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Partnering Goes Interplanetary—in the Pages of Strategic Alliance Magazine and onstage at the 2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Wednesday, February 18, 2015

[Excerpted from the forthcoming Q1 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine]

 

What I enjoy most about the ASAP community is its raw intellectual rigor. It’s a real-life university on the leading edge of business practice—where the average grade is just 53%, based on success rates. It takes big thinking, by big thinkers—as well as professorial attention to the minutest detail—to succeed in the world of partnering, alliance management, and business collaboration.

 

Big ideas and the brains behind them converge in the pages of Strategic Alliance Magazine, at ASAP’s chapter and online events, and most powerfully at the annual ASAP Global Alliance Summit. As magazine publisher, moderator of many online events for ASAP, and frequent blogger on this site, I’ve gotten a good preview of what our community’s leading thinkers and practitioners will be talking about March 2-5 in Orlando. Two key discussion threads:

 

1. Strategy, sales, and revenue. Now partnering often gets its full due in “build, buy, or ally?” strategic decisions. But that puts alliance and partnering executives (many who also work in merger integration) on the spot: partnerships must deliver the goods and much more consistently fulfill their strategic intent. Yes, our well-developed alliance management practices and toolkits still matter, say Jan Twombly, CSAP, and Jeff Shuman, CSAP, Ph.D., in their January ASAP webinar and forthcoming summit session. But, they argue, our minds, skills, and tools must be leveraged much more strategically to improve our success managing mission-critical alliances, partner portfolios, and ecosystems. And what they say can be done. In one real-life case study about pushing alliance practice to that strategic level, Mission Pharmacal President Terry Herring will talk about restructuring a family-owned pharma company into a partnering—and sales—powerhouse.

 

Indeed, sales and revenue matter more than ever to alliance executives—and conversely, business development and sales are rapidly morphing into highly collaborative functions that require business skills long since honed by the alliance management profession. In recent ASAP webinars and Strategic Alliance Magazine articles, Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, and Dede Haas, CSAP, have honed in on the rapid convergence of practice between alliance and channel sales management—and Haas will join Ann Trampas, CSAP, to share their latest findings during a special 90-minute workshop at the summit.  

 

2. Entrepreneurial business models and complex collaborations. Multiparty and coopetition alliances, cross-sector partnering, ecosystem management, and other sorts of complex, multiplayer collaborative models come to the fore at this year’s summit. These aren’t just big concepts—we’re now in the thick of actually managing (with increasing sophistication) these highly complex and chaotic types of partnering models. Two keynotes and multiple summit sessions delve deeply into cutting-edge models and how they play out in practice. Talk about big thinking: How about multi-party, multi-sector, coopetition partnerships tackling global health challenges—and government partnering with entrepreneurs to send tourists and asteroid miners into space?

 

Partnering and alliance management are truly in the thick of the fray in business—and the prominence of our role continues to grow in our companies and organizations. That’s why learning and events in the ASAP community remain so vital and relevant to our daily work. We, the professors and student-practitioners of partnering and alliance management, must keep on our toes—with one eye on the big picture and one focused on each pixel. Or you can bet some really smart millennial or entrepreneur will be stomping our toes and filling our shoes.

 

About the 2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Held this year on March 2-5 at Hyatt Regency Orlando, the annual ASAP Global Alliance Summit is the world’s largest gathering of alliance, partnering, and business collaboration professionals. For more information or to register for this year’s summit, visit www.asapweb.org/summit. And be sure to visit this blog frequently during and after the Summit for the ASAP Media team’s live blog coverage of many event sessions.

Tags:  alliance management  ASAP Global Alliance Summit  collaboration  Dede Haas  Entrepreneurial  Jan Twombly  Jeff Shuman  Norma Watenpaugh  partnering  Strategic Alliance Magazine  Strategy 

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New England Chapter Event Discusses Alliance Management amidst Disruption: ‘You’ve Got to Be Strategic, You’ve Got to Be Entrepreneurial, You’ve Got to Be Adaptable’

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Moderator Jan Twombly, president of The Rhythm of Business, introduced the panelists last Wednesday night, Nov. 5, as ASAP’s New England Chapter convened at the Verizon Innovation Center in Waltham, Mass. USA: Petra Sansom, head of alliance management, Genzyme; Alyssa Rosinski, global business development director, IAPP (International Association of Privacy Professionals); Kathy Faigen, Certified Client Executive, IBM; and Tony DeSpirito, VP, Global Alliances—IT Partners, Schneider Electric.

 

Twombly’s vivid opening slide—two planets in collision—acknowledged the challenging context of the evening’s topic, “Alliance Management in an Age of Disruption: Today’s Critical Partnering Success Factors.” Twombly then flashed four percentages on the screen: 92% … 68% … 42% … and 53%.

 

“Recent studies say 92% of chief marketing officers are looking to partner to get closer to customers and better understand them,” Twombly explained. “68% of chief information officers are partnering to bring additional capability to their organization,” she continued, noting that IBM studies are the source for these two data points. “42% represents CEOs in last year’s PwC survey who said they were going to enter into a significant strategic alliance within the next year.”

 

Finally, 53% represents that very familiar data point for anyone involved in alliance management—the virtually unchanged success rate for strategic alliances despite the proliferation of alliances and alliance management practice across most industries. “It is so clear that alliance management has to step up its game as partnering proliferates,” Twombly said. With her final slide, she asked her panel of expert practitioners, “So what’s changing for alliance managers—do the fundamentals still apply or do they need to change as our businesses change?”

 

Panelists then dived into the discussion—bringing diverse perspectives to an exploration of why alliance management matters more than ever today, yet must adapt if partner success rates are to improve.  Tony DeSpirito discussed how Schneider Electric—confronted with major disruption around the internet of things—moved beyond its stodgy infrastructure company heritage, recognized that it lacked many capabilities, and embraced partnering across both its traditional and emerging business lines. IBM’s Kathy Faigen discussed how her company developed a coherent approach to the disruptive technologies of SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, and cloud) while honing in on the crucial role of engagement, with customers and other constituents, in allowing businesses to successfully embrace unrelenting waves of change. Petra Sansom shared with the audience how Genzyme, a powerhouse biotechnology company now owned by Sanofi, is evolving its partnering strategy as it, and the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry overall, grapple with pricing pressure from all around the world.

 

Alyssa Rosinski rounded out the discussion with her organization’s interesting lens on disruption. Privacy challenges are exploding thanks to ubiquitous connection, mobile device proliferation, whistleblower disclosures (think Edward Snowden) and correspondingly magnified risks of exposure that companies of all types now face when handling personally identifiable information, she explained. In the face of this challenge, over just the past few years, IAPP membership has grown from 8,000 to more than 20,000.

 

When partnering amidst disruption, DeSpirito said, it’s vitally important to ensure that your partnering is tied to overall strategy—and to do that requires a strategic review of the portfolio, making sure you’ve got the right partners aligned to your company strategy . Faigen talked about the critical importance of ensuring you’ve got the right value proposition for your customer as well as for the partners. It’s never been more important to rethink, to relook at it, and make sure the value proposition remains relevant, she explained.  

 

Wednesday night’s panelists also talked about importance of governance and metrics.

 

“That can be harder to do amidst disruption, because people are so crazily busy, so it’s hard to make the time to plan, to evaluate, it can be hard to think beyond the current crisis or meeting the current quarter’s numbers,” Twombly noted. “I think some of it is a maturing of the alliance capability, where people are recognizing the importance of having good governance. In biopharma, governance is in the contract but that’s not always the case in other industries.”

 

The final question of the night went to Alyssa Rosinski. Asked what quality or skill she is finding essential, she said that adaptability is at the top of her list.

 

Adaptability is, not surprisingly, crucial for alliance managers, who must “understand your partners’ needs, understand what your organization needs, understand what the customer needs, and be flexible and adaptable about how you’re going to get your result,” Twombly said in summarizing the discussion.

 

“In other words, you’ve got to be strategic, you’ve got to be entrepreneurial, you’ve got to be the expert,” she said. “You’re the one who needs to know everything about your partner, to represent the partner within your company, and everything about your company, to represent it to the partner. You’re the only one who has that big picture view, and that’s part of the expectations of senior management today.”

Tags:  alliance management  Alyssa Rosinski  ASAP’s New England Chapter  biopharma  disruption  Genzyme  governance  IAPP  IBM  Jan Twombly  Kathy Faigen  Petra Sansom  Schneider Electric  SMAC  The Rhythm of Business  Tony DeSpirito  Verizon Innovation Center 

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