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It is Time to Think Differently - Taming the Complexity of IoT Partnering

Posted By Jan Twombly, CSAP and Jeff Shuman, CSAP, PhD | The Rhythm of Business and SMART Partnering, Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Internet of Things (IoT) is upending partnering “best practices.” One practice is clear: no company succeeds alone. It takes an ecosystem.

This is partnering at a scale, scope, and speed unprecedented until now. It requires creativity and bold experimentation. Companies must learn quickly, iterate strategies, manage complexity, and try new models for value creation, delivery, and capture.

“We know how to partner. We’ve been doing it for 20 years.” These are deadly words when said about partnering for the Internet of Things. The fundamentals of partnering may still apply – or not – but businesses that until now have been relatively un-digitized are discovering tremendous opportunities to rethink their operations and economics. This necessitates partnering:

  • Across industries and sectors
  • With many more companies for any given industry solution
  • At a greater speed to assemble and reassemble the right partners for each customer scenario
  • With agility, shifting from orchestrator to participant, sometimes with the same customer
  • In conjunction with “Everything as a Service” business models

Innovate and Experiment

Companies that succeed at building the partnering ecosystem required for the IoT take a page from design thinking: Start with the experience of the end customer and play that back to solution development. Those that succeed think similarly about the partner experience, making it easy to engage and drive down transaction costs. They do not lock onto any specific business or partnering model; rather they experiment and learn which of the assumptions you’ve made are valid and which are invalid and need to be iterated.

Instead of copying what competitors consider “best practices,” companies that remake their partnering capabilities for today’s connected world look for other inspiration. For example, Médicins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) assembles teams of medical and logistical professionals when conflict breaks out or there is an epidemic. The network has the ability to quickly assemble and then disband when the work is done because it knows what each partner considers valuable and works to ensure that value is received, thus maintaining willingness to participate and contribute value.

Companies throughout the ecosystem, regardless of their role or roles, must be willing to take some risks and fund experimentation to determine what is repeatable and scalable, both in the business and partnering models and in how partnering operations are carried out.

Connective Tissue or Achilles’ Heel

At the ASAP Global Summit in March keynote presenter Jonathan Ballon, Vice President of Intel’s Internet of Things (IoT) Group made it very clear that IoT is a massive opportunity to create and realize tremendous economic value; transforming industries; changing products, services, and solutions, and disrupting business models. He also emphasized that partnering and alliances are the connective tissue required to realize this value. The SMART Partnering Alliance of The Rhythm of Business and Alliancesphere argues that success in the ecosystem partnering required by IoT is not happenstance – it takes careful design. If your company’s partnering capability is insufficient for the task, partnering might be your Achilles’ heel – the exposed and unprotected weak spot of your organization. Alliance professionals have a duty to provide their executives with a roadmap across the new partnering landscape.

Over the next few months, we’ll be publishing a series of blog posts and white papers that explore what is different about partnering in the IoT - and how to apply design thinking – what we call Partner By Design to evolving partnering practices for the connected ecosystem era and everything as a service business models.

Missed the Summit Keynote? Read a Summary and Perspective on it from SMART Partnering.

ASAP was given permission by ASAP Corporate Member, EPPP, and guest bloggers Jan Twombly, CSAP and Jeff Shuman, CSAP, PhD of The Rhythm of Business and SMART Partnering to reprint the contributed blog. 

Tags:  alliance professionals  alliances  Alliancesphere  business model  ecosystem  Intel  Internet of Things  Jonathan Ballon  partner  partnering  SMART Partnering Alliance  The Rhythm of Business 

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‘Recognizing Great Behavior’: Winners of 2016 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards Receive Honors and Accolades for Innovative Problem-Solving at ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By Cynthia Hanson, Thursday, March 3, 2016

“When we share and highlight best practices and learn from each other, part of the success worth recognizing is great behavior,” said Mike Leonetti, CSAP, ASAP president & CEO, emphatically as he presented the 2016 Alliance Excellence Awards during the awards ceremony at the ASAP Summit, “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Md. USA. In addition to the awards categories recognized in years past, ASAP introduced new honors at this year’s event.

 Warm applause turned into a standing ovation that swelled the room as Leonetti presented the new ASAP Guiding Light Award to Jan Twombly, CSAP, ASAP chairman of programming, for her exceptional and exemplary “good behavior,” leadership, and volunteerism. Leonetti noted that Twombly, president of The Rhythm of Business, for the past six years has invested literally hundreds of hours of time each year as a volunteer driving program development for the annual Summit as well as annual biopharma conferences for the past four years.  

 The new ASAP Chapter Excellence Award was awarded to the ASAP New England Chapter. Accepting the award was another ASAP luminary volunteer, Becky Lockwood, global board member and two-time president of the New England Chapter, for “going above and beyond alignment with ASAP’s vision. The New England Chapter continues to deliver excellence in everything they do for ASAP,” said Leonetti. In turn, Lockwood praised the suite of companies who have supported her efforts over the years, saying success would not have been possible without their volunteer time.

Leonetti then announced the winner of two ASAP Content Awards, first to Eli Lilly and Company and David Thompson, CA-AM, chief alliance officer, for their long history of devotion to ASAP from the early days of the association. Eli Lilly and Company's contributions include offering workshops, extensive volunteer time, and Lilly’s consistent editorial content in, and support of, Strategic Alliance Magazine. The second Content Award recognized Xerox and head of corporate alliances and ASAP chairman emeritus Russ Buchanan as well for countless hours of volunteer time “spreading the excellence we have been generating over the years,” and Buchanan’s colleague Candido Arreche, global director of portfolio & management for Xerox worldwide and a black belt in Six Sigma quality methodologies, for his dynamic ASAP workshop teaching style. 

The awards ceremony then announced and honored the finalists and recipients in multiple Alliance Excellence Award categories. 

The Alliance Program Excellence Award is presented to “organizations that have instilled the capability to consistently implement and manage alliance portfolios and demonstrated consistent success of those alliances over time.” This year’s award went to Bayer for its Alliance Capability Enhancement Project, now in its fourth year. The project was lauded for, among other things, its strong emphasis on collaborative capability and cultural development, deal-making and efficiency, new IT infrastructure, processes, and pilot programs. 

The goal was to “move the culture from an inward focus to a partnering mindset” commented Joseph Havrilla, senior vice president and global head of business development and licensing for Bayer Pharmaceuticals. This was accomplished through: 

  • Senior management engagement
  • Creating awareness within the organization and recognition and value of the importance of partnership, including pushing data out showing that a significant part of revenue came from partnership
  • Providing training to give people tools and techniques to manage partner conflicts and timelines

 National Instruments won the Innovative Best Alliance Practice Award, given to a company for “individual alliance management tools or processes that have made an immediate and powerful impact on the organization and/or the discipline of alliance management.” National Instruments received the award for outstanding achievement of a best practice with their innovative and highly accessible partner directory that allows customer to search across the partnering ecosystem and access in-depth profiles of partner capabilities, certifications, ratings, and reviews from partner customers. Implementation included the creation of more advanced search functions, markets, keywords, mapping, and other kinds of tools. As a result, the number of National Instruments partners grew very quickly from 600 to 1,000-plus over short time.

 This year’s Individual Alliance Excellence Award, which is presented for “excellence in planning, implementation, and results of a single alliance. … between two companies or multiple organizations,” went to International SOS and Control Risks. Their nearly seamless alliance has changed the way the market perceives support and assistance of business travelers and expats. Previously, Control Risk was doing pandemic planning, and SOS was doing security planning. The unique co-opetition through formation of a joint venture has resulted in significant benefits for both the companies and their clients in terms of crisis management, most recently during the Ebola crisis, Arab Spring concerns, and AcelorMittal Mining evacuation of 130-plus employees from Liberia.

 “The goal was to eliminate completely any competition, to merge and put them together into one. Obviously not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination,” said John Maltby, director, group strategy of alliances at Control Risks. “We took a year to design this alliance and structured it around distribution.” It works to completely eliminate the competition because “when it boils down, we are trying to operate safely in a difficult environment,” he added. “The alliance balances out quite complementary capabilities.”

 There were no submissions this year for the Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility Award. The seven-member awards committee is chaired by Annlouise 

Tags:  alliances  ASAP Chapter Excellence Award  ASAP Content Awards  ASAP Guiding Light Award  Bayer  Becky Lockwood  Candido Arreche  collaboration  Control Risks  David Thompson  Eli Lilly & Company  International SOS  Jan Twombly  National Instruments  partner  professional development workshops  Russ Buchanan  The Rhythm of Business  Xerox 

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What’s an Alliance Manger To Do When a Blockbuster Biopharmaceutical Product Is Built on a Shaky Alliance Foundation?

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Friday, September 25, 2015

What do you do when you have a blockbuster product, but a few key alliance building blocks are missing and the cornerstones are misaligned? “Blockbuster Product, Fragile Alliance: Leading the Drive for Change” answered this critical question in a dynamic presentation given by Christine Carberry, CSAP, senior vice president of quality, technical operations, program and alliance management at FORUM Pharmaceuticals and chairman of the ASAP Board of Directors, and Jan Twombly, CSAP, president of The Rhythm of Business, Inc., and a member of the ASAP executive and management committee, at the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference. Twombly agreed to delve more deeply into the topic with a few key questions during an interview after the conference.

 

What are the signs of a fragile alliance?

Your alliance is achieving revenue targets and its clinical milestones. But any bump in the road such as a regulatory hiccup, can cause significant problems. The attorneys are always involved, its tit-for-tat, and people describe being ambushed in governance committee meetings. So you have a fragile situation because you have a relationship between the partners where they don’t trust each other and don’t feel they are working in the best interest of the alliance. Whenever you don’t have that solid underpinning, you might have external success but not the foundation to deal with the inevitable problems.

 

Why should an executive care as long as your blockbuster alliance is achieving its objectives?

The question from most people in the room is, “My executive realizes we have a fragile situation, but how willing are your governance committees to deal with the hard work of establishing or re-establishing that foundation when you are making your numbers?” The implications of not moving the alliance forward because you don’t have the underlying foundation can be significant. I have seen situations where there were delays upwards of a year with things that really didn’t make sense, disagreements where it would always come back to haunt you. A blockbuster product generates over one billion a year, so there is big money at stake, and if left unaddressed, you are likely to be leaving value on the table. Biopharma products have a reasonably definite lifecycle, and every day you don’t move forward, you are losing a day of market exclusivity because your patent has a finite life, and once your patent expires, generic drugs can come into the marketplace. You also might be creating an opening allowing competitors to get ahead, costing market share. You need to convince the people who should be enrolled in improving the collaboration that there is a significant risk being posed to the alliance when you don’t have that foundation to tackle problems in a collaborative way. You need to get at the root cause—because it is really important for the alliance manager to enroll senior level management and the governance committee to address them. If you don’t address them when things are going well, you won’t be prepared when something negative happens. It’s important to have strategies for raising awareness. That is really the key.

 

What strategies can an alliance professional use to improve the situation?

An absolute prerequisite is that leaders from each partner agree that change is necessary and urgent—and that it starts with them.  You then need a champion to use the core alliance skills of influence, getting people on board, bridging differences, convening the right people, facilitating the right kinds of conversations, and leading people to the conclusion that the status quo is not acceptable. Then you have to move quickly. It can be as simple as rechartering your governance committees, getting them to think about how they act and behave, and asking how it makes them feel—that’s all of the soft stuff you know you  need to do, but people resist.

Carberry and Twombly’s presentation also recommended the following practical steps: 

  • Re-examine governance—Structure, membership, performance standards; rethink the decision making process
  • Re-examine work allocation—project team structure, responsibilities, membership; is collaboration being forced where it isn’t necessary?
  • Establish new behavioral standards—recharter revamped teams/committees and hold them to it
  • Have an aligned and current vision and strategic plan (the “North Star”) and use it to build a “one-team mentality”
  • Meet more frequently and have more face-to-face meetings—eliminate updates and focus on, discuss, debate and decide formats
  • Launch a branded “Campaign for Exponential Success”—leadership, communication, awareness and understanding, accountability at all levels

Tags:  alliance manager  biopharma  Blockbuster product  Christine Carberry  collaborative  FORUM Pharmaceuticals  governance  Jan Twombly  market share  marketplace  partners  performance standards  recharter  The Rhythm of Business 

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Iteration and Hands-On Collaboration Drive Innovation: Lessons from the Second Annual Marshmallow Challenge

Posted By Cynthia Hanson, Tuesday, March 3, 2015

“Your supplies are some sticks, a yard of string, yard of tape, and a lone marshmallow. The goal for your team of four is to build the tallest freestanding structure possible with the marshmallow at the top, using only these components. You have 18 minutes to succeed. Now Go!”

Jeff Shuman, CSAP, Ph.D., issued his dare Monday, March 2, at the 2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit in Orlando, Fla. USA, to open the second annual Marshmallow Challenge, where teams scrambled in a creative competition to build and secure a range of creatively designed wafty stilt structures. The collaboration exercise—done for years by kindergarteners, schoolchildren, college students, and MBAs (we won’t belabor which age group was most successful)—is a graphic way of teaching creative problem solving, which can often be difficult for alliance managers entrenched in routine procedures.

“Every alliance has its marshmallow,” explains workshop instructor Shuman, co-founder and principal at The Rhythm of Business and a business professor at Bentley University with over 30 years of teaching experience. The point of the collaboration exercise is “to understand that iteration and collaboration are the keys to innovation, which is what companies care about for growth.” “And,” he adds, “it’s fun!”

The challenge quickly raises three critical questions that emerge in collaborative projects and problem-solving efforts: Do you have a plan, and if so, how good is it to foster growth? As team members jockey for power, who will emerge as the leader? Does any team member have prior knowledge useful to the project that can help speed up the process to find a winning combination? The Marshmallow Challenge is a great team-building exercise to do when you are starting a partnership, Shuman says. 

Tags:  2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit  Bentley University  CSAP  Jeff Shuman  The Marshmallow Challenge  The Rhythm of Business 

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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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