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“Conductor of the Orchestra”: How Alliance Managers Harmonize Organizational Complexity

Posted By Michael J. Burke, Thursday, November 14, 2019

In “matrix organizations”—those working on multiple, complex, often large-scale projects with at least two chains of command—building and maintaining the alliance function “all comes down to leadership.” That was one of the key observations made by Lucinda Warren, who delivered the opening day keynote address at the ASAP European Alliance Summit on Nov. 14 in Amsterdam.

            Warren, vice president of business development, neuroscience, Janssen Business Development at Johnson & Johnson Innovation and also an alliance management veteran, called her talk “Leadership and Skills in Managing an Alliance in a Matrix Organization.” In an enterprise running multiple projects across multiple functions—and with multiple partners—who will tie it all together? Who will serve as the voice of the alliance and be the advocate for the partner, as needed?

            The alliance manager, of course.

            Some of the challenges, issues, and important insights that come with matrix organizations and their increased partnering complexity, Warren said, include:

  • “Alliances are not projects,” and thus alliance managers are not project managers, although the roles are often confused.
  •  Alliance managers create value; project managers deliver value.
  • Alliance management is critical throughout the product or asset life cycle; project management is critical at certain specific points.
  • When resources are stretched, alliance functions don’t always solve for it.
  • Alliance management is one function, but real collaboration requires the coordination and participation of multiple experts from various functions.
  • Who are the decision makers going to be? This question must be looked at from both internal and external perspectives.
  • Alliance management proactively identifies potential risks and seeks to mitigate them.

Warren further noted that having an alliance creates a sort of alliance “tax” on organizations—since all decisions and most information must be shared with the partner, it can double or even triple the time it takes to perform many actions, which can increase costs. Alliance managers need to help navigate these activities and act as the “conductor of the orchestra”: being familiar with all the instruments that are playing and making sure that each one—and all of them together—is “tuned perfectly for the ear.” They don’t know how to do each job, but (to switch to an electrical metaphor) they know which circuits need to be reset.

            They need to navigate not only their own organization but also the partner’s—otherwise they (and others) will be operating in a “black box” in which the partner’s challenges and motivations may remain unknown and/or misunderstood. Communication is thus imperative—about timelines, how decisions are made, how governance is to be conducted, etc.

            Which brings us to the critical role of leadership. As Warren said, “The value of the alliance function needs to be woven into the fabric of the organization.” Thus alliances and alliance management must be integrated into business strategy and operations—with full senior leadership backing and engagement. With increasing reliance by matrix organizations on partnering, everything that is done influences future collaborations and thus should be tilted toward attracting more partners going forward. Benchmarks must be established, with the goal of being a more successful partner.

            Warren said that alliance management is “more important than ever before,” and that the alliance manager is often “the CEO’s right-hand man,” the one who knows everything that’s happening, internally across functions and at the partner organization. Since these functions—and partners—typically speak different languages, the alliance manager’s job is to bridge divides for a common goal, bring everyone together in an unbiased and objective way, and not take sides.

            Or not take sides, except as the advocate for and representative of the alliance itself. “If we’re successful, people forget there’s a collaboration,” Warren concluded. “No fires are burning, nobody’s getting sued. It’s a thankless job, but [when done well] people seek you out as an expert who can triage. You’re the driver of organizational capability enhancement.”

Tags:  Alliance manager  alliances  CEO  Cindy Warren  collaboration  creating value  leadership  life cycle  matrix organization  mitigate risk 

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2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit To Provide New Business Perspectives and Proven Leadership Practices

Posted By John W. DeWitt and Cynthia Hansen, Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Some 50-plus seasoned alliance managers and business insiders to share their know-how and valuable content in the form of sessions, workshops, talks, and panel discussions from 35-plus leading companies, educational institutions, and consultancies

The Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP), an international association dedicated to the leadership and practice of alliance management, partnering, and business collaboration, announced the theme for the 2018 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. The largest international management education opportunity of its kind, participants have access to the latest trends in the profession from a range of leading industry thought leaders providing groundbreaking talks, practical workshops, and cutting-edge sessions.

The 2018 Summit particularly emphasizes programming for veteran alliance mangers that focuses on how to apply leading edge practices and seasoned know- how at a time of considerable change with increasing multi-industry partnering. The thought leaders representing numerous industry verticals will include influential c-level and senior executives from Fortune 100 and 500 companies.

The Summit will provide a rich mix of:

  • Fifty-plus facilitators, speakers, and panelists representing 35-plus industry-leading companies, educational institutions, and consultancies
  • Twenty-eight education sessions and in-conference workshops
  • Ten-plus hours of business development and networking opportunities
  • Eight different in-conference tracks
  • Six pre-conference workshops
  • A biopharma leadership panel session
  • The renowned ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards ceremony
  • Ample networking opportunities and an engaging roundtable session

Strong international participation in past Summits has created a diverse, global, cross-cultural climate with 25 percent attendance from countries such as Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

The Summit is offering intensive leadership-related pre-conference workshops Monday, March 26, on topics such as ASAP’s newly launched in-house TE-AM Training, another on overcoming obstacles and conflict, leveraging the new ISO 44001 Collaborative Business Relationship Management Standard, Game Theory in strategic decision making and negotiations, Alliance Management 201 as a follow-up to the 101 session, and CA-AM exam preparation.

The event will start off Tuesday, March 27, with a timely keynote address by tech insider Tim Minahan, senior vice president of business strategy and chief marketing officer at Citrix. A leader in global marketing strategy and operations, he is responsible for securely deliver the world's most important apps and data. A tech eclectic, Minahan has served in a broad range of business leadership roles at leading enterprise software, cloud, and services firms. He is particularly adept at defining new markets and positioning companies to own them. He previously spearheaded SAP's successful transition to the cloud as CMO of the company's cloud and line-of-business unit. He joined SAP when the company acquired Ariba, where he was Ariba’s global CMO and senior vice president of business network strategy where he led the commercial strategy for the Ariba Network, the world's largest and most global business network. He also oversaw the design and execution of go-to-market programs and marketing initiatives to fuel Ariba’s growth as a leading cloud company. 

Before the day’s close, attendees will be privy to the winners of the ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards, a big favorite as companies are honored for their alliance capabilities in specific categories. The Summit will also highlight four scheduled plenaries from top-level speakers: two from pharma companies, including Mark Noguchi, Roche’s VP and global head of alliances and asset management and Lucinda Warren, VP, business development, neuroscience at Johnson & Johnson Innovation; two from high tech companies, including Russ Cobb, global VP of alliances and channels at SAS and Wayne Usie, senior vice president & chief market development officer at JDA Software. The remainder of the Summit will include a wide variety of sessions in eight different tracks that are geared toward enhancing alliance performance, such as the life sciences, tech, and leadership. The Summit will be strongly weighted toward higher-level alliance education, such as how to think strategically and how to drive collaborative leadership throughout an organization. A new, particularly strong leadership panel session will be comprised of biopharma executives David Thompson, CA-AM, CAO at Eli Lilly and Company; Mark Noguchi, VP and global head of alliances and asset management at Roche; Casey Caperelli, head of alliance and integration management at Amgen; Nancy Griffin, CA-AM, VP of alliances with Novartis.

Attendees can expect to receive strong content from recurring Summit rainmakers, such as:

  • Ben Gomes-Casseres, CSAP, Brandeis University and author of Remix Strategy partnered with Greg McGahan, PwC deals partner and alliances/joint venture practice leader, in their session “Alliances in Corporate Development: Back to the Future?”  
  • Stuart Kliman, a partner and head of alliance management practice at Vantage Partners with “Realizing the Value of Non-Traditional Partnerships in Pharma/Biotech and Technology”
  • Jan Twombly, CSAP, president, The Rhythm of Business, and Jeff Shuman, CSAP, principal, The Rhythm of Business, and professor of management, Bentley University with “Joint Development of Complex Solutions Requires Extreme Partnering”  
  • Joe Schramm, vice president strategic alliances, BeyondTrust, and Morgan Wheaton, senior director, global partner alliances & channels, JDA Software with Partnering with Change in a World of Ongoing Disruption”
  • Dr. Ard-Pieter de Man, CSAP, School of Business and Economics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam with “Building Your Collaborative Business Model”

Additionally, a mix of sessions will be providing strategic perspectives and management insights in a range of industries, such as:

  • “Architecting for Transformation: The Next Generation Partner Ecosystem,” by Russ Cobb, global vice president alliances and channels, SAS Institute, and Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, founding principal, Phoenix Consulting Group
  • “How to Optimize Value and Gracefully End Alliance Relationships,” by Jeff Hurley, CA-AM, alliance management director, Eli Lilly and Company, and Ron McRae, CSAP, director of alliance management, Janssen Biotech
  • “Alliance Management: A Growing, Enterprise-wide Activity,” by Karen Denton, CA-AM, alliance management director, BD&L alliance management, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, and Christoph Huwe, CA-AM, PhD, strategic alliance manager therapeutics, global external innovation & alliances, Bayer Pharmaceuticals
  • “Centralized vs. Decentralized Alliance Organizations: How to Survive and Thrive in Both Ecosystems!”, by Tony DeSpirito, CSAP, vice president/general manager of operation services, Schneider Electric, and Scott San Antonio, CA-AM, global director for IoT and edge compute alliances, Schneider Electric

This is a representative selection of what’s on the docket. For more information about the Summit keynote, agenda, sessions, workshops, and other programming, go to: http://asapsummit.org/.

Tags:  Amgen  Bayer  Casey Caperelli  Cindy Warren  Citrix  Eli Lilly and Company  Janssen Biotech  Jeff Hurley  Joe Schramm  Johnson and Johnson Innovation  Karen Denton  Mark Noguchi  Nancy Griffin  Novartis  Roche  Ron McRae  Russ Cobb  SAS Institute  Schneider Electric  Tim Minahan  Tony DeSpirito  Wayne Usie 

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Q4 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine: Improving Your Communication Skills, Incorporating Ninja Philosophy, and Adding Other Valuable Tools to Your Alliance Manager Toolbox

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sharp communication skills are an essential tool in the alliance manager’s toolbox, so we highlight the topic in the Q4 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine. The lead article, “Upping Your Communications Game,” touches on several tools that can help build the collaboration framework. Several professionals address how to fine-tune those skills, including Eli Lilly and Company’s Mike Berglund, CA-AM on framework construction, body language experts Jack Brown and Clark Freshman on reading nonverbal communication, Anny Bedard of ABio Consulting on cross-cultural communication, and Trisha Griffin-Carty, owner of Griffin-Carty Communications, on the value of weaving stories into presentations. 

We also preview keynote speaker Jonathan Ballon, vice president of the Internet of Things Group at Intel, and other presenters bringing their leading-edge expertise to the upcoming March 1-4, 2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, to be held in National Harbor, Maryland, adjacent to Washington, D.C. As in previous years, the 2016 Summit is on the forefront of alliance management practice, with this year’s program honing in on the diversity of skills required for “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem.” Also included in this issue are snippets of events at the Boston BioPharma gathering, “Conference Focuses on Surfing the Shifting BioPharma Wave,” as well as a recap of the 2015 ASAP European Alliance Summit, “The New Ecosystem for Partnerships.” 

Several philosophical voices espouse the value of “ninja” alliance management in the Your Career feature—metaphorically harnessing the ancient elements of earth, water, fire and wind and incorporating them into your daily practice. The article combines the ancient ninja concept with thoroughly modern wisdom and advice from Cindy Warren, vice president of alliance management at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, and four panelists at a lively session, “Cultivating an Alliance Management Career,” held Sept. 11 at the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference in Boston. Panelists spoke in ways that fit with a philosophical view of ninja practice: the earth element of being grounded and standing your ground; the water element of soft skills and moving around obstacles; tending the fire element by diffusing and managing conflict; harnessing the wind element by bending and being adaptable. For a quick synopsis on what to look for in an alliance manager, we added a short sidebar of Warren’s Top 10 qualities. 

There is a review of Remix Strategy: The Three Laws of Business Combinations, by Benjamin Gomes-Casseres, CSAP—a roadmap for the best partnering routes. Also, a heartfelt tribute to Tom Halle, CSAP, a longtime leader, mentor, and champion of the alliance management profession who recently passed away from lung cancer. The magazine also spotlights corporate member Amgen for its investment in strategic alliances with dozens of active partnerships involving cross-functional governance, while improving its own internal governance and processes, to build healthy, longterm partnerships. The quarterly editorial supplement, sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company, features the article “Major Moves: Simplifying Alliance Management Product Transitions With Thorough Planning” by Rachelle E. Hawkins, CA-AM, Joanna L. C. May, CA-AM, and David Thompson, CA-AM, on the challenging steps involved in transitioning a globally marketed asset to another company. 

Without the two critical components of good communication and inspired leadership, “a company can end up parading barren goods or services, much like The Emperor who was tricked into believing that he wore a fine suit when nothing of value was really there,” advises The Close’s “The Master Alliance Weaver at Work,” which focuses on the qualities and characteristics essential for a “durable cloth from which to create and deliver significant value.” All valuable information that you need as you build value into your practice at a time when strategic partnering continues to increase in complexity. 

Tags:  ABio Consulting  alliance management  alliance manager  Anny Bedard  Benjamin Gomes-Casseres  body language  Cindy Warren  Clark Freshman  David Thompson  Eli Lilly and Company  Jack Brown  Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies  Mike Berglund  non-verbal communication  Rachelle E. Hawkins  Strategic Alliance Magazine 

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Q3 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine: Alliance Leaders Make the Paradigm Shift to Cross-Industry and Ecosystem Partnering, Plus Partnering in the Channel and More

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, September 24, 2015

The latest issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine, Q3 2015, now available to ASAP members, invites readers to explore a paradigm shift occurring in the life sciences and healthcare industries (and many others too). Veteran alliance executives discuss how to adapt, lead, and orchestrate in new and innovative ways, as cross-industry collaborations proliferate thanks to high tech and other industries entering the traditional biopharma and healthcare arena. Alliance managers are challenged to read the tea leaves and adapt to customer-centric trends and other drivers forcing change.

 

SAM Q3 2015 also provides a preview of the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference that took place in Boston Sept. 9-11 “Alliance Expertise at the Forefront: Leadership for the Ecosystem.” Highlights include the opening evening keynote on the analytics-driven innovative partnerships Boston-based Berg Pharmaceuticals has formed with research hospitals, as well as three “ASAP Quick Takes” given by IBM Institute for Business Value's Heather Fraser, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson’s Cindy Warren, and the Alzheimer’s Association’s Lenore Jackson-Pope. The talks were preceded by professional development workshops and followed by a rich selection of educational sessions.

 

In our quarterly Alliance Champion feature, I interviewed Leona Kral, CSAP, of Verizon, who offered insights on driving revenue in channel management. Adaptation, agility, and innovation are critical components for alliance managers dealing with a fluid business environment, and that requires a wardrobe of hats alliance managers can wear to compliment their changing roles, she advises. Kral joined with her Verizon colleague Karen Robinson, CSAP, to present ASAP’s September Netcast Webinar, “What in the World are Two Alliance Professionals Doing in the Channel?” available for viewing in the ASAP Member Resource Library.

 

Continuing in the same vein of exploring the challenges (and opportunities) in channel sales partnerships, Dede Haas, CA-AM, founder and president of DLH Services, outlines the problems that make channel partners unhappy with vendors, and then offers practical advice from experienced channel executives on how to improve such collaborations through trust-based relationships.

 

The magazine also spotlighted how corporate member Dassault Systèmes and its partners use three-dimensional visualization technologies and collaborative tools—in the process changing the way business is being done in industries ranging from manufacturing and high tech to architecture and engineering, as well as in the public sector.

 

In the magazine’s quarterly editorial supplement, sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company, Michael Berglund, CA-AM and David Thompson, CA-AM, explore the powerful impact of the “conviction curve” on whether or not decision-making processes are actually collaborative. Berglund also delved into the topic in his well-attended workshop at this month’s ASAP BioPharma Conference, honing in on the crucial distinction of “Are We Negotiating or Collaborating?”

 

“Are you ready to thrive at the center of the action?” asks executive publisher and ASAP President and CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP, in his engaging Up Front editorial. Alliances are taking new forms as partnering proliferates across the new ecosystem, and this issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine appropriately points out that alliance management needs to be embedded and is an essential component to the culture of today’s business enterprises if they are to adapt and proliferate in the emerging ecosystem.

Tags:  alliance  ASAP BioPharma Conference  Cindy Warren  collaboration  Dassault Systèmes  David Thompson  Dede Haas  ecosystem  Heather Fraser  Karen Robinson  Lenore Jackson-Pope  Leona Kral.ASAP Netcast Webinar  Michael Berglund  Strategic Alliance Magazine 

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Biopharma Alliance Management in the Ecosystem Era: Three Leaders Offer Quick ‘Doses’ of Advice Followed by Deeper Dive ‘Treatments’ for Staying Abreast of Change in the Field

Posted By Cynthia Hanson, Thursday, September 10, 2015

ASAP presented three plenary sessions Thursday morning, Sept. 10, in an engaging new 20-minute topic overview, “ASAP Quick Takes,” designed after the “TED Talks” format as part of the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference. The second half of the morning was devoted to “Deeper Dive” sessions with more in-depth plenary presentations and peer exchanges in roundtable discussions focused on particular topics. The three talks were moderated by Jan Twombly, CSAP and president of The Rhythm of Business, Inc. Organized around the theme of “Alliance Expertise at the Forefront: Leadership for the Ecosystem,” the conference kicked off Wed., Sept. 9 at the Revere Hotel in Boston, Mass., USA.

 

First at the podium was Heather Fraser, global life sciences and healthcare lead at IBM’s Institute for Business Value, who discussed “Redefining Partnering in the Healthcare and Life Sciences Ecosystem.” Recent developments and findings have prompted a major shift from the traditional one-to-one partnering model to partnering within the ecosystem. The disruption has impacted not only the traditional pharma and biotech players in the healthcare and life sciences industries, but also less-traditional, sometimes surprising players, such as judicial (law enforcement and the courts), consumer electronics, and the automotive industry, among others. Technology is a major catalyst. While it has forced greater connectivity and openness, it has also resulted in greater complexity in partnering, Fraser said. The new dynamics beg the question “How do I find and connect with the right partners in new and unfamiliar industries and how do I make the connections?”

 

Next on the floor was Cindy Warren, vice president of alliance management at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, with her talk on “Alliance Leadership for the Healthcare Ecosystem.” Partnering used to be simple, she said as she presented a slide from the old television show “The Dating Game,” where you asked three questions, and the answers resulted in a clear choice, she said.  The old model of “sharing a soda, talking, and shaking hands” to forge the deal no longer holds up in a business environment impacted by technology and greater complexity. We’re in a new era that requires a partnering approach more akin to “speed dating,” Warren explained—and if you don’t move fast enough, you might not secure the partnership. “Our leaders need to become more agile, more flexible. It’s not just about taking that agreement and executing it, but making sure partners are aligned. It’s about working with it, shaping that collaboration, not just about delivering value, but creating value,” she explained.

 

The final plenary session highlighted patient advocacy while exploring the industry-focused partnering activities of the Alzheimer’s Association. It takes a village to support an Alzheimer patient and his or her caregivers, as emphasized in “Supporting Patients and Families at the Center of the Ecosystem,” presented by Lenore Jackson-Pope, BSN, MSM, CCRP, manager of medical and research education for the association’s Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter. The number of Alzheimer’s patients has increased astronomically in the past 15 years, and “the country will be bankrupted if we don’t find solution,” she warned. Through its partnering and advocacy, this patient advocacy organization aims to rapidly address the 3 C’s of the disease—care, cure, and cause—during a time when financial support from the National Institutes of Health is marginal compared to its financial support for cancer, HIV, and other serious diseases. Consequently, the Alzheimer’s Association—which Jackson-Pope described as the world’s largest nonprofit funder of research—has created an extensive network of supporters and partnerships to address the problem.

 

Diving Deeper: What Does It Take to Be an ‘Ecosystem Warrior’?

While fundamentals (such as anticipating and managing risk) often remain important, the role of alliance management changes considerably in the ecosystem, IBM’s Fraser emphasized in her “Deeper Dive” follow-on session.

 

“Thinking back to your roles, the ability to partner beyond current borders requires understanding of new and emerging industries, different regulatory environments, speed to market, and the continuum of health, wellness, and care,” she explained. “You also have to have the stamina to stand up, be counted, and explain why different ideas may work for creating value for your organization moving forward.”

 

This type thinking (and stamina) are required of what she called “successful ecosystem warriors.” Key capabilities including “having that ability to act with speed, but at different speeds in different industries and ecosystems, really being the hunter that goes out and looks at those new and different networks, being the person that’s prepared to be disruptive, and understanding what role your organization needs to take in that ecosystem.”

 

Fraser left the audience with several key questions to consider: 

  • What role does your organization plan to play in the ecosystem?
  • Do you have the skills and capabilities to work in that converged ecosystem?Can you address the cultural aspect—“really getting under the skin of the culture of players you’re going to work with”?

Tags:  Alzheimer’s Association  ASAP Quick Takes  Cindy Warren  ecosystem  Heather Fraser  IBM’s Institute for Business Value  Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies  Lenore Jackson-Pope  partnering  patient advocacy  TED Talks 

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