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Relationships: Currency of the Channel

Posted By Diana L. Mirakaj | President and Chief Operating Officer of The 2112 Group, Thursday, April 28, 2016

Of all the things the channel brings to technology vendors’ table, including market reach and vertical expertise, among them, perhaps the most valuable is partners' longstanding relationships with end-user customers. 

Built on trust and knowledge, those relationships are worth their weight in gold. If there's one person on a vendor's team who can safeguard all parties involved receive maximum benefit throughout the sales process, it's the channel account manager (CAM). As the chief liaison between a vendor and its channel partners, a CAM can nurture and enable solution providers, help them gain clarity on the value proposition of a vendor's product or service and guide them in areas like marketing, where they may not be as strong as they would like. 

To bring out the best in partners and maximize their ability to leverage customer relationships, vendors and their CAMs should set measurable goals; provide constant feedback and review partner performance and channel-program reward structures periodically. 

Read the full 2112 Group article, Relationships: Currency of the Channel.

ASAP Corporate Member, EPPP and guest blogger, Diana L. Mirakaj is president and chief operating officer of The 2112 Group.

Tags:  best practices  CAM  Channel  channel business  customer relationships  Diana L. Mirakaj  end-user customers  IT Channel  partners  solution providers  The 2112 Group  vendors 

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New Interactive Summit Session Allows Participants to “Spin the Globe” for Intensive Study of Regional Cultures Around the World

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Friday, April 15, 2016

ASAP introduced a thought-provoking session at the March 2016 Global Alliance Summit that allowed attendees to “spin the globe” and finger regions of interest for cultural exploration. Designed to help alliance managers glimpse the importance of understanding cultural nuances, “Alliances Around the World: Cultural Roundtables” provided insights and tips on doing your homework before stepping into a partnering venture that’s sometimes halfway around the globe. 

Deftly moderated by Philip Sack, CSAP, president of ASAP’s Asia Collaborative Business Community, the two-hour session that took place at “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland, was co-presented by three knowledgeable alliance managers: China was covered by Andrew Yeomans, CSAP, director of alliance management, biopharma business, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany; India was covered by Subhojit Roye, CSAP of Tradeshift; Latin America was covered by Guarino Gentil Jr., CA-AM of Serono, a healthcare division of Merck.

The next issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine will feature the first of several articles written about the roundtables—a virtual collective deep dive led by Yeomans and his Chinese partner, Jin Wu, who works for Serono (a healthcare division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany) in China. The article takes readers into the nuances, taboos, and norms of doing business in China, via a roundtable discussion, with the roundtables for India and Latin America following in a subsequent issue.

“What’s needed for success, in general, has to do with people and relationships,” summarized Sack when introducing the session. After describing the need for partnering with cultural sensitivity in our fast-merging world, he provided a very basic list applicable to anyone doing business in any country:

  • Be an active listener
  • Communicate well—be a good speaker
  • Be patient

Attendees then selected a region, and eventually rotated throughout the room engaging in regional exchanges led by the remaining two co-presenters. The animated discussions included multiple questions and answers from the co-presenters and participants on topics ranging from traditional values, social networks, and product approval processes to contracts, copyright, inflation, and state-by-state legal variances.

The co-presenters emphasized the value of developing appropriate soft skills, such as understanding what is important in a particular culture: holidays, seniority, punctuality—or in some cultures a laid-back approach to time.

In China, for example, knowing how to socially negotiate the system of guanxi (the concept of drawing on connections in personal or business relations) is critical for access to Chinese markets. The guanxi business network is a web that interlinks thousands of social and business connections.

In India, it’s key to understand the lines of delineation and codes of conduct: a partner can become a competitor; a prospective acquisition target can end up assuming your company. In Latin America, effective communication requires easing into relationships with chitchat on personal issues because direct communication can be viewed as impolite.

Becoming attuned to legal, political, and structural differences in a country, region, or district is also advantageous. For example, taxes in Latin America can be very complicated. Several layers of tax fees exist, and Brazil can be especially complicated with different VAT taxes, each with its own rules. The taxes may vary product-to-product and state-to-state, explained Gentil.

In India, where software development has matured considerably, doing business in village areas requires sensitivity and insight into the caste system. “The caste of an individual could play an important part in success. It’s best to have the local country representative guide you,” advised Roye. “This needs to be done with extreme sensitivity as India is a democracy, and equality of opportunity is important.”

In China, it’s especially important to pay careful attention to the contract. One needs to consider the spirit as well as the letter of the contract and differing approaches to interpretation, said Yeomans. A lot of partnering is done with the Chinese government, and your goals for doing business need to be seen as adding value, "a kind of Robin Hood philosophy where the company is distributing for the human good, for humankind,” he added. “They would see that approach as an added value concept.” Negotiating the nuances of China “requires a huge amount of depth and understanding, and the key is to harness [the skills necessary for entering] the Chinese market.” 

Tags:  Alliance managers  Andrew Yeomans  China  cultural nuances  cultural sensitivity  guanxi business network  Guarino Gentil Jr.  India  Latin America  Merck KGaA  Merck Serono SA  negogiating  Philip Sack  Subhojit Roye  Tradeshift 

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ASAP’s New “Quick Takes” Explore Impact of IoT and Ecosystem Partnering—and Proves to Be a Highly Successful Format for Engaging 2016 Summit Participants

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson & John DeWitt, Friday, March 18, 2016

Some forms of communication are more effective than others. The “TED Talks” speaking format, for example, has drawn significant numbers of interested viewers for over 30 years. That is why ASAP decided to introduce its new “ASAP Quick Takes,” patterned after the “TED Talks,” unveiling them for the first time at the 2015 ASAP Biopharma Conference, and again, at the 2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit. 

The talks were a big hit and garnered lots of positive feedback. Such short talks are successful for several reasons: The message is sometimes simple, imaginative, and an easy take-away; the time limit of about 20 minutes forces speakers to distill the main points, which more-readily captivates the audience. 

Take, for example, John Bell’s “Quick Takes” talk where the marketing executive for strategy development at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health advised a collaborative approach: “Play in the sandbox. We are sitting on massive scale of opportunity to work in open innovation,” he said. “The toys must be shared. You can’t have it all your way, and you must behave yourself,” he added, while outlining the rules for success in today’s partnering environment. “Today, it’s a whole playground! Amusement parks, even. You can do many things [with] so many kids to play with. Which one would you choose, and why would they play with you?” he asked provocatively, prompting the audience to join him in the creative box for 20 minutes. 

Bell’s invitation was a terrific precursor to the talk by Larry Walsh, CEO of The 2112 Group and a well-known journalist, who asked the audience to join him in a virtual chess game. Strategy is a key component of success, he said. “Strategy is about making choices. If you fail to make choices, you often put yourself at risk,” he continued. “Lots of businesses say they make choices, but they are consumed by revenue generation and don’t discriminate between good and bad decisions. They also fail to anticipate. This is where surveying the landscape equates with chess. If you don’t survey the landscape and understand your competition, you cannot anticipate what the opposition will do,” he noted. Among other things, “you need to lay traps and position assets to create advantages.” 

Think ahead and read the board, he advised. Not only what you are going to do, but what your opponent is going to do. Chess helps you to play by the rules and take responsibility for your actionsto problem-solve in an uncertain environment.” 

Another “Quick Talks” speaker, Anne Nelson of IBM Watson, threw out an elaborate blueprint for success for IoT multi-partnering. IBM’s new business unit, formed in 2014, has seen astronomical growthsome 500 new partners in just two years. The IBM Watson Group provides over 30 services that partners can write applications against or leverage to improve applications. “What did you tweet over the last two weeks?” she asked the audience to recall. “Watson can provide personality insights from those tweets” and generate different coupons for discounts depending on that profile. “We are opening the platform to partners on data as well,” she replied. ‘This platform is the only one in the industry today with this many apps.” 

What’s the value for partners in alliances with IBM in the Watson ecosystem? “We’re the number one B2B brand, Watson has 70 percent unaided awareness—so brand is going gangbusters in terms of value to partners,” said Nelson, who was recruited to IBM Watson Group from IBM’s direct sales organization in January of 2015. “We have over 40,000 IBM sellers who touch millions of accounts,” she noted. 

For a longer-term view of success, Marcus Wilson, president and co-founder of Anthem’s real-world research subsidiary, HealthCore, Inc., spoke about his 20-plus years building healthcare partnerships. The key component is building trust, he said. His experience included pioneered the emergence of physician and patient education and clinical decision support services based upon real-world data. Wilson’s experience exemplifies the “kind of creativity and entrepreneur skill increasingly required when we are reinventing what we are doing all the time,” said Jan Twombly, CSAP, ASAP chairman of programming, and president of The Rhythm of Business, who prefaced the talks as moderator. 

As an entrepreneur and “intrapreneur,” Wilson shared several formative personal experiences, starting as a young clinical pharmacist doing his residency at a Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Delaware health center. “Influence is everything,” Wilson emphasized. “I had no power to prescribeI would have to walk into physicians’ offices and convince them that it was their idea to treat the way they should. I had to influence the healthcare center to offer all these new services—which eventually became incredible force for us.” Similarly, he said, “We met with FDA 10 years ago about real-world evidence. They said, that’s great, but this stuff is voodoo science.” Thanks to influence—reinforced by lots of data—“it’s becoming much more mainstream today.” 

You can read individual blog posts about these “Quick Takes” talks on our website at http://www.strategic-alliances.org/blogpost/1143942/ASAP-Blog.

Tags:  alliances  Ann Nelson  ASAP Quick Takes  assets  B2B brand  collaborative  healthcare partnerships  Heathcore Inc.  IBM Watson  IoT  John Bell  Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health  Larry Walsh  Marcus Wilson  multi-partnering  open innovation  partnering environment  problem solve  strategy  TED Talks  The 2112 Group 

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Engaging Peer-to-Peer Roundtable Sessions Become Popular New Central Feature at ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson & Ana Brown, Monday, March 14, 2016

Fostering opportunities and tools for peer-to-peer learning is one of ASAP’s goals, and that concept was well-integrated into this year’s ASAP Global Alliance Summit with several popular roundtable sessions. The feedback has been positive so far on the two roundtables, which quickly became an active format for sharing at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Md. 

Following the “ASAP Quick Takes” talks, the first roundtable session provided participants with the choice of 17 valuable, timely topics connected to the broader “ASAP Quick Takes” theme of “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem.” Participants chose between 26 different discussion groups facilitated by thought leaders from ASAP’s membership. Topics ranged from “Strategic Alliance Management across the Enterprise” to “Knowing with Whom to Partner Now” to “Quick Take ‘Hot Takes:’ Seeing Around Corners.” Look for an upcoming blog item on the second engaging roundtable session that took place the following day: “Alliances around the World: Cultural Roundtables,” facilitated by Philip Sack, CSAP, ASAP Asia Collaborative Business Community, and co-presented by Guarino Gentil Jr., CA-AM, Merck-Serono; Subhojit Roye, CSAP, Tradeshift; Andrew Yeomans, CSAP, Merck-Serono. 

I randomly selected a group at the ASAP Quick Take Roundtables led by Donna Peek, CSAP, director, partner enablement & operations, global alliances & channels, SAS on “The First 100 Days of an Alliance” and watched a lively, relevant conversation unfold. Peek, who also is ASAP’s vice-chairman of the executive management board, dynamically led the group, drawing out ideas and fostering engaging conversation as the participants ramped up their communications into active sharing. “The train is already barreling down the track and you are trying to adjust and redefine,” she said, while jotting down a checklist of what an alliance manager should be focused on in the first 100 days that looked something like this: 

  • Identify critical stakeholders
  • Identify executive governance
  • Define frameworks
  • Find good fits for the collaborative team
  • Make sure everything is included that needs to be in the contract
  • Clarify strategy and scope
  • Make alignment part of the term sheet process 

This last point, offered by Ana Brown, project manager, strategic alliances, Citrix, so captured participant attention that we thought her idea worth sharing as an example of how helpful and practical these exchanges can be. Brown offered to write up the idea for a larger audience. 

#Termsheetlove: Bringing Back the Term Sheet
By Ana Brown

The use of a term sheet has been a longstanding precursor to any agreement. With busy times, and changing alliance leaders and teams, sometimes such processes are left behind.

If you find yourself having multiple conversations with your internal stakeholders, all at different times, redlining your partner agreement—sometimes for months. Finding yourself thinking, “Oh my gosh, that call was so long ago I can’t remember what the issues with the agreement were in the first place,” then this recommendation is for you.

Bringing back the term sheet with some easy steps will help you: 

  1. Gain alignment with all your internal stakeholders before going into the agreement process.
  2. Cut the lead-time to fully executed agreement more than half (months for some of us)! 

First, work with your legal team to come up with the best term sheet template (and get buy in from your internal stakeholders that the term sheet will answer most, if not all, of the questions they may have on any potential partner agreement).

Next, complete the term sheet after completing your business plan and receiving buy in from your business unit and partner. Alliance leaders fill out the term sheet (deal exec summary and details) and simultaneously circulate it to the internal stakeholders so that they all know.... (Example of stakeholders include: channel operations, revenue recognition, legal, GEO VPs, etc.—anyone who needs to know the deal is coming.)


Alliance leaders then schedule a kickoff call with stakeholders to review the term sheet, receive stakeholders’ approval to the term sheet (email approval is okay), and are then ready to move the deal to agreement and work with legal to execute.

Ta-da! You just made a bunch of friends by creating internal alignment and cutting the lead time to fully executed agreement in half.

#Termsheetlove - spread it forward :)

Tags:  agreement  alignment  Ana Brown  Andrew Yeomans  ASAP Global Alliance Summit  ASAP Quick Takes  collaborative  Donna Peek  frameworks  governance  Guarino Gentil  leadership  Merck-Serono  partnering  peer-to-peer learning  Philip Sack  scope  stakeholders  strategy  Subhojit Roye  term sheet  Tradeshift 

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‘Recognizing Great Behavior’: Winners of 2016 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards Receive Honors and Accolades for Innovative Problem-Solving at ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By Cynthia Hanson, Thursday, March 3, 2016

“When we share and highlight best practices and learn from each other, part of the success worth recognizing is great behavior,” said Mike Leonetti, CSAP, ASAP president & CEO, emphatically as he presented the 2016 Alliance Excellence Awards during the awards ceremony at the ASAP Summit, “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Md. USA. In addition to the awards categories recognized in years past, ASAP introduced new honors at this year’s event.

 Warm applause turned into a standing ovation that swelled the room as Leonetti presented the new ASAP Guiding Light Award to Jan Twombly, CSAP, ASAP chairman of programming, for her exceptional and exemplary “good behavior,” leadership, and volunteerism. Leonetti noted that Twombly, president of The Rhythm of Business, for the past six years has invested literally hundreds of hours of time each year as a volunteer driving program development for the annual Summit as well as annual biopharma conferences for the past four years.  

 The new ASAP Chapter Excellence Award was awarded to the ASAP New England Chapter. Accepting the award was another ASAP luminary volunteer, Becky Lockwood, global board member and two-time president of the New England Chapter, for “going above and beyond alignment with ASAP’s vision. The New England Chapter continues to deliver excellence in everything they do for ASAP,” said Leonetti. In turn, Lockwood praised the suite of companies who have supported her efforts over the years, saying success would not have been possible without their volunteer time.

Leonetti then announced the winner of two ASAP Content Awards, first to Eli Lilly and Company and David Thompson, CA-AM, chief alliance officer, for their long history of devotion to ASAP from the early days of the association. Eli Lilly and Company's contributions include offering workshops, extensive volunteer time, and Lilly’s consistent editorial content in, and support of, Strategic Alliance Magazine. The second Content Award recognized Xerox and head of corporate alliances and ASAP chairman emeritus Russ Buchanan as well for countless hours of volunteer time “spreading the excellence we have been generating over the years,” and Buchanan’s colleague Candido Arreche, global director of portfolio & management for Xerox worldwide and a black belt in Six Sigma quality methodologies, for his dynamic ASAP workshop teaching style. 

The awards ceremony then announced and honored the finalists and recipients in multiple Alliance Excellence Award categories. 

The Alliance Program Excellence Award is presented to “organizations that have instilled the capability to consistently implement and manage alliance portfolios and demonstrated consistent success of those alliances over time.” This year’s award went to Bayer for its Alliance Capability Enhancement Project, now in its fourth year. The project was lauded for, among other things, its strong emphasis on collaborative capability and cultural development, deal-making and efficiency, new IT infrastructure, processes, and pilot programs. 

The goal was to “move the culture from an inward focus to a partnering mindset” commented Joseph Havrilla, senior vice president and global head of business development and licensing for Bayer Pharmaceuticals. This was accomplished through: 

  • Senior management engagement
  • Creating awareness within the organization and recognition and value of the importance of partnership, including pushing data out showing that a significant part of revenue came from partnership
  • Providing training to give people tools and techniques to manage partner conflicts and timelines

 National Instruments won the Innovative Best Alliance Practice Award, given to a company for “individual alliance management tools or processes that have made an immediate and powerful impact on the organization and/or the discipline of alliance management.” National Instruments received the award for outstanding achievement of a best practice with their innovative and highly accessible partner directory that allows customer to search across the partnering ecosystem and access in-depth profiles of partner capabilities, certifications, ratings, and reviews from partner customers. Implementation included the creation of more advanced search functions, markets, keywords, mapping, and other kinds of tools. As a result, the number of National Instruments partners grew very quickly from 600 to 1,000-plus over short time.

 This year’s Individual Alliance Excellence Award, which is presented for “excellence in planning, implementation, and results of a single alliance. … between two companies or multiple organizations,” went to International SOS and Control Risks. Their nearly seamless alliance has changed the way the market perceives support and assistance of business travelers and expats. Previously, Control Risk was doing pandemic planning, and SOS was doing security planning. The unique co-opetition through formation of a joint venture has resulted in significant benefits for both the companies and their clients in terms of crisis management, most recently during the Ebola crisis, Arab Spring concerns, and AcelorMittal Mining evacuation of 130-plus employees from Liberia.

 “The goal was to eliminate completely any competition, to merge and put them together into one. Obviously not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination,” said John Maltby, director, group strategy of alliances at Control Risks. “We took a year to design this alliance and structured it around distribution.” It works to completely eliminate the competition because “when it boils down, we are trying to operate safely in a difficult environment,” he added. “The alliance balances out quite complementary capabilities.”

 There were no submissions this year for the Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility Award. The seven-member awards committee is chaired by Annlouise 

Tags:  alliances  ASAP Chapter Excellence Award  ASAP Content Awards  ASAP Guiding Light Award  Bayer  Becky Lockwood  Candido Arreche  collaboration  Control Risks  David Thompson  Eli Lilly & Company  International SOS  Jan Twombly  National Instruments  partner  professional development workshops  Russ Buchanan  The Rhythm of Business  Xerox 

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