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A Message to Our ASAP Member Community

Posted By Michael Leonetti, CSAP, Saturday, April 4, 2020

The global health crisis involving COVID-19 has forced all of us to change how and where we’re working, how we’re living, where we’re going (or not going), and so much more. Our hearts go out to all those whose health has been affected by this crisis, or who have loved ones they care about who are vulnerable. And we gratefully acknowledge and thank all the brave healthcare workers and others who are on the front lines of this disease, bravely exposing themselves to it as they try to save lives. Many ASAP members, too, are part of organizations that are working to produce vaccines, treatments, and vital medical equipment that can help in the fight against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, we’re very aware that across the globe, the way business is getting done looks very different right now. Like many organizations large and small, the ASAP team is working remotely and adjusting to this new reality. However, we’re still here for you! We’re working hard to put together great content for our member community and to bring it directly to you virtually. Here are just a few of the things we’re working on:

  • We’re continuing to develop quality alliance management virtual learning opportunities to go out to you as part of our series of ASAP Netcast Webinars.
  • We’re bringing you regular updates and digests of partnering news via our Strategic Alliance Weekly and Monthly emails.
  • Our ASAP blog and ASAP newsfeed remain ongoing vehicles to provide you with partnering and alliance news and insights, outtakes from our magazine articles, and more.
  • Speaking of our magazine, Strategic Alliance Quarterly is alive and well! The Q2 issue is in the works and planning has already begun for Q3 and beyond.
  • Although a number of ASAP chapter events have had to be postponed, we’re working with our chapter leaders and members to get them rescheduled—so stay tuned!
  • Planning has already begun for the popular ASAP BioPharma Conference to be held in September—with the call for presentations now open through May 1.
  • Last but not least, we’re working toward providing a high-quality, content-rich ASAP Global Alliance Summit in late June.

Like you, we’re continuing to do our jobs as best we can under these extraordinary circumstances, and we’re working every day to provide content that matters to our wonderful ASAP community. If there is anything we can do to help you and your teams during this time, please do not hesitate to reach out to our ASAP staff.

And above all, thank you! Thank you for being a member of our ASAP community. Our collective strength lies within all those engaged in the alliance and partnering world of which you are a vital part. Together, we’ll get through this!

Tags:  alliance management  ASAP BioPharma Conference  ASAP blog  ASAP Global Alliance Summit  ASAP Netcast Webinars  ASAP newsfeed  COVID-19  member community  Partnering  produce vaccines  Strategic Alliance Quarterly  Strategic Alliance Weekly  treatments  virtual learning  virtually  vital medical equipment 

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AI Is Simple—Until It’s Not

Posted By Jon Lavietes, Thursday, March 26, 2020

ASAP members, the Q1 2020 edition of Strategic Alliance Quarterly is now in your hands, and we hope you enjoy our feature that examines some of the early tenets emerging around still-nascent artificial intelligence (AI) alliances that now dot all walks of business. Per usual, this blog serves as a vehicle to share some of the thoughtful commentary that didn’t make it into the print feature. The following insights come to you via Bruce Anderson, electronics industry global managing director at IBM. 

We touched briefly in the piece on how vertical-industry expertise is a must for creating some of the more advanced AI applications in the market today. This isn’t true of all AI-enabled products and services—Anderson cited smart speakers, which evolve their communication based on the data they collect throughout their interactions with end users, as an example of an application that doesn’t require much more than the optimization of a set of programming APIs to bring to market.

Those Who Have External Data Use It—Those Who Don’t, Buy It

However, to develop a program for optimizing manufacturing schedules, development teams need more than just base APIs. Anderson noted that an AI algorithm of this nature would in all likelihood need to digest various sets of internal end-user data, plus some external data sources, such as weather (to account for factors like humidity and temperature). In this case, the coding skill and IT knowledge of software developers can only take you so far. They need to collaborate with manufacturing veterans to figure out how to integrate domain expertise that is specific to that manufacturing environment. In many cases, companies may conclude that there isn’t “a [single] package with all of the data I might want. There’s engineering, and perhaps data acquisition, that has to be done,” according to Anderson.

Alliance managers charged with bringing AI innovations to market must get creative and figure out which companies might possess the data sets needed to create a new AI application. Then they must use their deal-making skills to put together win-win agreements that incentivize those data proprietors to share their data sets. (We discuss this new “offering manager” role in depth in the quarterly feature.)

Anderson also spoke about the difference between early back-end technology AI alliances and partnerships designed to bring an AI solution to market—more specifically, how the former is often much simpler than the latter. Bringing together servers, development platforms, sensors, traditional enterprise applications, and data management services that will ultimately power your AI APIs could be just as simple as integrating technology pieces.

“One of the companies involved may not know what you’re using [its product] for. You just know you’re using a lot of it,” said Anderson.

Happy Selling? Easier Said Than Done

But once an ecosystem of partners starts to jointly comarket and/or cosell a product offering, another layer of complexity is added.

“The more people that you get involved, there’s a lot of people who want a slice of the pie—in other words, the revenue—so you start to get complex marketing and selling arrangements,” said Anderson. “You could have a single offering that is jointly developed with somebody else. It could be sold by either of the parties. It could be delivered by either of the parties. There could be a third company in there, as well, if they’re involved in the overall stack.”

The challenge can be summed up in one question: “How do you keep it so that all of the alliance partners are happy?” asked Anderson.

Again, in the quarterly feature we delve into some of the specific issues partners need to sort out in these situations in order to bring orderly, concise, and impactful sales presentations to prospective buyers. Check-out the print issue you received earlier this month! 

Tags:  AI  API  Artificial Intelligence  Bruce Anderson  comarket  cosell  data management services  external data  IBM  innovations  integration  Strategic Alliance Quarterly 

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Making Adjustments: ASAP Global Alliance Summit Now in June!

Posted By Michael Leonetti, CSAP, Monday, March 9, 2020

We’ve all had the experience of an unexpected event that suddenly threw a wrench into our alliances or our lives. Depending on the nature of the event, its magnitude, and how close to home it hits, we generally do our best to understand how the landscape has changed, adjust to the implications, make accommodations, and move forward. Reality may defy our hopes and expectations, but we pick up the pieces, dust ourselves off, and keep getting up in the morning amid the now-altered environment.

So it is with the coronavirus, or COVID-19, whose effects worldwide have already proven serious. Our hearts go out to all those who have been directly affected by this virus, especially the families of those who have died from it around the globe. In addition, this contagious disease—and the fear of it—has already had a significant economic impact, including declines in business and vacation travel and the cancellation or postponement of a number of conventions, conferences, and trade shows in various industries. Most organizations have been forced to respond in some way, whether to shift events to alternative dates or from physical to virtual, to curtail travel to safeguard their people, or to try to limit the damage to their bottom line. Or all of the above.

We at ASAP have faced these challenges as well, resulting in the difficult decision to reschedule our Global Alliance Summit, which had been scheduled for next week, to June 23–25 in Tampa, Florida. In the great scheme of things this move may barely register, but for a member organization like ours, as you can imagine, it’s a big deal. Shifting the Summit to new dates has required a huge and immediate lift on the part of ASAP staff and board, which is ongoing as I write this.

The good news is, the show will go on! I’m very happy that we were able to secure the original conference venue, the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel, for our late-June dates. I’m even more pleased to report that at present, nearly 75 percent of our presenters, panelists, and moderators have confirmed that they’ll be there.

What this means is that we’ll still have a terrific program, as planned—a program that, as always, includes presentations by some of the alliance and partnering profession’s best and brightest minds and leading lights, including these:

  • A keynote presentation by Steve Steinhilber, global vice president, ecosystems and business development, at Equinix: “Creating Alliances and Digital Ecosystem Capabilities in an Increasingly Platform Enabled and Interconnected World.” Steve ran alliances at Cisco for a number of years, and while there authored the influential book Strategic Alliances: Three Ways to Make Them Work (2008). He was also among those interviewed for our Q1 2020 cover story in Strategic Alliance Quarterly on the rise and far-reaching effects of ecosystems in nearly every industry, and his insights into this important and growing area are sure to be valuable and applicable to any industry.
  • A fascinating panel moderated by Adam Kornetsky of Vantage Partners titled “Big Pharma M&A and Alliance Portfolios: What’s at the End of the Rainbow?” This interactive discussion will feature panelists including Mark Coflin, CSAP, vice president and head of global alliances at Takeda Pharmaceuticals; Dana Hughes, vice president of integration management and alliance management at Pfizer; and Jeffrey C. Hurley, senior director, GBD global alliance lead at Takeda. These longtime ASAP members will share their recent M&A experiences, provide insights into how alliance portfolios have been managed through the transaction process, and engage participants in sharing additional perspectives critical for unlocking and maximizing the full value of an alliance portfolio.
  • A presentation by Dan Rippey, director of engineering for Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner program, and Amit Sinha, chief customer officer and cofounder of WorkSpan, called “How the Microsoft Partner-to-Partner Program Is Disrupting the Way Technology Companies Are Leveraging the Power of Ecosystems for Business Growth, Customer Acquisition, and Gaining a Competitive Advantage.” With the rise of ecosystems has come the increasing deployment of partner-to-partner (P2P) programs, and Microsoft’s may be the largest on the planet, connecting partners directly with each other to deliver value to customers without Microsoft’s intervention. Powered by WorkSpan Ecosystem Cloud, this program increases profitability by selling solutions from one or more of Microsoft’s partners, achieving faster time-to-market by leveraging prebuilt joint solutions, closing larger deals, and reaching more customers by co-selling with other Microsoft partners for a bigger joint pipeline. This new model of partnering has wide applicability and Dan and Amit’s description of how it works is a must-hear.
  • Another terrific panel moderated by Jan Twombly, president of The Rhythm of Business, called “Biopharma Commercial Alliance Management Challenges.” Panelists will include Brooke Paige, CSAP, ASAP board chair and former vice president of alliance management at Pear Therapeutics; and David S. Thompson, CSAP, chief alliance officer at Eli Lilly and Company. In the long life of a successful biopharma alliance, the commercialization phase brings its own particular challenges and problems. This panel promises to be a lively discussion of such topics as how alliance managers deliver value in a commercial alliance, considerations for driving alignment in local geographies and at a corporate level, aspects of alliance governance to get right to maximize value, and much more.

I’m not indulging in hyperbole when I say that these are just a very few of the highlights. Again,  more than three-quarters of the original Summit agenda is planned  to remain intact—including preconference workshops, single-speaker presentations, illuminating panel discussions, and of course, valuable networking opportunities.

We know there are many factors governing decisions on where to travel and why—especially under current conditions. But we’re confident that even after shifting to the June dates, we’ll be fielding a stellar lineup at the Summit in Tampa—one you’ll want to be present for. If you haven’t registered yet and/or for whatever reason were uncertain about attending in March, you now have some extra time to decide.

Additionally, the Renaissance has set up a new block of rooms at our discounted rate of $219.00+ per night. To book your room for the new conference dates, please click on the link below:

https://www.marriott.com/event-reservations/reservation-link.mi?id=1583953400577&key=GRP&app=resvlink

Let’s all try to plan for normal again! Won’t you join us? I hope to see you in Tampa!

Tags:  alliances  Amit Sinha  biopharma  Brooke Paige  Dan Rippey  Dana Hughes  David Thompson  Ecosystems  Eli Lilly and Company  Equinix  Jan Twombly  Jeffrey Hurley  Mark Coflin  Microsoft  P2P  partners  Pfizer  Steve Steinhilber  Takeda  The Rhythm of Business  Vantage Partners  WorkSpan 

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It’s Here: New Handbook Supplement Covers IT Partnering Principles and Practices

Posted By Michael Leonetti, CSAP, Saturday, February 29, 2020

Nothing remains static for long—not in alliances and partnering, and not in most industries today. Take your eye off the ball, and you may miss an important trend with far-reaching implications. Drift away from strategy and lose focus, and your competitive edge may be eroded as well. Continue doing things “the way we’ve always done it” and you might find yourself eclipsed, left in the dust by more innovative, less hidebound competitors.

Standing still is not an option—nor is sticking your head in the sand. Here at ASAP we’ve been busy moving forward, looking ahead, and responding to both the latest partnering trends and what many of our members have been asking for. So we’re thrilled to announce the release of our new IT supplement to The ASAP Handbook of Alliance Management: The ASAP Guide to Information Technology Partnering, now available in electronic format.

Most of our ASAP members already know about The ASAP Handbook of Alliance Management—some of them even contributed to it! Since its publication, the Handbook has proved a valuable, comprehensive resource for alliance professionals and their teams, providing a wealth of information, guiding principles, and best practices that take readers through the stages of the alliance life cycle and beyond, into emerging areas of alliance practice.

One of those emerging areas is information technology—a huge part of all our lives and one whose effects and implications go way beyond the “usual suspects” in Silicon Valley. As Forrester’s Jay McBain tells us in the Q1 issue of Strategic Alliance Quarterly, today, “every company is becoming a technology company.”

What does that mean for alliance professionals? What adjustments will they need to make to their thinking and vision going forward? What roles will they play in this massive digital transformation happening everywhere, across industries? How will they manage, orchestrate, and navigate the complex technology partnerships that encompass everything from multipartner go-to-market efforts to vast platform ecosystems (and everything in between)?

We set out to find the answers to those questions—and many more—and present them in a form that our members can readily and easily use. Hence the publication of The ASAP Guide to Information Technology Partnering, which contains the latest and most advanced thinking on leading, managing, and deriving revenue from alliances, partnerships, and complex ecosystems in the high-tech field. This supplement has been specifically tailored to the needs of the IT field and its pressures, concerns, and fast-moving trends. To create it, we reached out to a wide range of ASAP members and others—respected alliance leaders, successful consultants, industry analysts, widely published researchers, and more—to collect and synthesize their knowledge and insights. The result is the compilation and distillation of that thinking, from academic research to real-world, in-the-trenches experiences and proven partnering principles.

The ASAP Guide to Information Technology Partnering explores the challenges of working in a continually changing IT landscape marked by ecosystems, strategic alliances, channels, and other partnering arrangements. It’s a world of competition, collaboration, coopetition, and constant technological disruption, where agility and speed are essential and the next big innovation is likely to hit the market tomorrow.

This supplement and updated guide dives deep into such critical subjects as:

  • The evolution of the IT channel
  • The rise, spread and functions of ecosystems  
  • How ecosystems relate to the Alliance Life Cycle
  • The role of alliance professionals as ecosystem orchestrators and facilitators
  • Collaboration and competition in IT partnering
  • Revenue-generating, customer-focused go-to-market guidelines and collaborative selling methodologies
  • Alliance metrics in an ecosystem context
  • Today’s alliance professional as entrepreneurial leader, driver, and strategic visionary
  • Alliances as an essential enterprise function in the high-tech world

In addition, it features descriptions of best practices, frameworks, and checklists for IT partnering; key questions and qualities that are essential for IT alliance professionals today; resources for further reading; a helpful glossary; and fillable online worksheets and forms.

We’re pretty confident that The ASAP Guide to Information Technology Partnering will soon be required reading for anyone who is embarking on or transitioning into an alliance management role in technology, and that it will aid more experienced practitioners with advanced insights as well. Along with another Handbook update for the biopharmaceutical field—coming soon—this supplement, I think, represents a welcome addition to our growing storehouse of helpful and thought-provoking content for our ASAP member community.

How do you get a copy? Easy. Right now you can purchase copies for yourself and your team at the introductory special member price of $47.20 per copy. Just visit our website at https://www.strategic-alliances.org/page/store click on the Publications button and scroll down to The ASAP Guide to Information Technology Partnering. And let us know what you think—we value your feedback, and your thoughts and concerns are greatly appreciated! It’s what makes the ASAP community such a powerful vehicle for networking, knowledge, and education for all of us

Tags:  Alliance  Alliance Life Cycle  alliance professionals  collaborative selling  ecosystems  entrepreneurial leader  go-to-market  high-tech  IT channel  IT partnering 

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Back to the…Mainframe? Not Exactly, but the Cloud Is Changing ISV-GSI Governance into a Blend of Old and New

Posted By Jon Lavietes, Friday, February 21, 2020

We’ve reached the latter stages of the editing process for the Q1 issue of Strategic Alliance Quarterly, coming out soon. As always, we have some great material that didn’t make the cut for the magazine, so we wanted to use this space to pass along some of the insights that emerged from our conversations around the evolving relationship between traditional independent software vendors (ISVs) such as SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft and global system integrators (GSIs) like Capgemini, Deloitte, and Accenture.

In the print version of the article, we talked about the concepts of “rolling adoption” and “continuous innovation.” When companies shift portions of their computing infrastructure from inside their own data centers to a public or private cloud, software is consumed much differently. In the client-server IT model that preceded cloud, ISVs would often take up to two years refining new versions of their applications to make sure they were as bug-free as possible before making them available to the public. The customer would then work with a GSI to customize that new software to their business processes. Now, however, the cloud has enabled software vendors to make updates remotely in an expedient manner. Consequently, new versions come out as rapidly as every six months, and each stakeholder—the ISV, the GSI, and the customer—understands that they will in essence be adjusting solutions on the fly to meet customer needs well after their release.

More Information, Faster, Means More Governance

A couple of the alliance experts we spoke to touched on how this phenomenon is affecting governance models, which are evolving to serve these faster, perpetual sales cycles. For example, teams meet more often and share more information than they did 15 years ago. Lisle Holgate, CSAP, senior director of strategic alliances at Avanade, a joint venture of Microsoft and Accenture, said the core teams of the alliance he works with are meeting weekly, while salespeople convene biweekly and regional leaders gather on a monthly basis to evaluate the dozen or so leads in the pipeline. Global executives get together every quarter, and even the respective CEOs huddle once a year to discuss the alliance at the broadest level.

“We have about 45 or 50 points of exchange across the breadth of the organization on a regular basis, so there’s a more organic understanding of each other,” said Holgate. “Whereas in the old days, [meetings were] about, ‘How many deals did we do? What’s in the pipeline? Okay, ready? Break.’”

To that end, the level of granularity in the information alliance partners are exchanging with each other is unprecedented today. Holgate said that marketing documentation now goes “all the way down to emails about the value proposition. That was unheard of back in the old days.”

Bill Thomas, CA-AM, an industry veteran and current alliance director who has worked in alliance programs at leading enterprise software vendors and global GSIs, has observed a shift toward alliance program governance models specified by software vendors and away from those originated by GSIs as the cloud has taken root. Two decades ago, when GSIs were counted on to significantly customize large-vendor software in on-premise deployments, potential clients calculated cultural, resource, and process fits based heavily on GSI governance models because the GSI's implementation methodologies were foundational to the project’s success. 

Now, software vendors see an obligation to prescribe the governance model and deployment methodology as a way to ensure delivery quality, and they’re telling GSIs, “‘This is how our program works,’” said Thomas. “Alliance structure and governance are codified in the agreement [with the software vendor] in order to promote delivery quality and consistency.  Also, having a standard, repeatable process ensures fairness in the ecosystem and supports the ability to scale the business to meet the demands of rapid growth.” 

What’s Old Is New Again

Steve Blacklock, CA-AM, vice president of global strategic alliances at Citrix, saw parallels between today’s cloud-managed IT model and the old days of the mainframe, the predominant computing model of the 1960s and 1970s, particularly in that “you don’t have to own the whole thing, you can just provision what you want, it’s secure and separated from everything else, and you can pay for what you need,” and he surmised that “the way partnerships, channel, and GSIs behave in [cloud] markets [is] probably analogous to the way things were done before [in the days of the mainframe], too.”

As he said this, Blacklock waved his hands apart and together like an accordion to illustrate how the ISV-GSI relationship has “come together and fractured and come together again” as computing transitioned from the mainframe to the client-server model that took root in the 1990s to this emerging cloud model. He pointed out that in the 1960s, IBM would essentially play the role GSIs play today by supporting the mainframe the customer bought from it and managing the client’s processes, and then speculated on whether the “Big Three” public cloud service providers (CSPs)—Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP)—might fulfill this role in the future, thereby cutting out GSIs.   

“They’re not there yet, but I could see a day where [Microsoft] Azure says, ‘If you need to run SAP in Azure, come here, sign this contract, and we’ll provision it for you, we’ll get your networking there, we’ll make sure it’s up and running, we’ll support the software—we’ll give you what you need and you’ll pay for it as you use it.’ Well, how is that any different from what IBM was doing with the mainframe?” 

This is just a small slice of what we learned from ASAP members in the trenches of these software vendor–integrator alliances. Be on the lookout for the Q1 edition of ASAP’s flagship magazine Strategic Alliance Quarterly to learn more about the changing dynamics of the ISV-GSI relationship. 

Tags:  Accentura  Amazon Web Services (AWS)  Avanade  Bill Thomas  Citrix  Cloud  cloud-managed IT model  Google Cloud Platform (GCP)  IBM  ISV-GSI Governance  ISV-GSI relationship  Lisle Holgate  Microsoft  Steve Blacklock  Strategic Alliance Quarterly 

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