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Successful Transitions: ‘How to Optimize Value and Gracefully End Alliance Relationships’

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Tuesday, March 27, 2018

You’ve probably got a process for kicking off an alliance. What about when it’s time to end the alliance relationship? On Tuesday, March 27, at the 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, two veteran partnering executives tackled the topic of “How to Optimize Value and Gracefully End Alliance Relationships.” This session combined the insights and perspectives of Ron McRae, CSAP, director of alliance management at Janssen Biotech, and Steve Twait, CSAP, vice president of alliance and integration management at AstraZeneca.

As it so happens, “AstraZeneca and J&J are working through a transition right now,” Twait noted. “While we didn’t turn it into a case study, we were able to pull in some learnings from that. And while the two of us coming together was serendipity for the conference, we actually have some history and current projects that our companies are working on together.”

Prior to the 2018 Summit, I asked the two of them: Why do you feel that the topic of graceful exits and transitions is important to delve into more deeply? What inspired the two of you to invest your time into sharing your case examples and insights?

“Alliance management professionals typically have toolkits with practices and tactics for kicking off an alliance. There is a lot of excitement and commitment to that phase of the alliance lifecycle. However, the same is not generally true when it is time to end the alliance relationship.  Alliances come and go, but successful management of an alliance transition requires both timely and effective planning as well as flexible problem-solving capabilities at all levels. It also may require a fair amount of persuasion to ensure commitment as colleagues want or need to move on to new responsibilities,” McRae noted.

If it’s over, why does the transition matter so much? “It is important to eliminate or minimize any customer disruption to preserve asset value and even reputations of the partners,” McRae responded. “In the biopharma industry, it can even have life or death consequences depending on the indications of the product and/or availability of other medical options.”

In these cases, “the connection to patients is something we need to think about,” Twait noted. “You’ve got patients relying on the product, as you transition it to the other company, so you need to make sure you keep the patient in mind and don’t interrupt what they need.”

Even when lives don’t hang in the balance, “we should also keep in mind that we want to make sure we manage these situations as effectively as possible, as we may have another ongoing or future alliance opportunity with the partner,” McRae added.

Twait and McRae emphasized that the toolkit for graceful exits is not entirely unfamiliar.

Many of the same governance structures and tools utilized during other phases of the alliance lifecycle can be used during transitions or terminations, but the emphasis of some may change and new ones may still be needed—for example, alliance transition agreements and their components,” McRae explained.

More to the point, because of their relationships and skillsets, alliance executives are the right people at the right time during a transition.

“Alliance management is uniquely positioned in most organizations to maintain that value as the asset shifts hands from one partner to the other, because of existing relationships externally and internally, as well as our persuasive mindset and commitment,” McRae said. “Having led several transitions, we have experienced a number of lessons learned that we are sharing with our alliance management colleagues to help them anticipate and navigate similar situations.”

To be clear, this is not about when “alliances go bad.” It’s about timely, well-managed, intentional transitions.

“Transitions are part of any alliance,” Twait said. “Up front, we say this isn’t talking about when an alliance fails for technical reasons, but more about taking a thoughtful approach to how you transition something that’s been unbelievably successful—you’ve had a longstanding partnership but eventually it made sense for one company to manage the asset. Our focus is more on key learnings when, because of any number of reasons, the time is right for you to transition.”

McRae and Twait provided a number of such examples.

“Some of Ron’s examples involve a very mature alliance transitioning into a different phase,” Twait explained. “Some of the examples I provided are transitions, even divestments, where AstraZeneca is transitioning a product to another company because we are, for whatever reason, focusing our efforts in other areas.” Getting the transition right makes a crucial difference because you’re “leveraging years of relationships if it’s happening after a long relationship,” he continued. “You have people who have invested years in a product, business, and patients.”  

Tags:  alliance executives  alliances  AstraZeneca  governance structures  Janssen Biotech  Ron McRae  Steve Twait  transition 

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The Beatles, Alliances in the C-Suite, and a Company Built on Strategic Partnerships (Part 1): Citrix Chief Marketing Officer Kicks off the ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Tuesday, March 27, 2018

“Our entire business is predicated on ‘any-ness,’ so we recognize you can’t go it alone,” said Tim Minahan, senior vice president of business strategy and chief marketing officer of Citrix and the keynote speaker at the Tuesday, March 27 opening session of the 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit. “Citrix was founded 29 years ago [and] has built its entire business on nurturing and fostering strategic alliances and strategic channel relationships. We have dozens of alliances today and nearly ten thousand channel partners that are building entire businesses atop of Citrix.”

Minahan took the stage after opening comments from ASAP President and CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP, and an introduction by ASAP Chairman Brooke Paige, CSAP, vice president of alliance management at Pear Therapeutics. Leonetti emphasized to a jam-packed ballroom how, historically, more than half of alliances fail or fail to deliver—but today, “we’ve reversed that trend of alliance failure,”  citing ASAP and other research data indicating “those organizations that have implemented ASAP best practices, and have certified practitioners, are able to achieve up to 80% success rates.” The recent ASAP 6th State of the Alliance research study, he added, “shows that alliances that use best practices make more money. That was something intuitively known for a long time in the ASAP community, but now the data show it as well.”

Leonetti emphasized—and Minahan exemplified—that today, alliance management has a seat at the leadership table and correspondingly, the C-suite itself better understands, is more engaged, and more than ever emphasizes business collaboration and partnering strategy to drive growth, innovate, and deliver better experience and value to customers. Leonetti clicked to a slide citing a slew of business research studies “since 2014 that consistently say CEOs now get it” and rely upon “new strategic alliances for growth, innovation, and go-to-market.” Indeed, “KPMG’s CEO Outlook study in 2016 said 40 percent of CEOs believe we need to move alliances to the C-level.”

For the ASAP community, this advance—of partnering as profession and alliances as core to company strategy—has been a two-decade journey. This year ASAP celebrates the 20th anniversary of its founding. (See the Q2 2018 issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine for a look back at ASAP’s formative years.) Leonetti did a shout out to ASAP’s Founding Chairman Robert Porter Lynch, CSAP, asking him to stand up and be recognized. “Talk about a visionary,” Leonetti exulted as the audience enthusiastically applauded Lynch. “We appreciate everything you’ve done, Robert.”

Leonetti concluded his comments by emphasizing, “We really need a vibrant community. Engagement is the key to our growth. We have the tools, the people, and we have the attention of every CEO. The table is set.”

To introduce the keynoter, Leonetti invited the ASAP chairman to the stage, recalling that he and Paige both “started in ASAP in 2003. Brooke is now VP at Pear Therapeutics. Brooke has worked with companies with 80,000 people and now, I think, with 50.”

Paige took the handoff. “Here at ASAP we love to talk about the ASAP family, a close community of alliance practitioners. But the question is, what kind of family are we?” she asked. “I was talking to my teenage stepson about alliance management, describing what we do. I said sometimes we see things way ahead in the future that others don’t see. Sometimes we’re dealing with a derailment of a partnership and helping to fix it. Sometimes we’re doing things that nobody else sees. My stepson said it sounds like alliance managers are superheroes,” she said, clicking to a slide with images from recent Marvel comics movies, then to the next slide with the headline on the front page of Superman’s Daily Planet: “Alliance Managers Save the World!”

Paige then introduced Minahan, an English and political science major and graduate of the Kellogg School of Management’s Chief Marketing Officer Program, who joined $3.2 billion Citrix about two years ago. Minahan framed his presentation around the theme of “everything I ever needed to know about strategic alliances I learned from the Beatles.”

Read more of Minahan’s comments—and alliance management insights he derived from Beatles songs—in Part 2 of this blog post.

Tags:  alliance managers  Brooke Paige  Citrix  Michael Leonetti  partnership  Pear Therapeutics  Tim Minahan 

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Q1 2018 Strategic Alliance Magazine: The Changing Face of Data Security in Multi-partnering; Insights from Genpact’s Donna Peek; Global Alliance Summit Preview; Happy 20th, ASAP!

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, March 12, 2018
Updated: Saturday, March 10, 2018

Is your company risking underinvestment in data security during a time of major digital transformation? That’s one of the big questions posed in the 2018 Q1 Strategic Alliance Magazine, which is packed with information on emerging security trends that impact today’s evolving multi-industry, multi-partnering ecosystem. “The amount of digital disruption that is occurring—whether in IoT sensors, new business models, the amount of data being produced every day, and the introduction of the cryp­tocurrencies—is creating unlimited opportunities for threat factors … that bad actors can attack,” remarks Steve Benvenuto, senior director in the global security part­ner sales organization at Cisco Systems.

Adding to that challenge: “At the current churn rate, about half of all S&P 500 companies will be replaced over the next ten years,” according to Innosight management consulting company. Risking a security breach in the present climate could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The package of articles provides insights on implementing and maintaining secure systems, especially in light of evolving multi-industry, multi-partnering business models. Citing the US government’s 2017 release of its first “Guidelines and Practices for Multi-Party Vulnerability Coordination and Disclosure,” the articles delve into a range of related cutting-edge topics:

  • Evolving blockchain technology, a promising new framework for supply chain security
  • Case studies on innovative new supply chain models in the pharmaceutical, automotive, shipping, food, and other industries, as explained by NetApp’s Ron Long, CSAP
  •  “Digital Transformation > Changing Business Models > the Impact on Security in Partnering,” what alliance managers need to know to stay abreast of the change, through the eyes of Philip Sack, CSAP, of CollaboRare & the Digital Leadership Institute
  • A behavioral scientist’s perspective on why CEO and company leaders tend to underinvest in security
  • Ideas for onboarding company culture and security protocols for an easy transition on the digital transformation wave

Companies need to carpe diem in this unprecedented, fast-evolving era of digital transformation, adds Donna Peek, CSAP, vice president of global alliances at Genpact, in this issue’s Member Spotlight. “Alliances have never been more strategic and collaboration skills never more vital to corporate success,” says Peek, a highly experienced alliance manager and member of the ASAP Board of Directors. She then provides readers with best practices and solid guideposts necessary for maneuvering today’s obstacle course of disruptions and digital transformation drivers.

The security package is not the only highlight of this issue: 2018 is ASAP’s 20th anniversary since its creation in 1998, a notable milestone that shows the foresight of its founders and value of its mission. Personal accounts and insights into the association’s evolution are provided by ASAP’s President and CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP, as well as early thought leaders Robert Porter Lynch, CSAP, and Ard-Pieter de Man, CSAP. “[D]espite the indelible mark we’ve made in business—al­liance management is an essential function and capability in a wide array of leading companies and industries—we still need to roll up our sleeves today with the same bold­ness and vision that our founders had two decades ago. This is a call to action to all of you who are a part of this remarkable journey,” writes Leonetti in his Up Front column.

This issue then provides a synopsis of what’s to come at the 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Propelling Partnering for the On-Demand World: New Perspectives + Prov­en Practices for Collaborative Business,” to be held March 26-28 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. After providing perspective on the first Summit in 1999, during an era of boom boxes and floppy disks, the articles gives readers agenda highlights, previews of four plenary talks, workshop information, and a who’s who of finalists for the 2018 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards

Tags:  alliance managers  Best Practices  blockchain  breach  collaboration  data security  digital transformation  Donna Peek  Genpact  IoT  multi-industry  multi-partnerhing  NetApp  Phil Sack  Ron Long  Strategic Alliance Magazine  supply chain 

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Huawei’s Strategy for Partnering Success (Part Two): Focusing on Customer Challenges that ‘Only Innovative Partnering Solutions Can Solve’

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Updated: Saturday, March 3, 2018

This is the second of a two-part blog post based on my recent interview with Greg Fox, CSAP, a longtime ASAP member who is currently vice president of strategic alliances at Huawei Technologies, headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. For the past two years, Fox has lead Huawei’s efforts to build information and communications technologies (ICT) industry-leading alliance management competencies and global partnering capabilities.

 

Organizations that Huawei is most apt to forge alliances with are heavily driven and influenced by the needs of their business groups and associated business units, where Huawei products and solutions are incubated, produced, and delivered to the market.

 

According to Fox, during the early phases, he and his team were focused on traditional alliances in the IT space, including independent software vendors (ISVs), systems integrators (SIs), and key technology partners. As the business evolved and expanded beyond this core, it brought in a new era of partnering with non-traditional partners focused on specific industries.

 

“For example, we partner with GE Digital to push the industrial industry towards digitization and automation, with KUKA for smart factories to enable acceptance of the smart production applications in the manufacturing sector, and with the likes of Honeywell to bring to market smart building offerings that take advantage of the latest IoT [Internet of Things] technologies to help make buildings more sustainable, secure and energy efficient,” he said. “In our digital transformation platform effort, we are open to any mutually advantageous partnering arrangement, where we together can combine our capabilities and value to deliver customer success.”

 

Fox explained that some partners are global and cross-industry in nature, while others focus on specific industry business needs, where a relationship may just be tied to that industry. “We are finding that in this age of digital transformation and the desire for increased innovation, productivity, and growth, there are not absolute boundaries that exist. What we do today with a partner in one industry, as the business grows, and we prove things and show success, this may also lead to expanding that partnership to include another industry, and it can scale in breadth and scope, but also in depth.”

 

The most attractive areas of cooperation for Huawei today, and for the foreseeable future, are areas in which customers are experiencing their biggest business challenges that only innovative partnering solutions can solve. One of the central business challenges they face is how to foster innovation and achieve growth, and many are placing digital transformation at the center of their strategies through 2020. Yet, according to Forrester research, only 27% of businesses have a coherent digital transformation strategy in place for creating customer value. This is a major concern, and there is fear of becoming obsolete if this gap is not addressed.

 

Huawei’s goal is to be the digital transformation platform that connects intelligence, data, and devices, and that enables its customers to increase engagement with partners and develop applications that foster innovation. “The beauty of digital transformation is that its customer-centric marketing and business processes require the ability to work across business verticals and silos, which requires partners and ecosystems to achieve,” Fox said.

 

To learn more about Huawei’s partnering efforts, read part one of this blog as well as Genevieve Fraser’s Member Spotlight in the Q4 2017 issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine. Greg Fox also co-presented, with Andrew Yeomans, CSAP, of Merck Serono, the January 18, 2018 ASAP Netcast webinar “Building the Engines of Collaboration Inside and Beyond the Borders of Mainland China.”

Tags:  alliance management  cloud  digital transformation  GE Digital  global partnering capabilities  governance structures  Greg Fox  Honeywell  Huawei Technologies  ICT  independent software vendors (ISVs)  manage alliance relationship  partnerships  strategic alliances  systems integrators (SIs)  technology partners 

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Huawei’s Strategy for Partnering Success (Part One): Tapping into the ASAP Community’s Best Practices, Professional Development, and Tools

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Monday, March 5, 2018
Updated: Saturday, March 3, 2018

Decades before Greg Fox, CSAP, assumed his current position as vice president of strategic alliances at Huawei Technologies, headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, he held senior strategy, channels, sales, alliance management, marketing, product management, and business development positions at Citrix, Cisco, Novell, and HPE. For the past two years, Fox has lead Huawei’s efforts to build information and communications technologies (ICT) industry-leading alliance management competencies and global partnering capabilities. Today, Huawei Technologies is the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world.

 

“Having a strategic alliance background has provided a competitive edge with prospective partners. In fact, strategic alliances are quickly becoming a core part of the Huawei culture and an embedded part of our business strategy,” Fox stated.

 

“And with Huawei’s global market leadership in key markets involving carrier, consumer, enterprise and now cloud, many companies want to do business with us for mutual business advantage. It is a nice problem to have, but that makes it ever more important that we do partnerships the right way, and we set them up for the long-term,” he explained.

 

Given the magnitude and scope of their current level of partnerships, Huawei has developed a tier-one companywide process called Manage Alliance Relationship (MAR) that focuses exclusively on managing the alliance relationship process. This includes traditional 1:1 alliances, as well as managing one to many and many to many partnerships.

 

As Huawei has adopted many of ASAP’s best practices and tools for partner evaluation, recruitment, and on-boarding, the alliance management organization has created many templates within the MAR process. These templates and tools are actively used in every current or prospective strategic partnership and have afforded Huawei a competitive edge in cultivating its growing portfolio of partnerships.

 

“We have a straightforward approach outlined by a five-step process to executing mutually profitable partnerships and as we follow this, we feel that we can improve the odds of success and ensure that all parties profit,” Fox said.

 

“The first step involves partners agreeing on a common set of objectives and a strategy for achieving them and being clear on what all sides get from the alliance. Next, partners must write out a business plan, including determining who is our customer, why will they buy from us, and what is our expected ROI [return on investment]. Third, partners must install governance structures that assign key responsibilities, clarifying who is responsible for what, and which has an identified sponsor who is senior enough to mobilize resources and change course if things go off track,” he said.

 

“Step four involves creating proper incentives for both the direct sales force and indirect channel, with compensation designed to get all parties to make the alliance a priority. And finally, every partnership should be flexible, and alliances must be reviewed quarterly to help leaders respond to changing business conditions,” Fox explained.

 

The five steps are not performed once and then set aside. Instead they are done in an iterative loop, where processes are refined, and targets regularly adjusted as needed, based on every changing competitive environment.

 

To learn more about Huawei’s partnering efforts, see Part Two of this blog as well as Genevieve Fraser’s Member Spotlight in the Q4 2017 issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine. Greg Fox also co-presented, with Andrew Yeomans, CSAP, of Merck Serono, the January 18, 2018 ASAP Netcast webinar “Building the Engines of Collaboration Inside and Beyond the Borders of Mainland China.”

Tags:  alliance management  business development  channels  Cisco  Citrix  cloud  governance structures  Greg Fox  HPE  Huawei Technologies  manage alliance relationship  marketing  Novell  partnerships  product management  sales  strategic alliances  strategy 

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