[Excerpted from the forthcoming Q1 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine]
What I enjoy most about the ASAP community is its raw intellectual rigor. It’s a real-life university on the leading edge of business practice—where the average grade is just 53%, based on success rates. It takes big thinking, by big thinkers—as well as professorial attention to the minutest detail—to succeed in the world of partnering, alliance management, and business collaboration.
Big ideas and the brains behind them converge in the pages of Strategic Alliance Magazine, at ASAP’s chapter and online events, and most powerfully at the annual ASAP Global Alliance Summit. As magazine publisher, moderator of many online events for ASAP, and frequent blogger on this site, I’ve gotten a good preview of what our community’s leading thinkers and practitioners will be talking about March 2-5 in Orlando. Two key discussion threads:
1. Strategy, sales, and revenue. Now partnering often gets its full due in “build, buy, or ally?” strategic decisions. But that puts alliance and partnering executives (many who also work in merger integration) on the spot: partnerships must deliver the goods and much more consistently fulfill their strategic intent. Yes, our well-developed alliance management practices and toolkits still matter, say Jan Twombly, CSAP, and Jeff Shuman, CSAP, Ph.D., in their January ASAP webinar and forthcoming summit session. But, they argue, our minds, skills, and tools must be leveraged much more strategically to improve our success managing mission-critical alliances, partner portfolios, and ecosystems. And what they say can be done. In one real-life case study about pushing alliance practice to that strategic level, Mission Pharmacal President Terry Herring will talk about restructuring a family-owned pharma company into a partnering—and sales—powerhouse.
Indeed, sales and revenue matter more than ever to alliance executives—and conversely, business development and sales are rapidly morphing into highly collaborative functions that require business skills long since honed by the alliance management profession. In recent ASAP webinars and Strategic Alliance Magazine articles, Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, and Dede Haas, CSAP, have honed in on the rapid convergence of practice between alliance and channel sales management—and Haas will join Ann Trampas, CSAP, to share their latest findings during a special 90-minute workshop at the summit.
2. Entrepreneurial business models and complex collaborations. Multiparty and coopetition alliances, cross-sector partnering, ecosystem management, and other sorts of complex, multiplayer collaborative models come to the fore at this year’s summit. These aren’t just big concepts—we’re now in the thick of actually managing (with increasing sophistication) these highly complex and chaotic types of partnering models. Two keynotes and multiple summit sessions delve deeply into cutting-edge models and how they play out in practice. Talk about big thinking: How about multi-party, multi-sector, coopetition partnerships tackling global health challenges—and government partnering with entrepreneurs to send tourists and asteroid miners into space?
Partnering and alliance management are truly in the thick of the fray in business—and the prominence of our role continues to grow in our companies and organizations. That’s why learning and events in the ASAP community remain so vital and relevant to our daily work. We, the professors and student-practitioners of partnering and alliance management, must keep on our toes—with one eye on the big picture and one focused on each pixel. Or you can bet some really smart millennial or entrepreneur will be stomping our toes and filling our shoes.
About the 2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit
Held this year on March 2-5 at Hyatt Regency Orlando, the annual ASAP Global Alliance Summit is the world’s largest gathering of alliance, partnering, and business collaboration professionals. For more information or to register for this year’s summit, visit www.asapweb.org/summit. And be sure to visit this blog frequently during and after the Summit for the ASAP Media team’s live blog coverage of many event sessions.