My Profile   |   Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Register
ASAP Blog
Blog Home All Blogs
Welcome to ASAP Blog, the best place to stay current regarding upcoming events, member companies, the latest trends, and leaders in the industry. Blogs are posted at least once a week; members may subscribe to receive notifications when new blogs are posted by clicking the "Subscribe" link above.

 

Search all posts for:   

 

Top tags: alliance management  alliances  collaboration  partnering  alliance  partner  partners  alliance managers  partnerships  ecosystem  alliance manager  The Rhythm of Business  partnership  Jan Twombly  biopharma  Vantage Partners  Eli Lilly and Company  governance  Strategic Alliance Magazine  IBM  IoT  strategy  ASAP BioPharma Conference  cloud  healthcare  innovation  Microsoft  NetApp  strategic alliances  2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit 

A Virtual Event, but a Rich, Living Community—Thanks to You!

Posted By Michael J. Burke, Wednesday, July 1, 2020

What a day! And what a Summit!

Thursday, the final day of the 2020 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, was filled with highlights, and served as a resounding demonstration that the ASAP community is alive and well and that the whole organization and its members and staff are supremely flexible and able to pivot from an in-person gathering to a very successful virtual event.

Flexibility and agility, in fact, were two of the recurring themes of this year’s Summit, and its last day was no exception. The day’s livestream programming began with an in-depth panel discussion, “Biopharma Commercial Alliance Management Challenges,” skillfully moderated by Jan Twombly, CSAP, president of The Rhythm of Business, and featuring eminent panelists Brooke Paige, CSAP, former vice president of alliance management at Pear Therapeutics and ASAP board chair; David S. Thompson, CSAP, chief alliance officer at Eli Lilly and Company; and Andrew Yeomans, CSAP, global alliance lead for UCB.

Aligning Around the North Star

Commercial alliances are the go-to-market phase of biopharma partnering, and thus there’s often a lot riding on their success or failure. The panelists discussed various aspects of delivering value from commercial alliances given the business risks, human risks, and legal uncertainties; the prospect of misalignment between partners; the perils of operating in different geographic regions with their varying cultures and regulations; the need for speed and flexibility; and other pitfalls.

Amid such challenges, alliance managers have to keep their eyes on the prize—or, as Paige put it, “It always goes back to the basics: providing alignment by constantly pointing to the North Star of the alliance.”

Twombly noted that bringing partners together to hash out a commercial strategy to maximize value coming from the alliance—and then implementing it effectively—is always “the crux of the matter.”

Yeomans, citing an alliance that operated in China as well as other experiences, said the constantly accelerating speed of events means that even the most experienced alliance managers end up “learning on the job.” “Things are so much more immediate in the real world,” he said. “A lot of things can happen fast.”

More than one panelist mentioned the human element in these alliances—from training alliance professionals to dealing with human risk and misalignment. “It comes down to, do you have the right people?” Paige said. “You have to have the right people with the right mindset” to make the alliance work effectively.

Driving alignment, according to Yeomans, happens in “three buckets”: formal (contract terms), semiformal (governance), and informal, which includes both performing regular health checks and doing the internal work of alignment to “get your own house in order.” In this way issues get turned around and resolved, and escalation is avoided. “This is where alliance management can really come to the fore and add value,” he said.

He also urged alliance managers to work toward achieving a “complementary fit” in the partnership and to “be a conduit” between global and regional representatives and between partners. “Be adaptable and be ahead of the curve. In this way you become almost the go-to person,” he said.

Despite the challenges, Yeomans said he could “wholeheartedly recommend” getting into commercial alliances. “Venture forth. Go forth and conquer!” he exhorted.

Influencers, Referral Partners, Resellers, and Customers

The next presentation in today’s livestream was also concerned with go-to-market partnering, albeit geared more toward the tech industry—but with broader applicability as well. Larry Walsh, CEO and chief analyst of The 2112 Group, spoke on “Making Everyone a Part of the Sales Process”—and by “everyone” he meant not just resellers, but also influencers and referral partners. All have a role to play, and if handled correctly, all contribute to the eventual sale and the booking of revenue.

In fact, the customer should also be included in this continuum, as a satisfied customer could be converted into an influencer, or even a referrer, according to Walsh. He quoted one of his “heroes,” Peter Drucker—no doubt a hero to some others in the ASAP community—who said, “The purpose of a business is to create a customer.”

“That’s why we have channels,” Walsh elaborated. “You try to create points of sale as close to the customer as possible.”

Walsh reminded the audience that the oft-mentioned “customer journey” is in reality just “part of the totality of their experience,” in which even if they’re not buying your brand, they’re still making judgments on it one way or the other. Thus it’s important to try to effectively engage everyone along the continuum from influencers to referrers to resellers to customers because, while expectations should not be overestimated, successful referral programs can be very effective. “Referrals have a lot of power!” Walsh enthused.

Since customers who are happy with a product or solution can become influencers, and influencers can become referrers, and a referral partner may even seem to be a sort of “lightweight reseller” in Walsh’s phrase, this seems to ring true. It also dovetailed with something that Tiffani Bova of Salesforce said on the first day of this year’s Summit: “Your greatest sales force is your customers and partners advocating on your behalf.”

Partner to Partner in the Ecosystem Cloud

“Customers and partners” was a theme of the day’s final presentation as well. Amit Sinha, chief customer officer and cofounder of WorkSpan, and Dan Rippey, director of engineering for Microsoft's One Commercial Partner program, gave a presentation with the lengthy title “How the Microsoft Partner-to-Partner Program Is Disrupting How Technology Companies Are Leveraging the Power of Ecosystems to Grow Their Business, Acquire New Customers, and Gain Competitive Advantage.”

It’s a mouthful, no doubt, but Sinha and Rippey provided some great insights into, first, how WorkSpan uses its Ecosystem Cloud product to help alliance managers, channel partners—really anyone who puts partners together and seeks to manage and keep track of a multipartner ecosystem—both collaborate better and gain greater visibility into the tasks, activities, processes, pipelines, workflows, etc., that are creating value.

Sinha noted that traditionally, “a lot of partnering is meeting people.” Current conditions certainly make that challenging—our Summit being no exception—but he said that with Ecosystem Cloud, remote work becomes more possible and effective and “we can scale even in COVID times.” In addition, as partnerships become more multi-way and complex, these tools become even more necessary. “It’s shifting toward an ecosystem,” he said. “It’s multipartner.”

Among the major partners in this ecosystem is Microsoft, which is where Rippey comes in. As Microsoft has shifted over the years from selling products to selling more solution-based offerings, it has also shifted from an emphasis on individual partnerships—or “pick a partner to work with the customer,” as he said—to more collaborative solution creation and selling arrangements involving multiple partners.

Microsoft realized that it needed to encourage partner-to-partner—or P2P—collaboration in order to push the company forward and grow the ecosystem. It needed to “embrace multiparty conversations,” in Rippey’s words. “In some cases Microsoft just gets out of the way. It really puts the partners at the center of the conversation.” In other cases, Microsoft comes back to the table as needed, but either way, he said, “This puts the partner in the lead.”

When a new solution is discussed, the first question is, “Did somebody already build this?” In that case those partners can be pulled in to tailor the solution to the new end customer in mind. Otherwise, “is this an opportunity,” Rippey said, to design something new?

He noted that while Microsoft doesn’t always have to lead these discussions, they seem to be fruitful in any case, and the P2P program has led to “exponential growth.” Some of its new capabilities will be “lighting up for our partners next year,” he said. “It is Microsoft’s joy to see those partners succeed, [often] without needing our help.”

New Thinking at the New Breakfast Table

This does not come without new thinking, or at times “uncomfortable” negotiations or conversations, Rippey admitted. But he said it forces a large enterprise like Microsoft to be “putting [our] startup hat on again” and to get out and “hustle at all tiers of the ecosystem.” As is often the case in the IT world, some of Microsoft’s competitors are also involved, because “we’re better together.”

And while the P2P platform—just like a social media site—is in need of “moderation,” as Sinha put it, so that there are rules and community norms and some structure, it’s also important to be fairly straightforward about your company’s needs, capabilities, and interests.

“A negotiation is designed to be uncomfortable,” Rippey said. “Be up front, be blunt about what you need, and be OK to say, ‘It looks like we’re misaligned here.’”

Both Sinha and Rippey commented on the need for speed, agility, and flexibility in working with partners, especially in the current pandemic conditions.

“The nature of collaboration has always been getting together to do things,” Sinha said. “Getting together in a room, in each other’s offices, to do joint business planning. Now we have to do more remote collaboration.”

Rippey noted that Microsoft itself had to transition its usual annual “show” from in-person in Las Vegas to virtual this year, which he said was “incredibly hard to do.” But, he added, “It’s not about the show, it’s about the conversations in the hallways. You walk into breakfast and you have nothing, but you sit down next to someone and you walk out of breakfast and you have something—a connection, a business card. It’s really hard to do digitally, and you can’t do it without a platform. We’re providing that new breakfast table.”

Here’s hoping we can all meet again before long over breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a beverage to share insights and stories and to make connections. But until that time, it’s nice to know that we can meet virtually as members of the ASAP community and still get the benefits of sharing all the great wisdom, information, and learning that so many have been able to contribute.

Tags:  aligning  Alliance Management  Amit Sinha  Andrew Yeomans  Biopharma  Brooke Paige  channel  cloud  Commercial  Dan Rippey  David S. Thompson  ecosystem  Eli Lilly and Company  Influencers  Jan Twombly  Larry Walsh  Microsoft  Referral Partners  The 2112 Group  The Rhythm of Business  UCB  WorkSpan 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

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 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

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 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
For more information email us at info@strategic-alliances.org or call +1-781-562-1630