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Helping Partners Succeed—So That You and Your Customers Do, Too

Posted By Michael J. Burke, Thursday, June 25, 2020

In an increasingly digital world, how do you create business models that help your company succeed while ensuring that your partners reap the benefits as well?

It’s a question faced by many companies today—not just in technology—and it’s one that is top of mind for Carl DCosta, worldwide vice president and general manager of partner success for Blue Yonder (formerly JDA Software), which provides software and solutions focused on supply chains.

After all, “partner success” is right there in his title.

Building a Partner-Based Model

DCosta’s keynote presentation, “Foundation for Partner Success in the Digital World,” on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, the second day of ASAP’s virtual Global Alliance Summit, looked at how Blue Yonder has approached this question, largely by seeking to understand who their partners are, what their capabilities are, how to attract and recruit new partners, and how to make sure that value is created throughout the ecosystem and flows in multiple directions.

A tech-industry veteran with years of experience, first at HP and then at Oracle, DCosta arrived at Blue Yonder in late 2019 and was given a mandate: build out the company’s channel and partner business. This meant “working more with partners and leveraging the ecosystem,” DCosta said, as well as operating from a “more partner-based model.”

In service of this goal, DCosta divided Blue Yonder’s partners into three types: development partners, who extend solutions; selling partners, who give the company more reach; and delivery partners, who deploy and deliver products and augment Blue Yonder’s expertise.

Each of these partner types needed something different to both attract and enable them.

Needs, Leads, and Sandboxes

The development partners—largely independent software vendors, or ISVs—wanted free licenses and access to technology, OEM (original equipment manufacturer) agreements, and their own “sandboxes” to play in, in the cloud. They benefited from this arrangement by getting high margins with product IP, while Blue Yonder got an end-to-end solution offering.

Selling partners—business or systems integrators (BIs/SIs)—wanted referrals, resell agreements, and co-sell fees and agreements, and thereby they received resale revenue and margin while Blue Yonder got incremental leads, more products, and more users.

Finally, the delivery partners—again, BIs and SIs—wanted enablement and training as accredited technical consultants, as well as branding. Their reward was increased margins for their services business, while Blue Yonder saw their end of the deal as leading to greater customer success.

DCosta noted that unlike in “the old days of reselling,” often companies are more diversified now and may play more than one role—perhaps even all three. Thus it’s important to understand your partners’ capabilities and what they bring to the table—and what you do, too.

Another key point is removing barriers to working together, as much as possible. “We need to be easy to do business with,” DCosta acknowledged. “To be more consumerish, with one click. We want to make it easy technically and commercially to join that journey with us and for us to support [partners]. We’ve got to get better at this.”

Partner Programs Bearing Fruit

So far, DCosta said that the partner programs, processes, and metrics he has worked to implement have been helping in that regard, though he cautioned that it can take a few years for any such effort to truly bear fruit. What’s also important, he said, is to be clear about the nature of the opportunity and to measure the value created thereby—no matter whether the partner is purely transactional, directly pouring revenue into the coffers, or more of an influencer who is bringing in leads.

“What does a win or success mean for each?” he said. “What are you getting out of it, what are we getting out of it? Whatever the win-win is, I encourage you to have a common scorecard.”

Another recommendation DCosta gave was to try to “eliminate channel conflict” and “compensate both the partner and your sales force so they both benefit customers.” He added that sometimes there needs to be more exclusivity in certain geographic regions such as Russia or Latin America, but barring that, he urged compensating and encouraging everyone involved and avoiding what he called the “macho element of human beings: ‘I did the deal and the partner didn’t. I’m better,’ regardless of the compensation. But by and large, if both are mature enough to see the customer as the primary beneficiary that we need to optimize for, then we allow the customer to choose how they procure, and we compensate the partner—especially as the lead—even if the transaction happened through the vendor. Those policies are quite critical to making sure you don’t end up with conflict and you end up with cooperation,” he said.

Not Fade Away: The Future of the Channel

Asked the perennial question about the “death of the channel” and whether the indirect tech sales channel would be wholly replaced by ecosystems, DCosta’s answer was interesting.

“It’s a tough one,” he admitted. “If you mean ecosystems may not resell, and channel by definition equals resell, I do think the dynamics will change. At least in the technology world, ecosystems—or marketplaces if you will—already with a Salesforce or a Microsoft or Oracle seem to be an alternative way to transact from traditional channels or channel players. But everything is a continuum. Some technologies lend themselves to ecosystems better and easier than channels, so I don’t see this as either/or. There certainly is a big shift in the software industry going more toward an ecosystem/marketplace world where the transaction happens more directly.

“But even in that, there’s roles for partners, and especially partners that work across multiple ecosystems—cloud of clouds, as they call it—so there’s plenty of roles for partners and channels to play across multiple ecosystems. It clearly is a trend, but I don’t believe it’s a binary thing where it’ll flip one day and the channels will go away or anything like that. I think there’s a place for both.”

Tags:  Blue Yonder  business or systems integrators (BIs/SIs)  Carl DCosta  channel  cloud  ecosystem  end-to-end solution  OEM  partner programs  Partner-Based Model  partners 

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Cross-Industry Panel Imparts Insights for Executing David-Goliath Partnerships

Posted By Jon Lavietes, Thursday, June 25, 2020

Big company–small company alliances are a fact of life in some industries. You see them in tech when Global 1,000 technology vendors integrate innovative functionality from smaller startups that fill gaps in their offerings, or when Big Pharma organizations team up with biotechs to develop promising compounds into marketable drugs. Also known as “David-Goliath” alliances, these relationships can contain many hidden land mines if people aren’t careful. Just ask ASAP president and CEO Michael Leonetti, who has led alliance groups in Big Pharma organizations in his career.

“Quite honestly, I’ve seen [this dynamic] kill many an alliance in my time,” said Leonetti in the lead-up to a panel session titled “Managing Power Imbalances: How to Navigate Partnerships Between Large and Small Organizations,” one of the highlights of the second day of this year’s ASAP Global Alliance Summit. 

Moderated by Jessica Wadd, partner at Vantage Partners, this well-rounded panel of seasoned alliance professionals from multiple industries brought a wealth of past and present perspectives from both ends of these types of collaborations:

  • Steve Pessagno, Alliance director and head of global alliance management operations, at GSK
  • Amy Walraven, founder, president, and chief strategy officer at Turnkey Risk Solutions
  • Joy Wilder Lybeer, senior vice president of enterprise alliances at Equifax
  • Troy M. Windt, associate vice president of global alliances and external relations at Reata Pharmaceuticals

“Cultural Diagnosis” Reveals What Might Ail a Collaboration of Big and Small

In kicking off the discussion with an overview of each panelist’s alliance portfolio, Lybeer noted that Equifax relies on smaller outfits to supplement its offerings in ways the company can’t do on its own, She added that the exercise of evaluating a variety of big and small partners “allows us to develop our understanding of potential coopetition, areas where we can supplement our capabilities, or find new routes to market.”

Walraven agreed with Lybeer that smaller companies have plenty of opportunities to complement larger organizations’ offerings with niche “cohesive enhancements.” 

Pessagno, who works with a number of GSK’s R&D-centric alliances with small entities, extolled the virtues of conducting a “cultural diagnosis” at the outset of the relationship to determine how the organizations are and aren’t aligned. This process usually unearths what truly matters to the collaboration as a whole, and these priorities that emerge are eventually woven into the governance and operational elements of the partnership, including the periodic health checks.

Asked what her organization looks for in a larger partner, Walraven cited domain expertise, a strong reputation, and a shared vision of where the fraud, risk, and credit markets, areas in which Humaitrix competes, are heading.

When do you know when you as a smaller organization might have trouble coping with the power imbalance? Windt said to pay attention to the latter’s adaptability right from the start. Since a large firm has lots of processes, can it tailor an alliance structure to fit a partner that might only have two points of contact? He recounted instances where an alternative structure was inserted into the contractual language only to see the large company “migrate back to one way of doing things.”    

Dealing with Outsized Expectations

At one point, Wadd wondered if the panelists ever got excited about a David-Goliath partnership, only to be disappointed when it didn’t fulfill its promise. The panel had no shortage of stories. Walraven spoke of a past partner that showed tremendous enthusiasm about her organization when it was brought in at a late stage of negotiation, but ultimately revealed itself to have little grasp of her company’s value proposition and business model as the collaboration unfolded. The parties tried retooling their joint client deliverables multiple times only to pull the plug on the project after a succession of misfires.

“You really want to make sure that you align ahead of time and that everyone has the same understanding before you set expectations about deliverables with the client,” she said.

Lybeer counseled viewers to identify “pink flags” quickly and abandon an initiative early if the team’s gut feeling is that it will never get onto the right course. She did, however, remind viewers that “the first idea is rarely ever the best idea,” and that oftentimes you don’t necessarily have to walk away from the partner altogether after one failed joint venture.

“As long as we are able and willing to learn and work together, we will find that next innovative idea together,” she said.

Plodding Behemoths Test Nimbler Smaller Companies’ Patience

What should small companies understand about their larger counterparts when evaluating a potential collaboration? Pessagno warned startup and SME alliance professionals that there is a good possibility some of the people in the negotiation stage will disappear after the launch of the partnership. He urged larger corporations to “deal with this transparently” and make some effort to guard against an “asymmetry in the governance.”

Even after some of the initial negotiators drift away, Pessagno acknowledged later in the panel discussion that the larger company’s team might still be four times the size of the smaller counterpart’s, and that the latter will have to endure cumbersome governance and operational processes at times. He recommended that the “Goliath” in the relationship assign a single contact person to the small company’s alliance manager and let the former liaison with the rest of the team and manage the bureaucracy.

In addition, Pessagno implored smaller collaborators to dispel the idea that their larger counterparts have tons of resources to dedicate to their activities. All alliances are competing for a finite amount of resources, even in big companies.

Tech Teams Need Alliance Management Principles

Walraven and Lybeer were asked specifically about analytics-based David-Goliath alliances. The big takeaway: remember that technology partnerships entail more than just technology. Lybeer once handed a technology alliance to the tech team and said, “Good luck to you.”   

“Mistake, mistake, mistake,” she lamented. “Alliance management competencies are a thing.”

The tech team didn’t understand escalation processes and collaboration models, which ended up delaying the activities of the partnership considerably.

Walraven exhorted alliance teams to look at everything through the technical, strategic, solution, and practitioner lenses. Also, take into account that each client and prospect will similarly imagine a joint solution differently.

“Everybody will see it through a different perspective,” she said.  

Alliance Skills Will Help Small-Company Personnel for Life

As the panel concluded, the panelists offered some final takeaways. Walraven reiterated that rigorous work aligning stakeholders on execution strategy up front would ultimately make it “easier to deliver to the client.”

Lybeer urged virtual attendees to strike that balance of being tough without compromising a collaborative mindset.  

“Let’s make sure we’re hard on the hard issues, but not so hard on each other,” she advised.

She echoed her earlier sentiments that you can always walk away from a project that isn’t meeting KPIs without abandoning the partnership entirely.

Most important, according to Windt, work with your HR department to teach collaborative skills and alliance management principles to everyone working on the partnership who may not have an alliance management background. In fact, lobby to make it a permanent part of employee training programs, wherever possible.

“They will serve you well as a person and an employee for the rest of your life,” he said.

Remember, Summit registrants can find this panel, a plethora of sessions from the first two days of the conference, and several prerecorded presentations on demand in the 2020 ASAP Global Alliance Summit portal.  

Tags:  Alliance  alliance management  alliance professionals  alliance skills  Amy Walraven  collaborations  Cultural Diagnosis  enterprise  GSK  Jessica Wadd  Joy Wilder Lybeer  operations  partnership  Reata Pharmaceuticals  skills  Steve Pessagno  Troy M. Windt  Turnkey Risk Solutions  Vantage Partners 

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What’s in a Moment? On-Demand Summit Session Details Key Elements of Joint Alliance Marketing

Posted By Jon Lavietes, Thursday, June 25, 2020

The 2020 ASAP Global Alliance Summit is underway. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week, ASAP will deliver two to three hours of live-streamed sessions that will be chock full of information that can help alliance managers advance their collaborations. On top of that, Summit attendees also have access to many more prerecorded sessions that touch numerous aspects of alliance management. As my colleague Michael Burke wrote yesterday, we will be bringing you highlights of some of those presentations throughout this week and beyond.

Liz Fuller, CA-AM, senior director of alliance marketing at Citrix, tackled one of those critical elements of alliance management in an on-demand session titled, “Integrated Joint Alliance Marketing Best Practices: How to Establish Joint

Marketing Moments That Drive Impact.” Fuller broadly covered five themes in her presentation:

  1. Focus on marketing “moments,” not activities
  2. Understand data
  3. Establish an integrated approach
  4. Build a complete content journey
  5. Set shared partnership goals

Share a Moment with Your Partner and Prospects

What is a marketing moment? Fuller asked viewers to think about their marketing efforts by contrasting the ripple effects that result from throwing one giant boulder into a lake against those that appear on the surface of the water after steadily tossing several small pebbles over a long period of time. You might see a large short-term impact from one big marketing initiative, but steady, consistent, small-scale engagement with prospects over time will ingrain your company’s value proposition into their consciousness, especially since people by nature have short attention spans. Metaphorically, the ripples from continual lighter-touch communication last longer.

“It’s not that you hold people’s attention, it’s that you stay in front of them. You don’t keep their attention because of one thing that you have done. You keep their attention regularly,” explained Fuller.

To tie the concept together, Fuller cited a hypothetical major partner user conference as an example of an event that could serve as a standalone marketing initiative (a large boulder) or part of a larger chain of interconnected marketing activities over time (a series of stones). Your company and the partner organization will likely put out press releases announcing a milestone of the collaboration during the event. The parties might issue other announcements at your conference two months later, and at another industry conference toward the end of the year.

However, the time between these events represents a white space of sorts for alliance marketing teams. Fuller urged listeners to fill that void with thought leadership pushes, extensive social media promotion and engagement, content tied to demand generation and pipeline nurturing, and customer success stories. She saw these activities as the “connective tissue” between the big events that creates larger marketing moments.

“Data Is Your Friend”

Although gut instinct always plays a part in marketing, Fuller reminded the audience that even those judgments are partly based on the “absorption of data,” not just on personal experiences.

“Data is your friend,” Fuller said, before admitting that she hated math as a student.

Fuller exhorted technology alliance pros to be familiar with the latest third-party economic and industry research, as well as reports and analysis from respected industry analysts. Current market size and projected growth models should always be in the minds of marketers as they try to figure out what is driving the market and from where the biggest growth will come. Joint marketing efforts should also be aligned with data and messaging associated with the sales organization’s annual priorities. Perhaps most importantly, past and current business results are also critical data points, even if constantly shifting marketing dynamics oftentimes lay waste to the notion that past is prologue.

“It’s not a perfect science,” Fuller acknowledged. However, “if you don’t look at how things perform for you previously, how do you expect to know how they will perform for you now?”

Integrating Marketing into Broader Organizational Goals

Fuller spoke about Citrix’s broader “air cover brand campaigns,” which embody some of the virtualization giant’s most pressing corporate goals and messages. These campaigns function as a roadmap for alliance marketing teams. Fuller said messaging for all joint alliance-marketing efforts: 1) align with this broader brand-campaign messaging, 2) are purpose-built for Citrix’s primary audiences, and 3) support the priorities of the sales organization. 

Of course, gelling marketing with the other departments can be challenging.  Each part of the organization might look at different metrics. In an alliance, sales, marketing, and business development “sometimes operate in different swim lanes,” according to Fuller.

Marketing can support sales in every phase of the funnel. If salespeople have already spoken to a prospect about a joint product, the alliance team should think of ways to support that lead further down the pipeline by delivering messages and supporting documentation around competing products, particular uses of the product or service, other potentially helpful joint offerings, or other functions or services that the customer has not considered that might be of use.

Content for Every Stage of the Marketing Journey

When putting together marketing campaigns, Fuller develops content for various stages of the customer’s purchasing journey, which she characterized in a set of generic statements:

  1. “I want to know” – The stage where the customer is eager to learn about something new
  2. “I want to go” – An intrigued customer wants more detailed information
  3. “I want to do” – The prospect is ready to see a demo or take a specific action  
  4. “I want to buy” – Customer is ready to select an offering

Fuller similarly broke down the prospect’s mindset into a series of phases, and spoke about how to target content for the customer’s disposition in each moment.

  • Awareness – Help prospects articulate their problems or illuminate a challenge they were previously weren’t conscious of
  • Education – Customers gather lots of information before they talk to vendors, so alliance marketers must make sure those people come across white papers, articles, data sheets, and other content detailing their joint products and value proposition in the process
  • Consideration – Strengthen side-by-side comparison messaging vis-à-vis competitors, and make sure joint offerings are submitted for bakeoffs, independent product reviews, and in-depth investigations of relevant products
  • Purchase – Marketing materials must get prospects to do more than just buy the product; they should inspire customers to use a large percentage of the offering’s functionality—partners will endure a customer backlash if their services become “shelfware”
  • Advocacy – How do you operate as an advisor to the organization so that they advocate for you down the road?

 Jointly Developed KPIs Align Partners Behind Alliance Goals

If partners can’t agree on the alliance’s goals, they will have a hard time reaching them. Each party in an alliance needs to arrive at a set of clear, simply stated key performance indicators (KPIs) that reflect what joint success looks like to the parties. This could come in the form of sales revenue, leads in the pipeline, share of voice, or other data points. This can be tricky at times because organizations often don’t measure things the same way, and sometimes each company uses a different language to discuss the same topics. These are minor obstacles as long as the parties ultimately present the same story to customers, prospects, and key internal stakeholders, in Fuller’s view.

Fuller had many more insights in her session. Summit attendees have the opportunity to learn what else will help their joint alliance marketing efforts, as her presentation will be on demand for those who have registered for the conference for an extended time.

Remember, Fuller’s presentation is just the tip of the iceberg of the great knowledge awaiting Summit registrants in our lineup of live sessions this Tuesday through Thursday and deep reservoir of on-demand sessions. Make sure you delve into the Summit portal soon! 

Tags:  alliance goals  alliance management  alliance partners  Citrix  collaboration  Liz Fuller  marketing  marketing journey  partner  partner program  partnering  prospects 

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Riding the Roller Coaster in a Long-standing Alliance

Posted By Michael J. Burke, Thursday, June 25, 2020

How do you keep a long-standing alliance moving forward productively? Put another way, how do you keep a roller coaster humming along on its tracks, despite the ups and downs?

The answer, in a nutshell, is to have tools, frameworks, and lots of communication. And for good measure, a dedicated team whose sole purpose is to look after the health and success of the partnership. In a word, resilience.

That was the message of Alistair Dixon, PhD, head of alliance and integration management at UCB, and Tracy Blois, PhD, director, alliance management business development at Amgen. Their presentation, “Resilience in Alliance Management: How Amgen-UCB Managed the ‘Roller-Coaster Ride’ of a Long-standing Alliance,” was just one of many sessions now available on demand from the virtual ASAP Global Alliance Summit.

From Molecule to Market

This alliance began back in 2002, as a partnership between Amgen and Celltech. In 2004 Celltech was acquired by UCB, and the partnership continued as a collaboration license agreement for research, development, and eventual marketing of antibody products targeting the protein sclerostin, which plays a role in bone formation. As Blois described it, this was conceived as a partnership “from molecule to market from very early on.”

Profits and losses would be shared equally, and as Dixon said, “This collaboration agreement is truly structured to foster collaboration, alignment, and concession.”

Perhaps surprisingly, given that UCB is European, headquartered in Brussels—Dixon is based in the UK—and Amgen is a US company based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Dixon reported that the cultural differences between the two companies were not actually that great. Organizational and internal structures, however, were another matter.

UCB is organized around “patient value units” and “product missions,” and regional leads report back to business units. Amgen, on the other hand, is more traditionally organized into R&D, operations, and commercial, and the regions report back to the commercial division.

Exploring Differences, and Cooling Off the “White Heat”

It was important first that these organizational differences be understood and communicated, and that some tools and strategies be developed for the sake of the alliance. These have consisted of three main pillars:

  • Regular health checks, including the use of joint organizational maps
  • Alliance tools, including focusing on interests, not positions
  • Evolved governance, featuring the formation of an alliance leadership team, or ALT

The tools in particular were helpful, including a Circle of Value tool provided by Vantage Partners, as well as joint problem-solving frameworks, “ways of working” frameworks, and exercises in joint scenario planning. The latter, according to Dixon, helped the two companies to “prealign” before finding themselves in “the white heat of a difficult situation.”

Reaping the Benefits of an Elevated, ALTernative Governance

Having a flexible governance model helped as well, but one of the biggest contributors to the alliance’s success has been the formation of an Alliance Leadership Team (ALT), specifically focused on the needs of the partnership and its ongoing health. The ALT membership is composed of senior program leadership, along with representatives from global alliance management, global project management, and finance—all from both organizations, working together.

According to both Dixon and Blois, the ALT has been able to resolve issues, avoid escalations, establish more trust, and more proactively manage the partnership overall—which has made for better cross-functional execution by the joint project team, as well as more “elevated” governance by the joint commercial committee and other governance bodies.

Dixon and Blois both see the ALT as a team specifically set up to focus on the success of the partnership. The key role it plays has meant that:

  • Time and space have been carved out for “nonoperational” decisions.
  • The ALT fosters objective, nonpositional discussions and is a “safe space” for open conversation about perceptions and concerns.
  • Senior governance has become more strategic, with the ALT getting “ahead” of the usual governance committees in its high-level decision making.
  • Trust has been built over time through issue resolution and intervention.

Meanwhile, the years of research and development and hard work by all concerned resulted in a new drug called Evenity (romosozumab), approved for treatment of osteoporosis among postmenopausal women at high risk of bone fracture. So the partnership not only has kept the roller coaster on the tracks, but arguably has been an exhilarating success.

“Resilience has been absolutely key to this,” said Dixon. “Being able to sit down, understand, and have open and transparent conversations with people has been critical to what we’ve achieved.”

Tags:  Alistair Dixon  alliance management  alternative governance  Amgen  collaboration  cross-functional execution governance  health checks  integration  joint organizational map  partnership  PhD  Tracy Blois  UCB 

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Alliance Champions Announced: ASAP Unveils 2020 Alliance Excellence Award Winners

Posted By Jon Lavietes, Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The alliance management profession’s ring of legends just got a little bigger. On Tuesday, ASAP announced the winners of the 2020 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards toward the end of the first day of this year’s ASAP Global Alliance Summit. The new crop of “alliance champions” exemplified the best uses of the discipline’s tried-and-true methodologies and achieved powerful results on behalf of their organizations.

Here are the public and private institutions that earned the alliance management profession’s most prestigious honor.

Category
Individual Alliance Excellence

Winners
Cancer Research UK–Bristol-Myers Squibb (Best Emerging Alliance)
Ipsen-Debiopharm (Best Long-Established Alliance)

An Alliance of Academia, Nonprofit, and Private Sectors Produces Potential Cancer Drugs

A little more than two years ago, Cancer Research UK, a nonprofit scientific research organization with the ambitious mission of curing three out of four cancer cases by the year 2034, was looking to advance its R&D efforts around the use of a process called mRNA translation to develop potential cures for cancer. The organization had extensive connections to clinicians from prominent academic institutions who were sitting on promising research in this area. All Cancer Research UK needed was a like-minded partner from the private sector to power this research with funding and drug-development resources.

In stepped biotech Celgene, which would eventually be acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2019, to help turn these ideas into viable cancer-treating candidates. Together, Celgene and Cancer Research UK erected a novel process that enabled scientists to seamlessly and expeditiously transition from preclinical activities to phase 1 trials through a single funding mechanism. By orchestrating stakeholders from the nonprofit, academic, and private sectors in an innovative alliance structure, this collaboration has produced nine active cancer-therapy targets and laid the foundation for the discovery of many more.

What’s Old Is New Again— Ipsen-Debiopharm Alliance Approaching 50 Years of Partnership

In 2018, an alliance between French pharmaceutical corporation Ipsen and biotech Debiopharm was at a crossroads. Their collaboration around the drug Decapeptyl was an astounding 35 years old. Annual sales of Decapeptyl had grown to $350 million, and the drug, which was originally developed to treat prostate cancer, was now being prescribed for five indications.

However, all wasn’t necessarily peachy in paradise. The two organizations were working with an outmoded alliance structure, and the employees driving the partnership seemed to treat it as a supplier/distributor relationship rather than a true collaboration. The companies still believed in the alliance and signed a 15-year extension, but it would need a major overhaul if it wanted to be competitive over the next decade and a half.

After signing the extension, the two organizations realigned financial models and revamped many aspects of their R&D and life cycle management operations. As a result, the partners are producing new formulations of Decapeptyl and are in better position to sell the drug in developing markets, such as China, and other regions that previously weren’t viable.

Category
Alliance Program Excellence

Winners
Cancer Research UK
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Cancer Research UK Founds Alliance Management Practice to Manage Growing Portfolio

Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest independent funder of medical research and the backer of more than £450 million of academic research annually, is one of the few nonprofit organizations with a large portfolio of strategic alliances, which is why it became one of the rare charity organizations to found a formal alliance management practice in 2018. Over the course of the last decade, the company signed 10 deals with large pharmaceutical companies, and saw several of those expand in scope over time.

The company recruited experienced alliance managers to staff the new division, and incorporated formal alliance management best practices in all phases of the life cycle, including health checks, charters, and risk maps. It also disseminated toolkits, tutorials, and other how-to information to personnel outside of the alliance management function who were regularly involved in its collaborations.

“We’ve spent the last two years building a brand-new alliance management function, and we have also really enjoyed becoming active members of the ASAP community as part of that,” said Laura Fletcher, associate director for partnerships and strategic alliances at Cancer Research UK, in a video recorded for the virtual award ceremony.

The practice now manages 38 active projects, 11 of which have been added to its portfolio since April 2019. Cancer Research UK’s alliance managers are often called upon to weave together a diverse range of players that at times include academic scientists, funding managers, pharmaceutical and biotech R&D personnel, institute technology transfer offices (TTOs), and its own employees.

Meticulous KPI Monitoring Keeps Merck KGaA Alliances on Track

For more than a decade, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has used an internally developed health check to uncover potential vulnerabilities in its strategic alliances. It started with a survey of 18 of its external partners in 2008, and has been expanded to include a quarterly polling of its own alliance managers on four aspects of the company’s partnerships: 1) effective decision making, 2) joint objective fulfillment, 3) alliance opportunities identified, and 4) value creation.

By combining this internal tracking data with feedback from partners on alliance governance and operations via a survey conducted every two years, Merck KGaA is able to identify alliances that need improvement in a very objective, open, and effective manner. Alliance teams launch in-depth investigations when an internal KPI ever dips below the average of the previous four quarters, while the partner surveys have revealed that the Merck KGaA alliance team improved its decision-making efficiency 27 percent overall in a two-year span in the estimation of its partner counterparts, among other insights.

Category
Innovative Best Alliance Practice

Winner
Citrix – RFSA Program
Citrix – Coopetition

Double Barrel: Two Impactful Initiatives Earn Citrix Award Recognition

Virtualization technology pioneer Citrix earned Innovative Best Alliance Practice Award honors for not one but two initiatives.

First, the company was recognized for its Request for Strategic Alliances Engagement (RFSA) process, which helped streamline the numerous requests for interoperability or integration of its technology that come from Citrix technology partners and its own employees.

At the heart of the RFSA process is the Strategic Alliances Strategy Committee (SASC), which features representatives from alliance management, product management, engineering, marketing, and sales. The SASC decides whether to give the green light to integrate Citrix technology with another product or service, and how to do so when partner requests are approved.

The RFSA process has earned the respect of Citrix’s product management department, which has provided sponsorship and effective leadership for key alliance initiatives—the company’s chief product officer mandated that a project manager be assigned to each and every technology request. It has also increased the visibility of key alliance initiatives across Citrix’s other divisions. By highlighting the ideas that have originated from Citrix partnerships, the RFSA process has validated the alliance management practice to the rest of the company.

“We ended up having an advocate outside of alliances helping us sponsor, drive, resource, and deliver our key alliance initiatives,” said Steve Blacklock, CA-AM, vice president of global strategic alliances at Citrix, in a statement presented to attendees of the virtual session. 

Citrix Pivots When Acquisitions Create Coopetition

Meanwhile, Citrix was also recognized for developing a way to handle sudden coopetition that results when a partner is acquired by a competitor, a common occurrence in the technology industry. Does Citrix remain partners and agree to cooperate in some areas while competing in others? Should the company walk away altogether and find new partners in the same technology area? In recent years, Citrix was confronted with these questions when competitors acquired two of its partners. It realized then that it would benefit from a formalized process for answering them. 

Now, when a competitor acquires an ally, a “war room” of experts conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis of the situation and follow a blueprint for creating and executing a strategy to transition from partner to competitor. Thanks to these efforts, alliance managers now have tools and best practices around gaining consensus, overcoming internal and external obstacles, and assessing and responding to scenarios as they occur.

Category
Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility

Winner
Protiviti

Protiviti, FCE, RAH Deliver 10 Million Meals in 26 Countries over Five-Year Span

When Protiviti, a consulting firm that solves pressing business problems on behalf of 4,500 clients, including 35 percent of the Fortune 500, launched its “i on Hunger” program in November 2014, it had grand ambitions—deliver one million meals to people in need within a year—not to mention the management consulting acumen and financial resources to make this goal a reality. It also had the self-awareness to know what it was missing: domain expertise in getting meals to hungry mouths.

Protiviti enlisted two nonprofits that flashed glittering résumés in tackling world hunger: 1) Feeding Children Everywhere (FCE) and 2) Rise Against Hunger (RAH). The formula the partners settled on was straightforward: FCE and RAH gathered, packaged, and distributed the food to those in need, while Protiviti funded the ingredients, packaging, and location costs for each event.  

The program proved to be a smashing success out of the gate—i on Hunger served its 1 millionth meal in less than ten months—and never slowed down. As the program gained steam, it gained allies, too. More nonprofits stepped in to deliver meals, while employees of 348 of Protiviti’s clients also joined the effort as volunteers and joint organizers.

By the end of 2019, 10 million meals had been delivered over the course of 625 i on Hunger events conducted in 26 countries.  

Thank you for this amazing award recognition. We are honored to be chosen for the Alliance Excellence Award in the category of social responsibility,” said Claudia Kuzma, CA-AM, managing director and global ecosystem program leader at Protiviti, to the virtual audience.

There’s so much more to learn from these amazing use cases of this year’s best in alliance management. That’s why you won’t want to miss the full stories of our winners in the Q3 2020 issue of Strategic Alliance Quarterly, which will arrive in ASAP members’ mailboxes later this summer.  

Tags:  Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibi  Alliance Program Excellence  Best Emerging Alliance  Best Long-Established Alliance  Bristol-Myers Squibb  Cancer Research UK  Citrix – Coopetition  Citrix – RFSA Program  Debiopharm  Innovative Best Alliance Practice  Ipsen  Merck KGaA 

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