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The Perfect Storm Meets the Perfect Ship: The Changing Face of Partnering in Tech and Biopharma

Posted By Michael Leonetti, CSAP, Wednesday, October 30, 2019

In most industries, change is now so rapid that we often have trouble seeing through the fog of day-to-day demands in front of us. The effects we experience, react to, and feel most keenly may be local—our jobs, our companies, our partners, our industries—but the bigger picture behind it is global, and the frequent wind shifts of global trade, the interconnected worldwide economy, and changing consumer and customer behavior cannot always be foreseen. Instead of being able to ride out the proverbial “calm before the storm,” we have to navigate our way through a series of storms, each one seemingly more disruptive than the next.

            This is certainly no less true in the fields of biopharma and technology partnering, two industries from which so many of our ASAP members hail.

            The technology sector is still undergoing a transition from traditional channel management to ecosystem management, from multipartner alliances and channels to ecosystems of hundreds of partners at various levels—all very challenging to keep tabs on, much less manage and oversee. Go-to-market efforts that formerly might have involved just two or three companies may now be mounted by 10 or 15 ecosystem partners—or more—leveraging their strengths and customer knowledge to sell solutions together.

            The sea change is happening in biopharma as well. The space has seen increasing partnerships between technology and biopharma companies, like those involving digital therapeutics startups, service providers, diagnostic companies, and even ecosystem-like multipartner deep engagements—all as pharma companies must still maintain their excellence in asset-based product partnerships in order to remain competitive.

            Even the language can get confusing. Alliances? Partnerships? Relationships? Ecosystems? We’ve heard from some who say they “don’t do alliances—it’s just partnering now.” Others may prefer the term alliances to partnerships from a legal or perhaps philosophical standpoint. Still others put the emphasis on ecosystems as the direction everything is heading.

            What’s going on? How to make sense of these shifting winds and rolling waves of disruption? Is there a perfect ship that can make way through the perfect storm?

The passage through these choppy seas is not always clear, but I believe the ASAP community—our “ship,” if you will—is perfectly positioned to illuminate the fog, avoid the icebergs, and take advantage of the opportunities provided amid all these developments. Here’s why:

  • Throughout its two-decade-plus history, ASAP has been driven by its mission to collect and promote the best partnering practices of both biopharma and tech companies, along with other industries that utilize partnering to create value.
  • Early on, ASAP predicted and began to prepare its members for frequent, if not routine, partnerships between health care/biopharma and tech companies.
  • We know that complex ecosystems and multipartner relationships require modified, agile best practices to be successful. ASAP has long been working tirelessly to provide solid education and actionable guidance in these areas.
  • We now have the opportunity to take advantage of the partnering skills as defined in The ASAP Handbook of Alliance Management and supplement these learnings with other informative insights that continue to be unveiled throughout all of ASAP’s media and publications—including Strategic Alliance Quarterly, Strategic Alliance Monthly and Weekly, and ASAP Netcast Webinars.
  • Finally, there’s the unparalleled access to education and networking provided by ASAP conferences and other events, such as the upcoming European Alliance Summit in Amsterdam (Nov. 14–15) and the Global Alliance Summit in Tampa (Mar. 16–18, 2020).

It’s all there and yours for the taking. Want to get on board with the latest partnering practices in the technology and health care/biopharma industries? Look no further than this seriously skilled community of practitioners—“our ship.” Together, we’re setting a course for the future of alliances and partnering.

Tags:  Alliance  biopharma  channels  collaboration  diagnostic companies  ecosystems  Go-to-market  health care  multipartner alliances  partner  partnering  service providers  technology  therapeutics startups 

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Ahead of the Curve...ASAP and Strategic Alliance Quarterly celebrate the past while looking firmly toward the future

Posted By Michael Leonetti, CSAP, Friday, October 25, 2019

As we here at ASAP have been transitioning to our new offices—and to a new editorial team—we thought it was important to maintain continuity by preserving and celebrating what has worked well for our community while always keeping an eye on the present and on what’s up ahead. So this issue of Strategic Alliance Quarterly is a special one: a look back at the “best of the past”—articles on evergreen topics full of still-timely information about perennial issues for the alliance management profession—even as we keep our strategic vision firmly facing toward the future.

            What has always made us strong together is the fact that ASAP is your community. We never forget how important it is that you continue to be part of it—and that your interactions with this community help us to spot new trends, identify new needs, and define and refine new capabilities in alliance management and the field of partnering. During my own career I relied heavily on ASAP, along with my colleagues, to see, understand, and prepare for emerging business trends that might put us ahead of the curve.

            Here’s an example: Back in 2009–10, we were talking about how important it would be to have alliance management tactics built into corporate strategy. We declared that every CEO should have a partnership and alliance management strategy. At the time it was clear we were fighting an uphill battle, for sure, and even we thought that what we were asking for was aspirational—if sorely needed. But today we find that the majority of CEOs and other high-ranking officers of major corporations have already built or begun to build a partnership strategy into their corporate plans.

            Need another example? Not so long ago, around 2013, ASAP was writing about, talking about, and presenting the view that digital partnerships would be the next major change for our two primary ASAP member segments: technology and biopharma. While many of us understood that diagnostics, platforms, and wearables would soon become the basis for new partnerships between pharma and tech, many believed this was still a long way off. Yet already today we can see that nearly every major biopharma company and many tech companies are thinking, planning, and executing on partnerships that reach across the boundaries of each other’s industries.

            Could it be that our amazing community of practitioners has the power not only to predict the future, but also to learn important lessons from the past? I think so. And as you read this “best of” issue, I suspect you’ll agree with me that its themes—including managing conflict, navigating cultural issues and company size differences, driving cross-industry partnerships, and guiding alliance wind-down—are still very much alive in the day-to-day work of alliance professionals.

I hope you’ll take advantage of this selection of some of the “wisdom of the past”—the insights, the learnings, the failures and the success stories—even as we shift our thinking toward what’s out on the horizon and to the next emerging alliance challenges and opportunities.

            Like this magazine, ASAP and our member community keep moving forward. We’ll continue to try to provide our hardworking members with information they can use that will help them in their daily work, in their careers, and in their strategic thinking. We’ll absorb and retain the lessons of the past while trying to see around corners into the future, living by the mantra that success that is repeatable is sustainable. So enjoy the read, and the trip down memory lane—and let us know what you think. 

Tags:  alliance management tactics  biopharma  careers  Community  community of practitioners  partnerships  strategic  sustainable  technology 

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The Virtuous Cycle in Alliance Management—a Summit Spotlight Exclusive (Part 2)

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2019

“The alliance manager’s role is to understand the importance of timing,” advises Christine Carberry, CSAP, in Part One of ASAP Media’s interview with the seasoned alliance manager and former chief operating officer of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (now a subsidiary of Akebia Therapeutics). Carberry, who also previously served as chair of the ASAP board of directors, will be providing a leadership spotlight plenary session, “Collaborate-Create: The Value of the Virtuous Cycle,” at the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Agile Partnering in Today’s Collaborative Ecosystem,” March 10-13 at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. ASAP Media’s conversation with Carberry continues below.

Carberry’s role for six months of her year working for Keryx was as co-leader of integration planning with counterpart Akebia. Early on, she realized that her role wouldn’t continue with the new organization. She is philosophical about it. “You are working on trying to have everybody see the value of the merger—employees in the companies, investors, and shareholders. Yet people know you are not going to be part of it,” she explains of the challenge. “It’s about taking the time, if you can, to explore and not think that you have to jump right back into doing exactly what you were doing. Each experience leads to another.”

Alliance mangers are seekers of “the high road” trying to rise above conflict and egos, and keeping everyone focused on the common goal.  “You’re really a navigator,” she adds. “One of the criticisms that we’ve heard is alliance managers need to think of themselves much more broadly. And think of themselves as the people always looking for a portfolio of alliances and expanding value, not just be within the confines of agreements that you have today. That’s the challenge I want to give to the audience [at the Summit] in thinking about how we can have a greater impact by making better, stronger connections between ideas and resources, creating better conditions for collaboration. Your alliance portfolio is dynamic, and I think that alliance managers can create more value by really understanding that one alliance is one piece of a company portfolio and needs to align with company strategy.”

Before her one-year stint with Keryx, Carberry spent three and a half years with FORUM Pharmaceuticals (formerly EnVivo Pharmaceuticals) and 26 years with Biogen, where she stated out in an entry-level position during a time when genetic engineering was “scary science.” Biogen was a Fortune 500 international company that brought several drugs to patients “that changed their lives,” she adds. 

Despite being in transition between jobs, Carberry has “a very full plate.” In addition to her spotlight plenary session, as chairman emerita of ASAP, she will attend the Summit board and advisory meetings and will lead a roundtable about alliance management in a crisis situation. “It’s similar to what I’ve done in other transitional periods. It allows me to increase involvement in leadership roles,” she says.

Learn about Carberry’s talk and other leadership sessions and register for the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit at http://asapsummit.org. See the ASAP Media team’s comprehensive before, during, and after coverage of the 2019 Summit in Strategic Alliance publications and on the ASAP blog.  

Tags:  Akebia Therapeutics  Alliance Excellence Award  alliance manager  Christine Carberry  conflict  digital  expanding value  Keryx Biopharmaceuticals  partnership  Patheon  strategic partner  technology  Thermo Fisher 

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The Virtuous Cycle in Alliance Management—a Summit Spotlight Exclusive (Part 1)

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2019

“There is a time and purpose for everything. So the alliance manager’s role is to understand the importance of timing.” Thus advises Christine Carberry, CSAP, a seasoned alliance manager and former chief operating officer of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (now a subsidiary of Akebia Therapeutics). Carberry, who also previously served as chair of the ASAP board of directors, will be providing a leadership spotlight session “Collaborate-Create: The Value of the Virtuous Cycle” at the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Agile Partnering in Today’s Collaborative Ecosystem,” March 10-13 at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

A virtuous cycle connects right ideas with right resources in the right timing, she continues. “Timing is part of creating the right environment for collaboration and pulling those pieces together and then generating value,” Carberry explains. “That value often generates new ideas that just feed back into it. Growing new ideas may mean you need different kinds of resources. You may have an idea on how to improve a patient’s experience in a clinical trial. From that, you may come up with an idea that there’s a way to make that experience better using technology. Now you need different resources and skillsets to improve the patient experience in a digital way.”

Carberry’s talk is based on 30 years of management experience. Right now, she is between companies after Keryx Biopharmaceuticals and Akebia Therapeutics merged in December. The two companies are under consideration for a 2019 ASAP Alliance Excellence Award for their handling of a supply disruption where patients could not obtain a jointly manufactured drug. Access resumed after the companies teamed togetherfrom the C-level to the operational teamsto create a quick, viable solution.  

 

 “We had to navigate this partnership when Patheon merged with Fisher, and Keryx with Akebia,” Carberry explains. “Traditionally, biopharma companies treat CMOs as vendors, not as collaborators. … Applying all of the ASAP approaches and tools to the CMO I think creates a much stronger partnership, and it was demonstrated in this supply disruption situation. We needed high levels of trust with CEO engagement. It wasn’t business as usual. It was requiring people to go above and beyond,” she continues. “Agile is a good word for it. That willingness to be flexible and agile is less likely to happen if you are treating your CMO as a vendor rather than as strategic partner. “

 

See the ASAP Blog for Part Two of this interview with Christine Carberry, CSAP. Learn about Carberry’s plenary talk and other leadership sessions at the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, and register for the event, at http://asapsummit.org. See the ASAP Media team’s comprehensive before, during, and after coverage of the 2019 Summit in Strategic Alliance publications and on the ASAP blog.  

Tags:  Akebia Therapeutics  Alliance Excellence Award  alliance manager  Christine Carberry  digital  Keryx Biopharmaceuticals  partnership  Patheon  strategic partner  technology  Thermo Fisher 

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One Is Silver and the Other’s Gold: ASAP Summit Session Emphasizes Expansion Opportunities through Customer Renewal

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, March 2, 2017

New customers can hold great opportunity, but don’t neglect the old accounts because they hold hidden gold that can maximize revenue through expansion. That seemed to be the main message Jeff Newton, CSAP, global strategic alliance manager at Cisco Systems, and his colleague, Manoj Bhatia, CSAP, worldwide sales and business development manager at Cisco, conveyed to the audience during their session “Accelerate Partner Sales through a Customer Success Methodology.” Then they explained how to do it. The talk took place at the recent 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Part­nering Enterprise,” Feb. 28–March 2, at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, San Diego, California. Newton shared some thoughts from the session during an interview about his customer sales methodology.


How is the partner ecosystem changing/expanding to address new buying patterns?

From Cisco’s perspective, we are moving into lines of business where finance and marketing teams are making a lot of the decisions. It takes an ecosystem to deliver the right solution to the right customer. We need to ask how the changing ecosystem is impacting partners. We need to partner with the right people with the right technology. It’s really hard for one company to deliver the entire outcome.

Different people are making the decisions now. In the past, we would go into the IT department, find out the budget, and see how much product could be delivered. We have evolved to understanding what their pains are. To understand customers better, how can technology solve that problem? So it’s not really about selling product, it’s about selling solutions to business problems that the people in lines of business are having.

What is the role of alliance management in managing the customer?

It is good to understand what the customer is after. Ask yourself, what business problems are we solving? From an alliance management perspective, we need to put together the right ecosystem for the problem and solve the specific problem for each industry and vertical.

Please sum up your “customer success” methodology to drive an alliance to land, adopt, expand, and renew opportunities.

It’s about what the cost is to acquire a new customer. Companies spend a lot of time landing the new customer. Businesses forget to go back to that customer and find news ways to generate revenue with that customer. If you are adopting technology, you will be a lot more open. If you are helping a client build a data center, you may want to get into different lines of business to expand your sale. Also, we often don’t pay attention to sales teams, don’t focus enough on new opportunities, and we need to change our alliances to not only go after new business, but also expand together within the customer arena.

How can we measure our progress with customers?

There are some very different types of metrics we can look at. One thing I look at is the renewal rate for our support services. The industry average is about 90 percent, so if you go below 90 percent, you have an opportunity. It’s a compelling event to expand. The technology you have in your partner ecosystem will also help expand the sales and grow your footprint inside of a customer.

What are the best ways for alliance teams to lead this business transition and implement a customer success approach?

First, you really need to understand this methodology. Start looking at customers together in the same fashion. Ask how can we educate our sales teams on the ability to expand the opportunity and prepare for the renewal of the opportunity? How do we get our sales teams to think differently to engage with the customer? Look at the customer journey. Explore what they want to buy, and then evaluate it through a demonstration or something else, then the purchase, renewal opportunity, and then they can become your advocate inside the company. 

Tags:  alliance  alliance management  Cisco Systems  customer engagement  ecosystem  Jeff Newton  Manoj Bhatia  methodology  Partner Sales  technology 

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