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Alignment, Agility, and ‘Leadership IQ’ | Alliance leaders always have driven alignment. But what do we do differently, as disruption accelerates?

Posted By Michael Leonetti, CSAP, Wednesday, November 27, 2019

As an alliance leader, I used to spend 70 percent of my time not working with partners, but working on aligning internally. The concept of creating value through partnering was brand new for our leaders. We’d never walk into a meeting without a pre-meeting. Building alignment stole time away from creating new value with partners—yet it was critically important to delivering the value intended when the alliance was created.

Much has changed in alliance management—but driving alignment remains a central task of alliance leaders.

Indeed, research indicates the highest performing alliance leaders are “ambassadors” who bridge boundaries both internally as well as externally. They focus “on dialoguing with superiors and other stakeholders, proactively putting themselves on the agenda of their leaders, and managing behaviors,” according to Dave Luvison, CSAP, PhD, professor at Loyola University Maryland.

That makes sense—but what about time for externally facing alliance management?

Applying agile principles to partnering reflects a broad understanding in our profession that alliance management cannot afford to accrete more bureaucracy and process. Instead, how can we simplify the activities and processes of driving alignment so that partnering can become more agile? That seems essential to proceed effectively in the ecosystem—where it’s just not possible for there to be 100 percent alignment.

Complex models once helped us describe, in comprehensive detail, the complicated work and rich value created in the alliance management function. Alliance leaders have always looked for simplified means to explain the complexity of partner value creation. Back in the day, we used our STAR model to define Situations, Tasks, Actions, and Results—simplifying our alignment discussions as much as possible.

Today, partnering leaders look to jettison complexity wherever they can, seeking shortcuts in the traditional alliance lifecycle and technologies to further streamline alliance activities. It is the embodiment of Albert Einstein’s famous admonishment: “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” At its roots, then, agility is about changing how we think.

“Growth is a thinking game,” said Salesforce evangelist Tiffani Bova, author of Growth IQ. I would add that alliance management is a thinker’s profession. As our profession both expands and evolves in direct response to pervasive disruption, our most critical and differentiating skill remains our “leadership IQ.” It defines how we understand the transformation of business and its implications for partnering practice.

“In the advancing era of artificial intelligence, companies need to create all the pieces—and alliances—necessary to make it easy to adapt for the advancement of products,” said Bruce Anderson, IBM’s general manager, high tech/electronics industry. “You need to ask how your company should be thinking about alliances in this accelerating business approach,” he emphasized. “Alliances have become fundamental to the idea of strategy.”

Anderson’s and Bova’s points reinforced each other in a powerful way, I thought. How we think, the choices (and sequence of choices) we make, and how quickly and efficiently we can make decisions all matter. Alliance managers must improve their “leadership IQ” to better understand the big picture of disruption, how it will create value or threaten loss of market share—and how, “in this accelerating business approach,” they will drive alignment accordingly.

Tags:  accelerating  agile  aligning creating value  alliance leader  alliance management  alliances  artificial intelligence  Bruce Anderson  Dave Luvison  drive alignment  Growth IQ  IBM  leadership IQ  Loyola University Maryland  partnering alliance  partners  strategy  Tiffani Bova 

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Where Hope IS the Strategy: Customizing Alliance Management to Fight Deadly Disease

Posted By Michael J. Burke, Monday, September 30, 2019
Updated: Friday, September 27, 2019

      Andre Turenne began his Wednesday keynote address at the 2019 ASAP BioPharma Conference , held Sept. 23­–25 in Boston, by reminding everyone why biopharma companies form partnerships in the first place: to more effectively find and create new medicines and treatments that will improve patient health outcomes—and in some cases, with the fervent hope of one day preventing or arresting the progress of currently untreatable diseases.

      Turenne, since July 2018 the president and CEO of Voyager Therapeutics, started off his keynote presentation, “Fit for Purpose Alliance Management: Why Customization Matters,” by telling the story of Kyle Bryant, an inspirational and determined young man who was diagnosed at age 17 with Friedreich’s ataxia (FA). The diagnosis of FA, a progressive and eventually fatal disease, means that Bryant will gradually lose motor function and speech. But he has been making the most of his life in the meantime, among other things founding and directing a cross-US bike ride called rideATAXIA—billed as “the world’s toughest bike race”—to benefit the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), and with his friend Sean Baumstark cohosting a podcast, Two Disabled Dudes.

      Bryant is also the subject of an award-winning 2015 documentary, The Ataxian, which shows how he participated in and ultimately completed the grueling cross-country bike ride. Turenne showed the audience the trailer for the film, in which Bryant said of the debilitating disease, “There’s a way to fight it. And there’s always hope.”

      Turenne and his company are trying to translate that inspiring attitude into a forward-thinking strategic vision. Through their commercial collaboration with Neurocrine Biosciences, Voyager Therapeutics is working on treatments in the areas of Friedreich’s ataxia and Parkinson’s disease (PD). In addition, the Voyager pipeline includes a partnership with Abbvie around treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions.

      Around 6000 people in the US have FA, which is being targeted by gene replacement therapy. About a million Americans have PD; they lose the ability to produce dopamine, which controls motor function, so the goal is to mitigate that loss to help restore motor activity.

      Especially for a small company like Voyager, “collaboration is of the utmost importance,” Turenne acknowledged. “Who we choose to work with and how…has a huge bearing on what we do. And no two collaborations are alike, so we need a customized approach to alliance management.”

      Turenne may be the rare example of a CEO who came up through the ranks of alliance management and business development, but as ASAP president and CEO Mike Leonetti said, he’s “living proof” that it is possible. Or as Turenne explained, “The phenotype of a CEO is changing as the industry is changing. If you talk with VCs, there is no fixed stereotype of what a CEO should be.”

      Perhaps Turenne’s AM/BD experience also contributes to his keen interest in partnering with companies that “punch above their weight in the execution of this function.”

      In Turenne’s thinking, the key factors when considering forming an alliance are:

  • Each company’s size, strategy, and areas of focus
  • The partnered program’s relative importance to each company
  • The other company’s (your potential partner’s) alliance management experience and organizational setup
  • The evolution of any of the above factors for either company over time

      As Turenne put it, “We’re only as good as the way we can work together.” And while he said he doesn’t like to talk about companies with less alliance management expertise as the “weak link,” the success or failure of a given alliance often boils down to the level of the least experienced player. How to bridge that gap to “customize and calibrate the relationship” then becomes the big challenge.

      Add to that a burgeoning biopharma industry that is far from static, and change must be assumed—and anticipated and planned for in advance. The original setup of the alliance, however well structured, may no longer apply given changing market conditions, turnover in either organization, or companies’ shifting strategies, so alliance managers must be agile enough to pivot and adapt to these altered states.

      Among the trends Turenne has seen that have significant implications for biopharma alliance management are:

  • Well-capitalized biotechs seeking to collaborate with smaller companies
  • Big pharma companies trying to “act smaller” and be more nimble and flexible
  • The massive movement of talent across the industry, which means a greater cross-fertilization of alliance management approaches throughout biopharma

      After a dozen years at Genzyme—where he established the alliance management function—and later its eventual acquirer Sanofi, Turenne came on board at Voyager in 2018 already convinced of the importance of alliance management and the need to tailor and customize its application to the partnerships at hand. And having been in senior positions in companies large and small, he has some thoughts on how big and small companies can partner effectively.

      One key is to understand and acknowledge each company’s experience with partnering and how each one works. Ideally then each company can stretch toward the other and meet in the middle in terms of establishing their joint partnering capability.

      “Any effort in a humble way [for a bigger company] to share experience with the smaller partner can have a big impact,” Turenne explained. The larger partner can try to flex to meet the needs of the smaller partner so the gap between them is lessened. At a conference whose theme was “Bridging the Many Divides,” Turenne’s words certainly resonated.

      When he looks into the future, Turenne hopes that the partnership with Neurocrine around FA and PD will still be active in five years. But will they succeed in helping patients with these serious conditions? Turenne feels that Voyager’s continuing efforts to enhance and customize its alliance management capabilities will “improve our chances of making a big impact for patients.” 

Tags:  Alliance Management  André Turenne  biopharma  capabilities  collaboration  Friedreich’s ataxia (FA)  Kyle Bryant  partnerships  patient health outcomes  rideATAXIA  strategy  Voyager Therapeutics 

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Fascinating Mix of Case Studies Woven Into ASAP Conference Programming This Fall

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, September 17, 2018

Trio of conferences this September, October, November will include plenty of practical sessions with real-life examples of partnering success stories

The next issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine will include a fascinating case study on the Dutch Alliance for Data and Tax on Wages and Benefits, a complex alliance between the Dutch IRS, National Social Security Administration, and Statistics Netherland. The two alliance managers in the article will also provide details on how they formed, managed, and problem-solved the complex collaboration in a session at the upcoming 2018 ASAP European Alliance Summit: “Owning Your Ecosystem & Building the Future,” in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Nov. 8-9 (location to be announced).  

Case studies are a powerful way to make a point, demonstrate useful tools and techniques, and highlight the best practices used to solve alliance challenges. There’s nothing quite as impressionable as a real-life alliance success story packed with examples of problem solving, effective frameworks, and cutting-edge techniques. In fact, the European Summit will kick off with a “Case Study of a Large-Scale Bi-Lateral Strategic Alliance,” presented by Christophe Pinard, director of global strategic alliance at Schneider Electric and Jean Noel Enckle from emerging solution ecosystem development at Cisco. The two speakers plan to provide their reflections and case perspectives on the dynamic, progressive alliance between the two companies. 

Their talk will set the stage for a summit where as many as 30 case studies will be tucked into sessions spanning a wide range of cross-industry topics, including

The Internet of Things (IoT), telecom, financial services, pharma/life sciences, digital ecosystems, telecom, energy, fintech, consumer goods, and other areas of interest. Presenters will include the heads of alliance divisions, CEOs, and other professionals.

A similar trend is afoot at the upcoming 2018 ASAP BioPharma Conference: “Creating Valuable and Innovative Partnerships by Driving the Alliance Mindset,” at the Hyatt Regency Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, Sept. 24-26.  Case studies are a great tool for teaching, and they will be central to the session “Let’s Make a Deal: Driving Better Contracts to Win in Clinical Genomics,” presented by Katherine Ellison, CA-AM, associate director of alliances at clinical genomics leader Illumina, Inc. Attendees will be asked to consider several of Illumina’s case studies and then delve into key areas where the alliance teams worked collaboratively with business development throughout the deal negotiation process.

Participants are asked to prepare for the session and bring their own case studies to share and discuss with peers on relevant topics, such as:

  • Methods to transform working relationships
  • Shared process models and governance structures to facilitate collaboration
  • Fit-for-purpose tools that drive internal and external information sharing
  • The merits of centralized and decentralized alliance and business development models

If you’re more interested in customer case studies on the tech side, join some of the biggest tech movers and shakers for one day, October 17, at the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum: “Owning Your Ecosystem & Building the Future,” at the Four Points by Sheraton, San Jose Airport, San Jose, California. Keynote speakers Mitch Mayne and Wendi Whitmore of IBM, plans to weave some relevant alliance experience into his talk “Cyber Security Ecosystem Meets the Customer Experience,” and there will be plenty of concrete case study examples from Scott Van Valkenburgh, CSAP, vice president, global alliances leader at Genpact in his talk “Robotic Process Automation (RPA): Partnering Considerations.” Genpact has implements several successful RPA projects with Genpact’s RPA partnering strategy, and Van Valkenburgh plans to share lessons as well as customer case studies as he discusses Genpact’s launch and early RPA strategy.  

Learn more about these and other case studies, review additional sessions and content, and sign up for early bird discounts at the following links:

BioPharma Conference: http://www.asapbiopharma.org/sessions.php

Tech Partner Forum: http://www.asaptechforum.org/index.php

European Alliance Summit: https://www.asapeusummit.org/

Tags:  alliances  ASAP BioPharma Conference  ASAP European Alliance Summit  ASAP Tech Partner Forum  case studies  Christophe Pinard  Cisco  Clinical Genomics  Cyber Security  ecosystem  Genpact  governance  IBM  Illumina  IoT  Jean Noel Enckle  partnering  partnerships  RPA projects  Schnieder Electric  strategy 

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Huawei’s Strategy for Partnering Success (Part One): Tapping into the ASAP Community’s Best Practices, Professional Development, and Tools

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Monday, March 5, 2018
Updated: Saturday, March 3, 2018

Decades before Greg Fox, CSAP, assumed his current position as vice president of strategic alliances at Huawei Technologies, headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, he held senior strategy, channels, sales, alliance management, marketing, product management, and business development positions at Citrix, Cisco, Novell, and HPE. For the past two years, Fox has lead Huawei’s efforts to build information and communications technologies (ICT) industry-leading alliance management competencies and global partnering capabilities. Today, Huawei Technologies is the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world.

 

“Having a strategic alliance background has provided a competitive edge with prospective partners. In fact, strategic alliances are quickly becoming a core part of the Huawei culture and an embedded part of our business strategy,” Fox stated.

 

“And with Huawei’s global market leadership in key markets involving carrier, consumer, enterprise and now cloud, many companies want to do business with us for mutual business advantage. It is a nice problem to have, but that makes it ever more important that we do partnerships the right way, and we set them up for the long-term,” he explained.

 

Given the magnitude and scope of their current level of partnerships, Huawei has developed a tier-one companywide process called Manage Alliance Relationship (MAR) that focuses exclusively on managing the alliance relationship process. This includes traditional 1:1 alliances, as well as managing one to many and many to many partnerships.

 

As Huawei has adopted many of ASAP’s best practices and tools for partner evaluation, recruitment, and on-boarding, the alliance management organization has created many templates within the MAR process. These templates and tools are actively used in every current or prospective strategic partnership and have afforded Huawei a competitive edge in cultivating its growing portfolio of partnerships.

 

“We have a straightforward approach outlined by a five-step process to executing mutually profitable partnerships and as we follow this, we feel that we can improve the odds of success and ensure that all parties profit,” Fox said.

 

“The first step involves partners agreeing on a common set of objectives and a strategy for achieving them and being clear on what all sides get from the alliance. Next, partners must write out a business plan, including determining who is our customer, why will they buy from us, and what is our expected ROI [return on investment]. Third, partners must install governance structures that assign key responsibilities, clarifying who is responsible for what, and which has an identified sponsor who is senior enough to mobilize resources and change course if things go off track,” he said.

 

“Step four involves creating proper incentives for both the direct sales force and indirect channel, with compensation designed to get all parties to make the alliance a priority. And finally, every partnership should be flexible, and alliances must be reviewed quarterly to help leaders respond to changing business conditions,” Fox explained.

 

The five steps are not performed once and then set aside. Instead they are done in an iterative loop, where processes are refined, and targets regularly adjusted as needed, based on every changing competitive environment.

 

To learn more about Huawei’s partnering efforts, see Part Two of this blog as well as Genevieve Fraser’s Member Spotlight in the Q4 2017 issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine. Greg Fox also co-presented, with Andrew Yeomans, CSAP, of Merck Serono, the January 18, 2018 ASAP Netcast webinar “Building the Engines of Collaboration Inside and Beyond the Borders of Mainland China.”

Tags:  alliance management  business development  channels  Cisco  Citrix  cloud  governance structures  Greg Fox  HPE  Huawei Technologies  manage alliance relationship  marketing  Novell  partnerships  product management  sales  strategic alliances  strategy 

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Partnering and Digital Transformation: A Preview of the June 7 ASAP Tech Partner Forum with Erna Arnesen, CSAP

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Monday, June 5, 2017

A highlight of the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit in San Diego was spending some quality conversation time one evening with Erna Arnesen, CSAP—a well-known and widely respected figure not just within ASAP but also in the high-tech community, where she’s been recognized as one of “Silicon Valley’s Women of Influence” by the Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal. Erna—who is chief channel and alliance officer at ZL Technologies—flew into San Diego and arrived at the Marriott Mission Valley in the late evening as I was chatting in the closed hotel bar with Greg Burge, CSAP, immediate past president of the ASAP Silicon Valley Chapter. She must have been tired, but the always-friendly Erna joined us and, at Greg’s prompting, recounted several experiences “back in the day” as one of the late Steve Jobs’ right-hand executives at NeXT (remember that very cool black workstation?). I asked her point-blank what the famously mercurial Jobs was like to work with. She recalled a number of times when Jobs was amazingly gracious—but had a different memory of the day Jobs got the news she was leaving the company for another position. (You’ll have to ask her yourself for the details.)

I caught up again with Erna this week upon her return from a European business trip. Her latest endeavor on behalf of the ASAP and high-tech community is helping to organize the Wednesday, June 7, 2017 ASAP Tech Partner Forum. Since January, she has been working with Greg and a core group of other leaders in ASAP’s Silicon Valley Chapter, including current chapter president Ana Brown, CSAP, of Citrix, Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, of Phoenix Consulting Group, and Jennifer Ames-Hoskins, CA-AM, from Microsoft, along with ASAP staff executive Diane Lemkin. The event—focused around how to “collaborate at the speed of digital transformation”—is hosted by gaming processor board maker NVIDIA.

Erna also is the facilitator of a pivotal panel discussion on “Strategies You Need to Partner Everywhere,” where she will be joined onstage by Steen Graham, general manager, IoT ecosystem/channels, Internet of Things Group, Intel, Maria Olson, CSAP, VP of global and strategic alliances at NetApp, and Andres Sintes, Cisco’s global senior director, partner GTM, digital transformation & IoT. I asked Erna to talk about how the ASAP Tech Partner Forum came about, and what she plans to discuss with her fellow panelists.

ASAP Media: How did the ASAP Tech Partner Forum come about?

We knew about how the ASAP BioPharma Conference got started a few years back. We thought we’d start with a one-day event that would be a Tech Partner Forum—something specifically centered in Silicon Valley, less time-consuming than a multi-day summit, primarily targeting the Bay Area but encouraging people outside the region to come, and catering to high-tech partnering and strategy. Our first choice for location was Silicon Valley, not San Francisco, which is a different audience.  Silicon Valley attracts established companies as well as startups and has the big hardware and software players—SAP, Google, NetApp, Cisco, NVIDIA, etc. The audience is robust and we have quite a few Silicon Valley Chapter members attending. I see this as our opportunity to support our local high-tech ASAP membership and as an opportunity to engage non-members and expand the visibility of ASAP through both speakers and participation of attendees we could attract.

You’ve got an impressive and diverse lineup of executives from leading tech companies on the program and specifically in your panel. How is the day organized and what topics are you planning to tackle in your session?

Our theme is the strategy for partnering in the era of, and with the speed of, digital transformation and the Internet of Things. When we planned the program, we split the overall event into three major pillars:  strategy, execution, and tools. In the opening session NVIDIA will talk about the speed of alliances—they are known for being a fast-moving partnering company. Then there’s the strategy panel that I am moderating.  In the afternoon, execution and tools is the last panel of the day, prior to a networking reception.

In our strategy session, first of all, the Internet of Things (IoT) is really important to understand. What’s the ecosystem and channel strategy of companies around IoT? Two of the three speakers are focused on this as their full-time jobs—Andres Sintes and Steen Graham work on behalf of their companies to build ecosystems with partners that are expanding their footprint in digital transformation and IOT. We will start out with how to define IoT, the speakers’ role in go-to-market (GTM) strategy, and what’s the collaboration model for multi-vendor, multi-partner collaborations—more than two partners coming together, which is often the case for IOT and digital transformation.

ASAP Media will preview other critical and challenging topics on the agenda at the June 7, 2017 ASAP Tech Partner Forum in Part Two of our Q&A with Erna Arnesen. Learn more and register for the event at www.asaptechforum.org.  

Tags:  Andres Sintes  ASAP Tech Partner Forum  Cisco  Digital Transformation  Erna Arnesen  execution  Google  go-to-market (GTM)  Greg Burge  Internet of Things (IoT)  Jobs  Maria Olson  NetApp  NVIDIA  Partnering  SAP  Steen Graham  strategy  tools  ZL Technologies 

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