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The Evolutionary Journey to 'The New Normal': Alliance Strategy for an Old School PharmaCo

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 20, 2014
Originally posted on 5/5/2014

“It's a bit of a journey,” Stuart Kliman, CA-AM, of Vantage Partners tells the audience in a session titled "Toward a New Normal" at the 2014 ASAP Global Alliance Summit. By now, we’re hooked. First, we listened as Karen Denton, CA-AM, Director of Alliances at Bayer HealthCare, revealed how her organization’s alliance mindset created problems with partnering. Now, we’re ready for the plot twist. Our presenters do not disappoint. “It's an evolution,” Karen continues. “We're not asking for big change within our company; we're asking them to move a bit so that the alliances can be improved."

Following Vantage’s recommendations helped Bayer improve its alliances and enable internal alliance capability. Vantage suggested Bayer’s alliance team:
  • Change the partnering focus & mindset,
  • Create flexibility & enable accommodation by driving mindset change top-down, modeling behavior and providing direct leadership for alliances,
  • Ensure appropriate resourcing: time, money, people,
  • Engage senior management,
  • Be the voice for the alliance partner’s interest,
  • Proactively manage contractual commitments,
  • Ensure contracts reflect current guidelines & key learnings for alliance implementation,
  • Ensure guidelines are implemented for all existing and new alliances in BHC,
  • Create individual alliance-by-alliance improvement plans, and
  • Let company size & relative importance of prospective partnering drive the alliance approach.
Karen reports that following this strategic approach helped Bayer move from a stopgap partnering ideology to a strategic partnering ideology. "Why wait for the problem to be critical before you make some sort of move," Karen asks. Bayer now uses partnering as a proactive strategy , rather than reactive.

Does this mean Bayer had to change its entire organization? Might you have to change your organization? Stu answers the obvious question with a suggestion. Acknowledge what you want, what you and your organization are not willing to compromise, and then ask this all-important question: Can we accommodate? It is possible to make accommodations proactively, rather than reactively.

"When you find yourself moving over to being significantly partnered, but you're a large company, something's got to give. You've gotta find a better way of making that internal and alliance strategy work in harmony,” Stu explains. “You have to find those accommodations, those strategies that are gonna work.”

To help you do just that, Vantage Partners has put together a survey for alliance professionals. Find the link to that survey, along with Stu’s hypotheses regarding alliance management today, in May's ASAP Member e-News.

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