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Strategic Alliance Quarterly Q2 Outtakes: How Alliance Managers Keep Data Alliances from Running Afoul of IP, Privacy Laws

Posted By Jon Lavietes, Saturday, April 4, 2020

We’re deep in the throes of assembling our Q2 2020 edition of Strategic Alliance Quarterly, which means we’ve gathered insights from a number of ASAP members and friends of the community. As is always the case, not every useful tidbit of information we’ve gleaned will make it into the issue. That is where this blog comes in. It gives us a forum to share some tips that may one day come in handy for an alliance professional, and hints at what will hit your mailbox in the coming weeks.

This quarter’s Strategic Alliance Quarterly examines the tenets of IP and privacy law that alliance managers must know when putting together and running a data-driven alliance. The piece is a follow-on to our feature on early AI alliances that appeared in the previous issue. It covers some basics of specific statutes like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and chronicles some broad measures around negotiating initial contracts, handling data at all parts of the alliance life cycle, and driving amendments to the agreement when necessary.

 A Template for Expediting Contract Negotiations

In the article, Rita Heimes, general counsel and privacy officer for the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), shared some valuable knowledge around how to determine whether the data at the heart of a partnership is classified as personally identifiable information (PII), and thus subject to GDPR and maybe CCPA regulations. She also outlined how to collect that data and transfer it to partners, when to dispose of it, and ways to limit liability where this new privacy legislation is vague.  

Heimes also had another pointer for alliance managers, who by and large don’t carry law degrees, that you won’t read in the full print story.

“It’s always a good idea to work with qualified counsel in the first instances [of working with data-driven alliances] to create a really robust template, assuming the alliance manager’s employer is in position to start the contract negotiations,” said Heimes. 

In Heimes’s estimation, creating and reusing a template will help alliance professionals learn the basic language of GDPR and CCPA and the entry-level issues they need to address on behalf of their organizations. Moreover, it gives them something concrete to fine-tune with legal if and when a potential partner has redlined a contract proposal or radically changed the initial terms. 

Creeping Toward a Potential Legal Breach

Brian O’Shaughnessy, partner at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP and a former ASAP BioPharma Conference co-presenter, talked about what he called “mission creep” in an alliance that spans several years. In the print version, he expanded on how alliance managers need to convene stakeholders regularly to check whether the alliance’s original purpose is still relevant and whether the current contract still reflects its mission. He spoke about the alliance manager’s critical responsibility for driving contract amendments should a collaboration take a slightly different course from the one charted at the outset of the voyage.

What didn’t make it into print are some of the potential consequences if an alliance manager fails to catch this mission creep in time. The research team “might not be generating the data the other side [intended], or you’re not producing the products that they need,” O’Shaughnessy said by way of example. Or worse, employees executing alliance responsibilities could be using the partner’s IP in a way that’s not contemplated in the agreement—for example, using a diagnostic device to diagnose a condition it wasn’t intended for, a potentially costly contract infringement.  

“You don’t want to be the one that has invested millions of dollars and thousands of FTEs (full-time employee) to generate a bunch of information and data only to find out that because you were using that data wrong, or you weren’t complying with certain contractual obligations, now the other side can terminate the agreement, with the result that perhaps you don’t get the benefit you had sought,” said O’Shaughnessy.

Many ASAP members are involved in data-centric alliances around AI-powered drug discovery initiatives, IoT products or services, and new ways to diagnose patients’ illnesses more quickly and accurately, among many other use cases. Don’t miss the ASAP editorial team’s overview of the basics in keeping your data-centered alliance out of legal hot water stemming from IP misuse or privacy violations. Be on the lookout for the Q2 Strategic Alliance Quarterly in May.

In the meantime, if you haven’t already, check out your copy of the Q1 Strategic Alliance Quarterly and absorb the emerging best practices in joint marketing, collaborative selling, and research and development as they relate to AI alliances. 

Tags:  AI alliances  AI-powered  alliance managers  Contract Negotiations  data alliances  data-centered  data-centric  Dinsmore & Shohl LLP  drug discovery  General Data Protection Regulation  IP and privacy law  O’Shaughnessy  Rita Heimes  Strategic Alliance Quarterly 

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A Message to Our ASAP Member Community

Posted By Michael Leonetti, CSAP, Saturday, April 4, 2020

The global health crisis involving COVID-19 has forced all of us to change how and where we’re working, how we’re living, where we’re going (or not going), and so much more. Our hearts go out to all those whose health has been affected by this crisis, or who have loved ones they care about who are vulnerable. And we gratefully acknowledge and thank all the brave healthcare workers and others who are on the front lines of this disease, bravely exposing themselves to it as they try to save lives. Many ASAP members, too, are part of organizations that are working to produce vaccines, treatments, and vital medical equipment that can help in the fight against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, we’re very aware that across the globe, the way business is getting done looks very different right now. Like many organizations large and small, the ASAP team is working remotely and adjusting to this new reality. However, we’re still here for you! We’re working hard to put together great content for our member community and to bring it directly to you virtually. Here are just a few of the things we’re working on:

  • We’re continuing to develop quality alliance management virtual learning opportunities to go out to you as part of our series of ASAP Netcast Webinars.
  • We’re bringing you regular updates and digests of partnering news via our Strategic Alliance Weekly and Monthly emails.
  • Our ASAP blog and ASAP newsfeed remain ongoing vehicles to provide you with partnering and alliance news and insights, outtakes from our magazine articles, and more.
  • Speaking of our magazine, Strategic Alliance Quarterly is alive and well! The Q2 issue is in the works and planning has already begun for Q3 and beyond.
  • Although a number of ASAP chapter events have had to be postponed, we’re working with our chapter leaders and members to get them rescheduled—so stay tuned!
  • Planning has already begun for the popular ASAP BioPharma Conference to be held in September—with the call for presentations now open through May 1.
  • Last but not least, we’re working toward providing a high-quality, content-rich ASAP Global Alliance Summit in late June.

Like you, we’re continuing to do our jobs as best we can under these extraordinary circumstances, and we’re working every day to provide content that matters to our wonderful ASAP community. If there is anything we can do to help you and your teams during this time, please do not hesitate to reach out to our ASAP staff.

And above all, thank you! Thank you for being a member of our ASAP community. Our collective strength lies within all those engaged in the alliance and partnering world of which you are a vital part. Together, we’ll get through this!

Tags:  alliance management  ASAP BioPharma Conference  ASAP blog  ASAP Global Alliance Summit  ASAP Netcast Webinars  ASAP newsfeed  COVID-19  member community  Partnering  produce vaccines  Strategic Alliance Quarterly  Strategic Alliance Weekly  treatments  virtual learning  virtually  vital medical equipment 

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AI Is Simple—Until It’s Not

Posted By Jon Lavietes, Thursday, March 26, 2020

ASAP members, the Q1 2020 edition of Strategic Alliance Quarterly is now in your hands, and we hope you enjoy our feature that examines some of the early tenets emerging around still-nascent artificial intelligence (AI) alliances that now dot all walks of business. Per usual, this blog serves as a vehicle to share some of the thoughtful commentary that didn’t make it into the print feature. The following insights come to you via Bruce Anderson, electronics industry global managing director at IBM. 

We touched briefly in the piece on how vertical-industry expertise is a must for creating some of the more advanced AI applications in the market today. This isn’t true of all AI-enabled products and services—Anderson cited smart speakers, which evolve their communication based on the data they collect throughout their interactions with end users, as an example of an application that doesn’t require much more than the optimization of a set of programming APIs to bring to market.

Those Who Have External Data Use It—Those Who Don’t, Buy It

However, to develop a program for optimizing manufacturing schedules, development teams need more than just base APIs. Anderson noted that an AI algorithm of this nature would in all likelihood need to digest various sets of internal end-user data, plus some external data sources, such as weather (to account for factors like humidity and temperature). In this case, the coding skill and IT knowledge of software developers can only take you so far. They need to collaborate with manufacturing veterans to figure out how to integrate domain expertise that is specific to that manufacturing environment. In many cases, companies may conclude that there isn’t “a [single] package with all of the data I might want. There’s engineering, and perhaps data acquisition, that has to be done,” according to Anderson.

Alliance managers charged with bringing AI innovations to market must get creative and figure out which companies might possess the data sets needed to create a new AI application. Then they must use their deal-making skills to put together win-win agreements that incentivize those data proprietors to share their data sets. (We discuss this new “offering manager” role in depth in the quarterly feature.)

Anderson also spoke about the difference between early back-end technology AI alliances and partnerships designed to bring an AI solution to market—more specifically, how the former is often much simpler than the latter. Bringing together servers, development platforms, sensors, traditional enterprise applications, and data management services that will ultimately power your AI APIs could be just as simple as integrating technology pieces.

“One of the companies involved may not know what you’re using [its product] for. You just know you’re using a lot of it,” said Anderson.

Happy Selling? Easier Said Than Done

But once an ecosystem of partners starts to jointly comarket and/or cosell a product offering, another layer of complexity is added.

“The more people that you get involved, there’s a lot of people who want a slice of the pie—in other words, the revenue—so you start to get complex marketing and selling arrangements,” said Anderson. “You could have a single offering that is jointly developed with somebody else. It could be sold by either of the parties. It could be delivered by either of the parties. There could be a third company in there, as well, if they’re involved in the overall stack.”

The challenge can be summed up in one question: “How do you keep it so that all of the alliance partners are happy?” asked Anderson.

Again, in the quarterly feature we delve into some of the specific issues partners need to sort out in these situations in order to bring orderly, concise, and impactful sales presentations to prospective buyers. Check-out the print issue you received earlier this month! 

Tags:  AI  API  Artificial Intelligence  Bruce Anderson  comarket  cosell  data management services  external data  IBM  innovations  integration  Strategic Alliance Quarterly 

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Back to the…Mainframe? Not Exactly, but the Cloud Is Changing ISV-GSI Governance into a Blend of Old and New

Posted By Jon Lavietes, Friday, February 21, 2020

We’ve reached the latter stages of the editing process for the Q1 issue of Strategic Alliance Quarterly, coming out soon. As always, we have some great material that didn’t make the cut for the magazine, so we wanted to use this space to pass along some of the insights that emerged from our conversations around the evolving relationship between traditional independent software vendors (ISVs) such as SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft and global system integrators (GSIs) like Capgemini, Deloitte, and Accenture.

In the print version of the article, we talked about the concepts of “rolling adoption” and “continuous innovation.” When companies shift portions of their computing infrastructure from inside their own data centers to a public or private cloud, software is consumed much differently. In the client-server IT model that preceded cloud, ISVs would often take up to two years refining new versions of their applications to make sure they were as bug-free as possible before making them available to the public. The customer would then work with a GSI to customize that new software to their business processes. Now, however, the cloud has enabled software vendors to make updates remotely in an expedient manner. Consequently, new versions come out as rapidly as every six months, and each stakeholder—the ISV, the GSI, and the customer—understands that they will in essence be adjusting solutions on the fly to meet customer needs well after their release.

More Information, Faster, Means More Governance

A couple of the alliance experts we spoke to touched on how this phenomenon is affecting governance models, which are evolving to serve these faster, perpetual sales cycles. For example, teams meet more often and share more information than they did 15 years ago. Lisle Holgate, CSAP, senior director of strategic alliances at Avanade, a joint venture of Microsoft and Accenture, said the core teams of the alliance he works with are meeting weekly, while salespeople convene biweekly and regional leaders gather on a monthly basis to evaluate the dozen or so leads in the pipeline. Global executives get together every quarter, and even the respective CEOs huddle once a year to discuss the alliance at the broadest level.

“We have about 45 or 50 points of exchange across the breadth of the organization on a regular basis, so there’s a more organic understanding of each other,” said Holgate. “Whereas in the old days, [meetings were] about, ‘How many deals did we do? What’s in the pipeline? Okay, ready? Break.’”

To that end, the level of granularity in the information alliance partners are exchanging with each other is unprecedented today. Holgate said that marketing documentation now goes “all the way down to emails about the value proposition. That was unheard of back in the old days.”

Bill Thomas, CA-AM, an industry veteran and current alliance director who has worked in alliance programs at leading enterprise software vendors and global GSIs, has observed a shift toward alliance program governance models specified by software vendors and away from those originated by GSIs as the cloud has taken root. Two decades ago, when GSIs were counted on to significantly customize large-vendor software in on-premise deployments, potential clients calculated cultural, resource, and process fits based heavily on GSI governance models because the GSI's implementation methodologies were foundational to the project’s success. 

Now, software vendors see an obligation to prescribe the governance model and deployment methodology as a way to ensure delivery quality, and they’re telling GSIs, “‘This is how our program works,’” said Thomas. “Alliance structure and governance are codified in the agreement [with the software vendor] in order to promote delivery quality and consistency.  Also, having a standard, repeatable process ensures fairness in the ecosystem and supports the ability to scale the business to meet the demands of rapid growth.” 

What’s Old Is New Again

Steve Blacklock, CA-AM, vice president of global strategic alliances at Citrix, saw parallels between today’s cloud-managed IT model and the old days of the mainframe, the predominant computing model of the 1960s and 1970s, particularly in that “you don’t have to own the whole thing, you can just provision what you want, it’s secure and separated from everything else, and you can pay for what you need,” and he surmised that “the way partnerships, channel, and GSIs behave in [cloud] markets [is] probably analogous to the way things were done before [in the days of the mainframe], too.”

As he said this, Blacklock waved his hands apart and together like an accordion to illustrate how the ISV-GSI relationship has “come together and fractured and come together again” as computing transitioned from the mainframe to the client-server model that took root in the 1990s to this emerging cloud model. He pointed out that in the 1960s, IBM would essentially play the role GSIs play today by supporting the mainframe the customer bought from it and managing the client’s processes, and then speculated on whether the “Big Three” public cloud service providers (CSPs)—Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP)—might fulfill this role in the future, thereby cutting out GSIs.   

“They’re not there yet, but I could see a day where [Microsoft] Azure says, ‘If you need to run SAP in Azure, come here, sign this contract, and we’ll provision it for you, we’ll get your networking there, we’ll make sure it’s up and running, we’ll support the software—we’ll give you what you need and you’ll pay for it as you use it.’ Well, how is that any different from what IBM was doing with the mainframe?” 

This is just a small slice of what we learned from ASAP members in the trenches of these software vendor–integrator alliances. Be on the lookout for the Q1 edition of ASAP’s flagship magazine Strategic Alliance Quarterly to learn more about the changing dynamics of the ISV-GSI relationship. 

Tags:  Accentura  Amazon Web Services (AWS)  Avanade  Bill Thomas  Citrix  Cloud  cloud-managed IT model  Google Cloud Platform (GCP)  IBM  ISV-GSI Governance  ISV-GSI relationship  Lisle Holgate  Microsoft  Steve Blacklock  Strategic Alliance Quarterly 

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Q4 Strategic Alliance Quarterly Sourcing Outtakes: The Power of the First Draft, Ever-Changing Tech Standards, Customers and the Cloud, Value vs. Discounts

Posted By Jon Lavietes, Wednesday, December 11, 2019

In our upcoming issues of Strategic Alliance Monthly and Strategic Alliance Quarterly, we will examine the changing nature of supplier collaborations in today’s business world. In a lengthy feature for Strategic Alliance Quarterly, we dive deep into how advanced digital technologies are transforming sourcing and procurement managers’ jobs such that they now need alliance management skills and practices to effectively carry out their responsibilities. Meanwhile, a feature in our next edition of Strategic Alliance Monthly explores how a company can become a preferred supplier in the eyes of its partner.

As is the case with just about every piece we put together for ASAP’s publications, there were plenty of great insights left over from our interviews with experts from the ASAP community that don’t appear in either article. Here are just a few of those nuggets.

Alliance Agreements and the Power of the Pen

Andrew Eibling, CSAP, vice president of business development and alliance management at Enable Injections, Inc., made it known several times during our conversation that he felt that, in pharma, the procurement division was generally a parking lot for nonstrategic partnerships. In other words, wind up with a procurement manager as your point of contact and odds are that you have almost zero chance of having any real influence over the partner organization’s affairs. In that discussion, Eibling noted that initial contract negotiations offered a sign of how a partner will view your organization and relationship. The goal is to agree on a contract that hews closer to the principles set forth in The ASAP Handbook of Alliance Management rather than a boilerplate supplier agreement, and the best way to ensure this is to compose the first draft for the partner’s review.

“Somebody has the power of the pen. Who drafts the agreement first? Everyone wants to take the first pass because that becomes the substrate you’re going to work from,” said Eibling. He added that an alliance agreement “tends to be more bidirectional versus what we would get from a monodirectional supplier agreement [where] you will do what’s on the schedule according to the terms we agreed to, and that’s that.”

Are We a “Standards Fit”?

An important element to assembling a tech alliance that we didn’t end up exploring in great depth in the feature was the layer of complexity added by the number of disparate standards for emerging technologies, such as cloud and IoT, competing in the marketplace. Companies putting together a smart tractor, for example, have to find partners that are not only a feature/function fit and a cultural fit but also a “standards fit,” so to speak—that is, they base their systems on technical protocols that align with your IT architecture.

“Things are moving so fast. You might get a standard out there and get everybody to adopt it, but then some new technology comes along that disrupts it all. You’ve spent all this money on standardization and it didn’t endure. That’s one of the reasons why, as a supplier, you need to know what your customers’ sourcing strategies are, and if you’re going to be compatible with the direction they are going in,” said Russ Buchanan, CSAP, vice president of strategic alliances at Xerox and ASAP’s chairman emeritus.

As an example, Buchanan talked about how companies that base their technology on proprietary standards want to be sure to avoid getting entwined with organizations that are placing their chips on open source models.

“OK Google: I’m Seeing Other Cloud Companies”

Subhojit Roye, CSAP, vice president and head of alliances at Tech Mahindra Business Services, singled out the three cloud Goliaths—Google, AWS, and Microsoft—as another potential source of complexity in constructing an alliance. One or more of those vendors may pressure the manufacturer to make it the exclusive cloud platform for the new product or service, but in many cases decent portions of the OEM’s customer base may be split among each of the three cloud leaders. The manufacturer can’t risk alienating a portion of its clients. Thus, the sourcing manager may need to stand up to a powerful market mover, something alliance managers have been doing for years.

“Suddenly, if you’re the procurement manager you have to explain to Google, ‘I’m sorry, but customers are demanding that we have to talk with all three companies,’” Roye said.

Don’t Nickel-and-Dime a Valuable Relationship

More than one interviewee stressed that lower prices are no longer the end game for sourcing and procurement managers. Overall value is the buyer’s main goal. Roye explained the situation in greater detail.

“The procurement function is becoming more and more strategic. The chief marketing officer is becoming critical. Chief customer service officer, the head of sales, and the CEO are suddenly banking on the procurement officer to say, ‘Listen, those days are gone. Don’t nickel-and-dime the vendor. Don’t ask him to give us a $10 item for $6. We’d rather get more value for $10. We’d rather pay him $12 to make sure he’s happy with us, he gives us our products on time—we don’t wind up with a screw-up on Thanksgiving or during the winter holidays—or he doesn’t switch at the last minute and go to a competitor.”

Remember, this is just what hit the cutting room floor. Be sure to check out the next issues of Strategic Alliance Monthly and Strategic Alliance Quarterly for more great insights into alliance management vis-à-vis the sourcing and procurement functions in today’s corporate landscape. 

Tags:  alliances  Andrew Eibling  AWS  Cloud  digital technologies  Enable Injections  Google  IoT  Microsoft  procurement  relationship  Russ Buchanan  Sourcing  Strategic Alliance Quarterly  Subhojit Roye  Tech Mahindra Business Services  Tech Standards  transforming sourcing  Value vs. Discounts  Xerox 

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