effort and reliable certification program.
In light of these goals, the group needed to have an infrastructure rigid enough to support their mission of a successful certification program, but flexible enough to withstand the natural evolution of an association in the technical standards industry. The nature of a collaborative organization lends itself to fluidity in terms of volunteer resources; technological development; and economic influences, any of which could quickly curtail success of the organization. As an additional element, AVB technology enhances applications within a broad spectrum of markets, including automotive, consumer/home, and professional A/V. Each market drives their own timelines and definition of success which further underscored the importance of a strong foundation to support the technology’s broad reach in a holistic manner.
A seasoned VTM Group leader specializing in association creation served as the project lead, counseling the founding member companies through the development and execution of an effective formation strategy. The VTM Group-driven strategy included various elements such as the careful assessment of the application markets’ profiles, creation of necessary policies and procedures considering those profiles, and sourcing of complementary business service experts (e.g., financial, legal, membership coordination). The VTM Group project lead pulled from their extensive history with organizations to counsel the founders on best practices to meet the identified needs of the organization, including:
- Funding and Membership Levels
- What funds would be needed to meet the goals of the alliance
- How to structure membership tiers and associated benefits and dues
- VTM guidance resulted in a fee structure that provided a value-add to members while ensuring the Alliance had adequate funds to fulfill its mission
- Governing Documents (Bylaws, IPR Policy, etc.)
- The VTM project lead provided guidance on best known methods for critical business elements encapsulated in the governing documents, including Board size, election processes, quorum considerations, banking requirements, and work group considerations to name a few.
- VTM Group recommended to the organization founders specialized legal counsel who could cost-effectively offer targeted guidance on Bylaws and an IPR Policy that would balance the rights of individual member companies with those of the organization.
- Messaging & Communication Cohesion
- The Alliance’s VTM Group partner worked with founders to coalesce differing views on organization mission and scope by facilitating one-on-one and collaborative working sessions.
- VTM Group led the founders through messaging exercises to develop collateral aimed at prospective members and industry stakeholders alike, including white papers, FAQs, and website content targeting their broad market segments.
Partnering with the founding member companies, VTM Group’s support extended to include logistically driving infrastructure development and processes deployment as well. The Alliance’s final infrastructure framework included:
- External Communications Policies
- Liaison Engagement Process
- Public Quotes Process
- Membership Activities and Management Policies
- Membership Application Process
- Guidelines for Member Representation at Events
- Financial Policies and Procedures
- Accounts Receivable/Payable Processing
- Budgeting and Cash Projections
- Financial Commitments
- Vendor Management
- Workgroup Operating Procedures
The Alliance successfully launched in mid-2009. Since then, they have experienced consistent growth of over 20% each year and in 2014 were well past ten times the original founding membership. Their focus on creation of a superior certification program with a complementary logo program and market-specific requirement documents coupled with ongoing recruitment and retention efforts has been key to their success. The organization has experienced natural ebbs and flows in volunteer management and resource availability as they worked toward these goals; however, the infrastructure strategized by the VTM Group expert—in partnership with the founding members—has provided a clear path for continued momentum.
“Choosing to work with VTM was one of the best decisions we made as an organization, especially during the early days of formation. Our account manager was knowledgeable, attentive, and personable, and was vital to us successfully navigating the crucial early stages. Her strategic guidance and industry insight enabled us to build a foundation for AVnu’s success not just in the first year, but throughout all stages of the organization lifecycle,” Rick Kreifeldt, AVnu Alliance President and Chairman of the Board.