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Minding Your P’s & Cues When Managing an International Alliance: Lessons Learned for Citrix and Fujitsu

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Updated: Saturday, May 21, 2016

Running an alliance is a lot like running a marathon, said John-Marc Clark, managing director of global SI sales at Citrix Systems. “Both cover long distances at a fast pace over a long period of time. Strategy, planning, perseverance, consistent training, and teamwork are critical success factors.  And you can measure the results,” he noted during his talk “Going Global: When the Whole is Greater than the Sum of the Parts,” at the 2016 Global Alliance Summit“Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland.  

Clark has been “running” in international alliance marathons for years for Florida-based Citrix—with record-breaking companies such as Tokyo-based Fujitsu, an information technology equipment and services company. Fijitsu is Citrix’s No. 1 partner out of the company’s 10,000 partners, said Clark. It is the largest IT company in Japan—providing technology ranging from super computers to smart phones. “Two or three of the largest Citrix-led deals worldwide were with Fijitsu. We share a pipeline, and we have an open kimono in regard to our business together. We have top-down sponsorship at the CEO level for entire regions, which is very important.” 

The metrics show the partnership is “growing like crazy,” he added. The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) has been 15 percent over five years for Citrix-based bookings. “Both companies bring tremendous assets to the equation” and incredible customers, such as the German Federal Employment Agency, which is working on locating jobs for one million refugees streaming in from Syria, he noted.   

This marathon “has really been a fantastic journey,” he continued, while launching into the fascinating cultural aspects of doing business with a Japanese company. In the beginning, the 15-year plus partnership “was not a true global alliance. It was more like an assembly of relationships. I was not an alliance manager—I was asked to go into this role because I am highly international. I speak four languages,” he explained. “I knew no one at Fijitsu, which was a big problem.” In one early meeting, “the Fijitsu participants never said a word,” he recalled. “It was more like a ceremonial meeting.” 

As he studied Japanese culture and the new business dynamics, Citrix’s alliance with Fijitsu blossomed. The following hurdles were critical in developing the international partnership, Clark said: 

  • Be like Tom Sawyer, who convinced 15 people to paint a fence—build virtual teams and communication. Don’t make it your project. Make it our project. Use E-mail distribution lists and Share File on the cloud. Communicate constantly, and do your best to link people together. Go out of your way to take your alliance into company events, and always have a one-line elevator pitch. Global organizations don’t collaborate very well: “Your role is the connective tissue.”
  • Don’t default to travel, but don’t underestimate the power of travel. If you really want to build a relationship, go there to seal the deal: “’When in doubt, go on the road,’ a boss once told me. In the beginning, it was imperative. It legitimized me in the eyes of Fijitsu,” he recalled.
  • Establish trust and integrity: If trust is lost, all future negotiation is lost. In a massive and complex organization, identify the critical people with which to establish relationships: “I first worked on integrity and building solid relationships because it was a way to handle potentially contentious and litigious situations.”
  • Create and review a plan; apply precise metrics. Have a tight explanation on what the value proposition is for your company, your partner, and the client. Act on things that are measurable. Read the book The Four Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Jim Huling, and Sean Covey.
  • Have well-written, organized, and fair contracts. “When I came onboard, there were 70 contracts with Fijitsu. It was like black magic: We had people who only knew what the terms were. There is only one now. I believe in the model that when Dec. 31 comes around, everything should auto-renew and harmonize,” he added.

Tags:  alliance manager  Citrix Systems  communication  Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR)  contracts  culture  Fijitsu  global alliance  IT  John-Marc Clark  Metrics  partnership  The Four Disciplines of Execution 

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Q4 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine: Improving Your Communication Skills, Incorporating Ninja Philosophy, and Adding Other Valuable Tools to Your Alliance Manager Toolbox

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sharp communication skills are an essential tool in the alliance manager’s toolbox, so we highlight the topic in the Q4 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine. The lead article, “Upping Your Communications Game,” touches on several tools that can help build the collaboration framework. Several professionals address how to fine-tune those skills, including Eli Lilly and Company’s Mike Berglund, CA-AM on framework construction, body language experts Jack Brown and Clark Freshman on reading nonverbal communication, Anny Bedard of ABio Consulting on cross-cultural communication, and Trisha Griffin-Carty, owner of Griffin-Carty Communications, on the value of weaving stories into presentations. 

We also preview keynote speaker Jonathan Ballon, vice president of the Internet of Things Group at Intel, and other presenters bringing their leading-edge expertise to the upcoming March 1-4, 2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, to be held in National Harbor, Maryland, adjacent to Washington, D.C. As in previous years, the 2016 Summit is on the forefront of alliance management practice, with this year’s program honing in on the diversity of skills required for “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem.” Also included in this issue are snippets of events at the Boston BioPharma gathering, “Conference Focuses on Surfing the Shifting BioPharma Wave,” as well as a recap of the 2015 ASAP European Alliance Summit, “The New Ecosystem for Partnerships.” 

Several philosophical voices espouse the value of “ninja” alliance management in the Your Career feature—metaphorically harnessing the ancient elements of earth, water, fire and wind and incorporating them into your daily practice. The article combines the ancient ninja concept with thoroughly modern wisdom and advice from Cindy Warren, vice president of alliance management at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, and four panelists at a lively session, “Cultivating an Alliance Management Career,” held Sept. 11 at the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference in Boston. Panelists spoke in ways that fit with a philosophical view of ninja practice: the earth element of being grounded and standing your ground; the water element of soft skills and moving around obstacles; tending the fire element by diffusing and managing conflict; harnessing the wind element by bending and being adaptable. For a quick synopsis on what to look for in an alliance manager, we added a short sidebar of Warren’s Top 10 qualities. 

There is a review of Remix Strategy: The Three Laws of Business Combinations, by Benjamin Gomes-Casseres, CSAP—a roadmap for the best partnering routes. Also, a heartfelt tribute to Tom Halle, CSAP, a longtime leader, mentor, and champion of the alliance management profession who recently passed away from lung cancer. The magazine also spotlights corporate member Amgen for its investment in strategic alliances with dozens of active partnerships involving cross-functional governance, while improving its own internal governance and processes, to build healthy, longterm partnerships. The quarterly editorial supplement, sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company, features the article “Major Moves: Simplifying Alliance Management Product Transitions With Thorough Planning” by Rachelle E. Hawkins, CA-AM, Joanna L. C. May, CA-AM, and David Thompson, CA-AM, on the challenging steps involved in transitioning a globally marketed asset to another company. 

Without the two critical components of good communication and inspired leadership, “a company can end up parading barren goods or services, much like The Emperor who was tricked into believing that he wore a fine suit when nothing of value was really there,” advises The Close’s “The Master Alliance Weaver at Work,” which focuses on the qualities and characteristics essential for a “durable cloth from which to create and deliver significant value.” All valuable information that you need as you build value into your practice at a time when strategic partnering continues to increase in complexity. 

Tags:  ABio Consulting  alliance management  alliance manager  Anny Bedard  Benjamin Gomes-Casseres  body language  Cindy Warren  Clark Freshman  David Thompson  Eli Lilly and Company  Jack Brown  Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies  Mike Berglund  non-verbal communication  Rachelle E. Hawkins  Strategic Alliance Magazine 

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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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Overcoming the Curve of Conviction: How to Increase Value by Getting from Negotiation to Collaboration

Posted By Cynthia Hanson, Friday, September 11, 2015

“To Collaborate or Not To Collaborate?” That is the question Mike Berglund, CA-AM, alliance director at Eli Lilly and Company, asked the audience at the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference held Sept. 9-11 at the Revere Hotel off the Boston Common.  “Are We Negotiating or Collaborating? Increasing Alliance Value through Collaborative Decision Making” was the topic on stage as Berglund prompted the audience to consider three case scenarios that presented alliance management challenges when working with partners.

 

Decision-making roles are complex, especially in alliances, and become even more complicated when the decision is intricate or embedded, Burglund emphasized. “You as individual have certain attitudes, beliefs, and values that effect how you make decisions. It is a lot easier for me to ask if you will go out and buy a loaf of bread vs. change a specific brand of car or attend a different college. You willingness to change the buying pattern will be different.”

 

How to get to collaboration in a world of culturally entrenched views, tastes, and opinions is one of the challenges alliance managers face in the decision-making process, he indicated. Its about the Conviction Curvea framework of personal buying perspective: “In the alliance world, where you are in this curve will dictate how likely you are to change. If you are going into a governance meeting, the further to the right [on the Conviction Curve] you are, the more difficult it will be to change that position and the more resources and energy it will take.”

 

It’s like a sculptor molding a lump of clay, he added. At first, he or she has the ability to mold it into whatever structure desired, but over time, the clay hardens and becomes more difficult to change. “Working across two companies, with their positions embedded in their respective organizationsit’s hard to change. And you will see that exemplified in alliance management,” he warned.

 

A critical point for alliance managers to consider is the importance of understanding your potential partner and responding appropriately to their behaviors to get to that point of collaboration. Negotiation is all about winning, while collaboration is preferable because its jointly created value that can determine the tone of the relationship, he reminded the audience. Build the alliance from within the alliance and push it outward, he advised. “When you deploy this kind of culture and process, its being organically driven within our organizations.”

 

After challenging participants to consider three very different case scenarios, he asked in one case: “What were the factors that led this alliance to result in a joint decision?” He then drove home the value of using “company pre-meetings to understand your own convictions and then using that information to design the meeting. Choose the right people for the job, make sure that whatever is going into governance meetings has been jointly agreed upon by the parties, and eliminate the opportunity for walk-ins. You really want to limit that discussion, and push it out of governance meeting,” he advised. “Even more important, sit down and talk about company differences. You don’t have to agree, but you need to agree on how you present your different sides,” he added.

 

Then evangelize these norms with the working teams. If you have this kind of behavior in teams, collaboration will be the norm, he concluded.

 

Learn more on this topic in the recently published Q3 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine editorial supplement article “Choose Wisely: Increase Alliance Value through Collaborative Decision-Making,” sponsored by Eli Lilly and Co. and co-authored by Berglund and Lilly’s Chief Alliance Officer David Thompson, CA-AM.

Tags:  alliance management  alliance manager  alliances  collaboration  conviction curve  Eli Lilly and Company  governance  Mike Berglund  negotiation  partners  pre-meetings 

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The Benefits of Having the Alliance Manager, Attorney, and Business Developer Coordinated at the Negotiation Table—and Beyond: A Panel Discussion with Bayer HealthCare

Posted By Cynthia Hanson, Friday, September 11, 2015

You’ve assembled a great team and negotiated what seems to be a good deal with a partner. But if you are Bayer HealthCare, before you seal it with your legal teams, what do you need to consider before launching into what might be a 10- or 15-year arrangement?

 

“We’re talking about a process that needs alliance management, legal writing, and business development,” said moderator Ben Gomes-Casseres, CSAP and author, consultant, and professor at Brandeis University. “A mix of disciplines is probably what our message is here today. Claudia’s job is to get the deal, Karen’s is to live the deal, and John’s is to paper it over and make it legal. Three functions that are very important to coordinate,” he added, referring to the three panel members at the  2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference practical how-to session “Making the Link between Alliance Deal and Alliance Life”—Claudia Karnbach, vice president and head of business development and licensing, specialty medicine, Karen Denton, CA-AM, director of alliance management, and John A. Calvo, senior counsel.

 

In the traditional business model of biopharma alliances, a lot of handover and passing of the baton took place after the deal was inked. But companies like Bayer are evolving toward a more integrated approach, Gomes-Casseres said.  “If we can have the same people around the table negotiating and launching the deal, and get the same team doing due diligence and managing the alliance, it all helps with stronger alliance and consistency.” 

 

“You need to look at the deal through the lens of the contract,” added Calvo from the legal perspective. “Do we have mechanisms in the contract, how are we going to deal with lifecycle development? Those are the kinds of things you need to think about early on, because at negotiation, it’s really too late. … Just as we build in a mechanism for joint value, you need to look for disconnects such as if the parties are sharing expenses 50/50, but one party holds the decision-making.”

 

“Building on what John just said, we now have model where the alliance manager is pulled into the deal early,” said Karnbach. “We saw how this would benefit us in renegotiations. We are striving to have very few renegotiations. If you do direct development, at times things are changing quite fast and what you put in the contract is outlived tomorrow. What we have to do is build with transparency, common interest, and common value with the partner.”

 

“I am the main beneficiary here,” observed Denton from her alliance exec’s perspective. “I get a deal that is much more future-proof and manageable. The alliance is much easier to put into place.”

 

“I am the second beneficiary because I don’t have to jump into renegotiation,” added Karnbach. “I can only try to encourage all of you to incorporate this model because it will improve the [long-term] deal you do with other partners.”

 

“There has been a lot of change in mentality among alliance managers and attorneys,” said Denton. “When I first came into alliance management, we sat in different camps. If problems came up in alliance management, alliance managers would see it one way and legal would see it another way. John and I now meet every week—we are in the same tent and work together, to each other’s strength.”

 

Calvo concurs.  “We now discuss alliance issues when they are minor issues, before they blow up.” And one of the key benefits is the continuity: “In the past, everything was so siloed.”

 

But can bringing in the alliance manager at an early stage be disruptive? asked Gomes-Casseres.

 

“You need the consistency of people bringing stability and knowledge, not migration,” answered Karnbach. “Loss of knowledge can be avoided by having a person at the table and living the alliance later on.”

 

Denton recounted a positive partnering experience she had involving a very fast launch with a full team around the table in less than two weeks.

 

“That ability to hit the ground running can be valuable to both the company doing the deal and the partner company as well,” she said. “Listening to the parties’ needs and interests is necessary to structure the deal, but even more important when you start to live the deal. So when you are living the deal, you have to have an eye on the partners’ interests.”

Tags:  2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference  Alliance Deal  Alliance Life  Alliance Manager  Bayer HealthCare  Ben Gomes-Casseres  Brandeis University  Claudia Karnbach  John A. Calvo  Karen Denton  renegotiation 

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