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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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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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