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A Partnership to Benefit the Whole: International SOS/Control Risks Aligns Security and Pandemic Planning for First-Rate Emergency Services

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, June 1, 2016

When International SOS and Control Risks joined forces in 2008 to tackle some of the biggest emergencies on the planet, they proved a centuries-old adage:  Two heads are, indeed, better than one. The innovative, highly efficient venture thrived to such a degree that they received ASAP’s Individual Alliance Excellence Award for “excellence in planning, implementation, and results of a single alliance” at the 2016 Global Alliance Summit Alliance Excellence Awards. The March Summit, “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” was held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland.  

Several days after the awards, International SOS/Control Risks provided a lively session, “Executing in the Field: The Key to a Sustainable Alliance,” which offered a window into the unique partnership. The goal of the alliance was to completely eliminate competition that cropped up when International SOS was solely focused on security planning and Control Risks on pandemic planning. 

The partnership resulted in joint mitigation risk services that provide travel security and medical assistance for clients around the world from regional centers in London, Dubai, Paris, Philadelphia, and Singapore as well as 900 remote sites and clinics. Specialist execution units offer advanced security training, risk forecasting, and emergency support worldwide; assistance centers and regional aviation units provide evacuation services in 150 countries. 

Here are some excerpts from the session about the history and intent of the alliance from Sally Wang, vice president, global alliances & partnerships at International SOS; John Maltby, director, group strategy of alliances at Control Risks; Richard Fenning, CEO of Control Risks (remotely via video). 

Wang: SOS was started in a basement 30 years ago. Now it’s a company of 11,000 people, half of which are medical personnel—1,000 are doctors. Our job is not to tell a company not to travel. Our company is an educator so the client can make the decision. 

Maltby: Control Risks started out 40 years ago in a jail when one of the founders was illegally detained in a Colombian prison. The origins of the company are in kidnapping and negotiations, which eventually evolved into mitigating security risks. Our clients are in complex business environments. 

Wang: SOS put out an ad about nine years ago when we were a medical company building out security. We thought we could do it on our own with 40 people, but we decided to grow it organically with a leading security firm to take it to another level. 

Maltby: Control Risks had a vision for medical security as well as security for ex-patriots, and we viewed SOS as competition in our new turf.  We had clients who were seeking emergency medical support and security planning from the same association, so we looked at partnering options and approached SOS, which had clients looking for a similar combination of services. 

Fenning: The biggest challenge was at the beginning, explaining to clients how this alliance was going to work. A whole series of events tested it, such as the Arab Spring and mobile attacks. There was no room for misalignment. We helped clients with difficult situations around the world, such as an unfortunate accident with three students killed in a bus crash. We immediately deployed an incident management team that pulled together two teams from Bogota and Texas. Another example was in Honduras, which wanted to get a group of people out of the country when six Quebecers were killed on a humanitarian trip. Through the testing process, the alliance was found to be durable and sustainable. 

Wang: The unique design of our alliance is for competing organizations with overlapping pieces as a joint venture in the middle. We decided not to give it its own separate name and identity: It is International SOS/Control Risks. How do you make sure of alignment? Customer feedback, brand strength, measuring business generations. If you don’t have it from both sides, you don’t have an alliance. You need to measure it; you need to look at value. If you were to get sick or have a security crisis, you only use one number, one app. Your security department is aligned. We have strong incentives built in to drive the business for each other. We buy each other’s services. It’s an expectation if not a written requirement. We occasionally work with other firms after having a dialogue with Control Risks first. 

Tags:  alignment  alliance  Control Risks  International SOS  John Maltby  joint venture  mitigation risk services  pandemic planning  Richard Fenning  Sally Wang  security crisis  security training 

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‘Recognizing Great Behavior’: Winners of 2016 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards Receive Honors and Accolades for Innovative Problem-Solving at ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By Cynthia Hanson, Thursday, March 3, 2016

“When we share and highlight best practices and learn from each other, part of the success worth recognizing is great behavior,” said Mike Leonetti, CSAP, ASAP president & CEO, emphatically as he presented the 2016 Alliance Excellence Awards during the awards ceremony at the ASAP Summit, “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Md. USA. In addition to the awards categories recognized in years past, ASAP introduced new honors at this year’s event.

 Warm applause turned into a standing ovation that swelled the room as Leonetti presented the new ASAP Guiding Light Award to Jan Twombly, CSAP, ASAP chairman of programming, for her exceptional and exemplary “good behavior,” leadership, and volunteerism. Leonetti noted that Twombly, president of The Rhythm of Business, for the past six years has invested literally hundreds of hours of time each year as a volunteer driving program development for the annual Summit as well as annual biopharma conferences for the past four years.  

 The new ASAP Chapter Excellence Award was awarded to the ASAP New England Chapter. Accepting the award was another ASAP luminary volunteer, Becky Lockwood, global board member and two-time president of the New England Chapter, for “going above and beyond alignment with ASAP’s vision. The New England Chapter continues to deliver excellence in everything they do for ASAP,” said Leonetti. In turn, Lockwood praised the suite of companies who have supported her efforts over the years, saying success would not have been possible without their volunteer time.

Leonetti then announced the winner of two ASAP Content Awards, first to Eli Lilly and Company and David Thompson, CA-AM, chief alliance officer, for their long history of devotion to ASAP from the early days of the association. Eli Lilly and Company's contributions include offering workshops, extensive volunteer time, and Lilly’s consistent editorial content in, and support of, Strategic Alliance Magazine. The second Content Award recognized Xerox and head of corporate alliances and ASAP chairman emeritus Russ Buchanan as well for countless hours of volunteer time “spreading the excellence we have been generating over the years,” and Buchanan’s colleague Candido Arreche, global director of portfolio & management for Xerox worldwide and a black belt in Six Sigma quality methodologies, for his dynamic ASAP workshop teaching style. 

The awards ceremony then announced and honored the finalists and recipients in multiple Alliance Excellence Award categories. 

The Alliance Program Excellence Award is presented to “organizations that have instilled the capability to consistently implement and manage alliance portfolios and demonstrated consistent success of those alliances over time.” This year’s award went to Bayer for its Alliance Capability Enhancement Project, now in its fourth year. The project was lauded for, among other things, its strong emphasis on collaborative capability and cultural development, deal-making and efficiency, new IT infrastructure, processes, and pilot programs. 

The goal was to “move the culture from an inward focus to a partnering mindset” commented Joseph Havrilla, senior vice president and global head of business development and licensing for Bayer Pharmaceuticals. This was accomplished through: 

  • Senior management engagement
  • Creating awareness within the organization and recognition and value of the importance of partnership, including pushing data out showing that a significant part of revenue came from partnership
  • Providing training to give people tools and techniques to manage partner conflicts and timelines

 National Instruments won the Innovative Best Alliance Practice Award, given to a company for “individual alliance management tools or processes that have made an immediate and powerful impact on the organization and/or the discipline of alliance management.” National Instruments received the award for outstanding achievement of a best practice with their innovative and highly accessible partner directory that allows customer to search across the partnering ecosystem and access in-depth profiles of partner capabilities, certifications, ratings, and reviews from partner customers. Implementation included the creation of more advanced search functions, markets, keywords, mapping, and other kinds of tools. As a result, the number of National Instruments partners grew very quickly from 600 to 1,000-plus over short time.

 This year’s Individual Alliance Excellence Award, which is presented for “excellence in planning, implementation, and results of a single alliance. … between two companies or multiple organizations,” went to International SOS and Control Risks. Their nearly seamless alliance has changed the way the market perceives support and assistance of business travelers and expats. Previously, Control Risk was doing pandemic planning, and SOS was doing security planning. The unique co-opetition through formation of a joint venture has resulted in significant benefits for both the companies and their clients in terms of crisis management, most recently during the Ebola crisis, Arab Spring concerns, and AcelorMittal Mining evacuation of 130-plus employees from Liberia.

 “The goal was to eliminate completely any competition, to merge and put them together into one. Obviously not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination,” said John Maltby, director, group strategy of alliances at Control Risks. “We took a year to design this alliance and structured it around distribution.” It works to completely eliminate the competition because “when it boils down, we are trying to operate safely in a difficult environment,” he added. “The alliance balances out quite complementary capabilities.”

 There were no submissions this year for the Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility Award. The seven-member awards committee is chaired by Annlouise 

Tags:  alliances  ASAP Chapter Excellence Award  ASAP Content Awards  ASAP Guiding Light Award  Bayer  Becky Lockwood  Candido Arreche  collaboration  Control Risks  David Thompson  Eli Lilly & Company  International SOS  Jan Twombly  National Instruments  partner  professional development workshops  Russ Buchanan  The Rhythm of Business  Xerox 

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