My Profile   |   Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Register
ASAP Blog
Blog Home All Blogs
Welcome to ASAP Blog, the best place to stay current regarding upcoming events, member companies, the latest trends, and leaders in the industry. Blogs are posted at least once a week; members may subscribe to receive notifications when new blogs are posted by clicking the "Subscribe" link above.

 

Search all posts for:   

 

Top tags: alliance management  alliances  collaboration  partnering  alliance  partner  partners  partnerships  alliance managers  ecosystem  alliance manager  The Rhythm of Business  partnership  Jan Twombly  Vantage Partners  biopharma  Eli Lilly and Company  governance  strategy  Strategic Alliance Magazine  IBM  collaborations  IoT  strategic alliances  ASAP BioPharma Conference  cloud  innovation  Christine Carberry  Cisco  healthcare 

Driving Through Spaghetti: Navigating the “Chaos” of Biopharma/Digital Partnerships

Posted By Michael J. Burke, Wednesday, September 16, 2020

There are many things biopharma alliance professionals do well, and many areas where they shine. Partnerships between life sciences companies and digital organizations, however, while on the rise, remain the new frontier for alliance management. And to give alliance professionals their due, it’s often their organizations that are caught flatfooted by the demands and challenges that lie along the biopharma/digital divide. In fact, greater involvement by alliance groups might help operationalize and execute on these partnerships such that they fulfill their purposes and create more of their intended value.

That’s one of the assessments provided by Stu Kliman, CA-AM, and Ben Siddall, both partners in Vantage Partners, in their presentation, “Enhancing Partnerships Between Life Sciences and Digital Organizations,” on day two of the 2020 ASAP BioPharma Conference. (Vantage Partners is a platinum sponsor of the conference.)

In introducing Kliman and Siddall, ASAP president and CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP, noted that this is “a topic that we’ve been talking about for a number of years at ASAP.” The two presenters agreed, with Siddall adding that what has changed in the three or four years since he and Kliman began facilitating such partnerships and doing presentations on the subject is the sheer proliferation of these alliances—to the extent that they can no longer fit on one slide anymore.

The trend is part of “an increasingly complex ecosystem, with biopharma at the center,” according to Siddall. The question, he said, is “How do we take advantage of all these relationships and manage [them] in a coherent way?” It can be done, he added, but due to the number of relationships involved, and the breadth and longevity of those relationships, “it’s a struggle.”

Changing Mental Models

Kliman mentioned that when biopharma people hear the word “partnering,” they have “a mental model for what that means,” which may be “somewhat narrow and [something that] happens linearly—the classic drug development and commercialization process.” But digital partnerships are a different animal. As Kliman put it, they tend to be “more invasive and more involved for alliance management than is typically the case.”

Kliman gave a couple examples of such partnerships, such as Concerto AI and BMS, and GE and Roche, before noting that there are often so many internal and external players and stakeholders involved, and so many different activities across the alliance life cycle, it can be challenging to coordinate all those functions and activities. “All that looks easy on a slide, but it’s hard to make all the pieces fit,” said Siddall.

And whose job is it, anyway? Both Kliman and Siddall, in different ways, made the case for alliance management groups to perform this difficult task.

Even in a “traditional” biopharma alliance, there is great complexity and a number of functions involved, and alliance managers tend to move among the different functions as needed to communicate and coordinate activities and ensure alignment, in addition to working closely with their opposite numbers at the partner company. With a biopharma/digital partnership, however, the number of functions increases and may include things like AI, tech suppliers, virtual trials (often international in nature), and more.

The Spaghetti Slide

Displaying a slide showing a veritable spider web of lines drawn between all these different functions, Siddall noted, “You see how complex the map looks. You’ve got this spaghetti.” Throughout the presentation, this was referred back to as “the spaghetti slide.”

Notwithstanding this complexity, said Kliman, “We believe the alliance management group is very well positioned to own these activities” and be the “change management driver” in digital partnerships. Other functions are simply not prepared to do it, he said.

Yet significant organizational challenges remain. Recent Vantage research shows that 74 percent of biopharma respondents said their organization has an explicit digital strategy—but 52 percent say that internal stakeholders are not clear about how to effectively engage their key digital relationships. What’s more, only 15 percent of respondents said their company has clear and operationalized approaches to manage digital relationships differently from more transactional vendor relationships.

“So how do you do this well?” Siddall asked. He cited what he called “three critical enablers.” To be successful, he said, organizations must:

  • Align decisions with strategy (“What’s the purpose? Why are we doing this?”)
  • Embed a cross-functional operating model to speed execution
  • Build the skills to enable agile collaboration

“Everybody’s Doing It”—but Not Everybody’s Doing It Well

Many companies simply ask, “Which partner does X?” he said, and then “get a list of big names.” This is the wrong approach. Rather, they should start with their overall strategy and ask, “What are we trying to do?” And, given the number of activities and functions involved, they also have to ask themselves, “How do we actively manage all that chaos, and make it strategic?”

In fact, Siddall said that alliance professionals not only need to manage the chaos, but they might need to create some as well. In so doing, they’ll need to avoid what has sometimes been the biopharma response to digital organizations’ ways: “That’s not how we do it here.”

Kliman acknowledged that the challenges of the biopharma/digital divide can make for a “differentially uncomfortable situation.” “As alliance managers, we like control,” he said. But there are far more digital partnerships now than just a couple years ago, and the number is expected to continue to rise. So get used to it—the future is here.

“The size and diversity of digital portfolios has grown,” Kliman said. “Folks have woken up to the implications for their organization. We see organizations bellying up to the [digital] bar.” Or as Siddall said, “Everybody’s doing it now.”

And although some of the skills needed for digital partnerships may be different, Siddall said it requires a “mindset shift” rather than reflecting a “skill set conflict.”

We Need a Navigator

Finally, Siddall’s pitch for greater involvement by alliance management in digital partnerships highlighted alliance managers’ role as “navigators” of different relationships, especially their ability to help partners navigate biopharma organizations and surface differences.

Kliman said he wouldn’t argue what alliance managers should or should not do, but the fact remains that companies need to have an approach to managing these partnerships—and who will be accountable to drive alignment around executing the operating model?

“It makes good sense with a portfolio of digital relationships that alliance management has a role to play,” he said.

Check back in this space for more coverage of the 2020 ASAP BioPharma Conference, and remember that the online showcase on Vimeo gives you all the livestream sessions in real time—and later, once they’re archived, in case you missed one—as well as all the on-demand content, sponsors’ messages, and more!

Tags:  agile  alignment  alliance management  alliances  Ben Siddall  collaboration  cross-functional  Digital  internal stakeholders  Life Sciences  Partnerships  portfolio  relationships  speed execution  strategy  Stu Kliman  Vantage Partners 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Revamped Bayer Alliance Practice Relieves Partnering Headaches

Posted By Jon Lavietes, Saturday, August 29, 2020

Five years ago, Bayer’s R&D alliance management group knew it needed changes. Even though its core partners were happy in their collaborations with the 150-year-old pharmaceutical and over-the-counter medicine institution, the external perception in the broader pharma community landed in the lower tier, according to its internal research.

The R&D group embarked on changes to its alliance practice in order to improve its function and achieve three larger organizational objectives: 1) deepen the company’s understanding of the mechanisms of diseases that were getting increasingly complex; 2) broaden its drug portfolio into new modalities, technology, and external innovation; and 3) make its operating model more flexible, in general.

Bayer was contending with a variety of changes in its operating environment. First, the number of alliances—and the number of people from outside the organization working on Bayer initiatives—was growing fast. Moreover, the company was engaging in new types of collaborations, such as digital health partnerships, in which it found itself in the unfamiliar position of being the inexperienced party. Partners increasingly had their own alliance networks playing roles in Bayer collaborations, which added a new layer of complexity to the management of these collaborations.

Two Bayer executives shared the story of the company’s still-in-progress alliance management makeover in an on-demand 2020 ASAP Global Alliance Summit session, “Enabling Strategic Change—Cultural and Alliance Capability Development,” which took viewers through the internal and external changes that were made in order to modernize its alliance practice and improve its standing within the broader pharma partner community.

Bayer’s New Training Regimen Comes Up ACEs

The first step in upgrading Bayer’s organizational alliance capability was to overhaul alliance manager training. More specifically, the practice instituted highly tailored individual plans; executives were coming to alliance management from a variety of areas (e.g., marketing, R&D, business development, etc.) and each had different strengths, weaknesses, and bodies of knowledge.

Bayer complemented this individualized training with its Alliance Community Excellence (ACE) initiative, which brought in outside experts, sometimes from unusual places, to hold court on facets of alliance management. Michael Kennedy, PhD, director of strategic alliances in Bayer’s Business Development & Licensing group, spoke of one instance where a former FBI trainer taught alliance managers how to identify and neutralize lying and deceit. The ACE program also placed an intense focus on external networking, including deepening the alliance group’s interaction with the ASAP community. As part of the ACE program, the alliance management practice also set up a help line so that nobody in the organization felt like they were on an island. 

“Who are you going to call? It’s not Ghostbusters. It needs to be somebody within our broad alliance community that people can call, either as an alliance manager running into some challenging topics and wanting to discuss it or somebody on an alliance team. They can pick up the phone and call one of us alliance managers for help,” said Kennedy. 

Complementary Principles, Competencies Go Hand in Hand

Bayer structured its training into six core competency categories: 1) alliance know-how, 2) collaboration, 3) joint problem solving, 4) organizational agility, 5) flexibility, and 6) conflict management, and developed curriculum for executives of different levels (e.g., rank-and-file team members vs. alliance leaders). Each of these areas consisted of three to five individual skills. Kennedy explained that the organization sees synergy between these areas and that they can be broken down into three complementary pairs—organizational agility helps optimize alliance know-how, flexibility aids collaboration, and conflict management is an inevitable part of joint problem solving.

Kennedy walked the virtual audience through a set of foundational principles grouped into two broad categories—1) “Establish,” which dealt with structure and process, and 2) “Practice,” guidance around mindset and culture—that similarly went hand in hand with each other. Each alliance needs resources—namely, the right people, capacity, and investment—but they are useless if partners don’t have access to Bayer leaders. (Resources represent an “Establish” principle, while access comes from the “Practice” category.) Governance, another “Establish” principle, is nothing without alignment, which Kennedy defined in this context as “speaking with one voice.” Communication, both in terms of timing and consistency, to partners and the public at large is paramount, but problem-solving capabilities will eventually be necessary when it breaks down. For years, Bayer struggled to acknowledge partners’ differences, but in recent years the company has strived to safeguard the value joint initiatives are expected to bring to allies. Carry out all of these principles, and Bayer partnerships will generate execution and trust.

“[Execution and trust] really are the foundational pieces of our partnering principles,” said Kennedy.

A New Alliance Culture: Play to Win vs. Playing It Safe

Of course, principles and competencies only go so far if a corporate culture isn’t designed to optimize them. Bayer had a lot of work to do in this area, according to Christoph Huwe, CSAP, PhD, director of strategic alliance development for R&D Open Innovation & Digital Technologies at Bayer. First, the company had to stop operating in silos. To that end, it adopted the mantra “assets over function,” recounted Huwe in describing the new collaborative mindset that encouraged employees engaged in alliances to prioritize activities that were necessary to advance a drug candidate to a clinic or patient. Bayer relaxed its traditionally “top-down” command-and-control model, so that its employees had the freedom to execute accordingly without having to run every decision up the ladder within the company.

Bayer similarly loosened its risk-averse ways to enable the alliance practice to “play to win and learn over playing it safe”—according to Huwe, the organization was previously less inclined to make mistakes. From a strategic standpoint, Bayer’s mentality switched to one of “science over process.” That is, instead of trying to force a drug to work for a preplanned indication, it would follow the science and pursue another indication if initial research showed the asset was better suited for it.  

Cards on the Table: Alliance Game Players Learn Practice’s Four Pillars

Of course, culture starts at the top, so the alliance practice puts its senior leaders through rigorous team and individual training to lead by example and accept what Huwe characterized as “very candid feedback about inconsistencies” in what they preach and what they do vis-à-vis partner initiatives. Midlevel management retraining was also critical, according to Huwe, since the majority of people working on alliance engagements reported to executives at this level.

Since senior executives usually developed the company’s alliance strategy in advance, it was up to the alliance practice to rebrand itself and communicate the new vision to the rest of the organization through “game-ified” cross-functional team-based exercises. For example, the alliance practice created a board game that was divided into the four pillars of Bayer’s internal culture—collaboration, experimentation, customer focus, and trust. About a dozen players would break into smaller groups where they would be asked to discuss whether actions detailed on playing cards were “blockers or drivers” of these four cultural mainstays. The smaller groups would ultimately reconvene to share and discuss their findings in one large discussion.

Huwe said the alliance management team also instituted new “health-check–style surveys,” which measured “awareness, agreement, involvement, and impact,” to make sure the new culture was taking root. Huwe placed a special emphasis on the “agreement” piece.

“You have to have an understanding if the organization is really on board because if they aren’t you have to think of ways to get them there,” he said. “Senior leadership will be much ahead of the rest of the organization in their agreement to the process, so they need to understand that we’re not quite there yet, and they have to continue to work with the rest of the organization to get there.”

Out of Its Comfort Zone and into Global Pharma Networks

Bayer also embarked on several new measures to improve its reputation as a partner externally.

“We’re trying to leverage the partner’s strengths and capabilities and not trying to turn them into more like Bayer. This is causing us to get out of our comfort zone and expand the way that we think and the way that we work with partners,” said Kennedy.

Case in point, Bayer previously had a company policy limiting press releases to deal signings and phase 3 or later. However, the company has recently relaxed that internal standard to accommodate partners that were eager to issue announcements detailing successes in earlier stages of the drug development cycle. In addition, the normally process-driven company has taken steps to become more flexible. For example, it cut the number of steps in its governance process to approve a deal by more than half.

Bayer has in some cases chosen to collocate employees at partner sites, and it has also opened up business and innovation centers in regions around the world considered hotbeds of pharmaceutical activity, such as San Francisco, Boston, Osaka, Beijing, Singapore, and Berlin.

“We’re going to where the networks are already existing and not asking people to come to Bayer [headquarters],” said Kennedy, who added that the company can now take partners to these sites to give them an up-close look at Bayer’s affairs.

The company has established effective online platforms, hosted more partnering events, and increased its conference presence, even bringing actor Michael J. Fox to one show to speak about the company’s efforts around Parkinson’s disease. Today, half of the company’s top 10 products come from partner initiatives, accounting for more than half of Bayer’s revenues.

The opening slide of Kennedy’s roadshow presentation now says it all: “Bayer is a partnering company.”

Huwe and Kennedy had more to share about Bayer’s partnering transformation, so make sure to use your Summit registration information to catch the full presentation in the Summit portal. While you’re there, peruse more than 20 other insightful sessions from the first-ever virtual ASAP Global Alliance Summit.

Tags:  alliances  Bayer  Christoph Huwe  collaborations  Digital Technologies  Global Pharma Networks  Michael J. Fox  Michael Kennedy  Open Innovation  partnering  partners  strategic  transformation 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

School of Thought: Three Case Studies Illustrate How to Train Your Alliance Pros

Posted By Jon Lavietes, Sunday, August 16, 2020

Training is still a priority to corporations around the world, according to research from Vantage Partners. More than $80 billion was spent on all forms of coursework in 2019, but how much of that was dedicated to teaching formal alliance best practices? Not much, according to Ben Siddall, partner at Vantage Partners, who revealed that the same research found almost half of companies invested zero or few resources in teaching collaboration skills.

Siddall and his fellow partner at Vantage Jessica Wadd took some of their time to talk about the benefits of making this investment in their on-demand 2020 ASAP Global Alliance Summit session “Alliance Management Skill Building: Case Studies Across Industries,” where they presented a trio of case studies showing that successful collaborative training can take many forms.

Before delving into the actual use cases, Wadd shared that organizations that are best-in-class in executing collaborations have devoted resources—usually on a large scale—to fostering the following skills within their employees: creative joint problem solving, managing emotions, collaboration, communication, influence, conflict management, change management, and facilitation. She outlined three broad categories of skills to help companies tailor training to the needs of their troops: 1) analytical (i.e., technical knowledge), 2) behavioral (i.e., mindset-oriented), and 3) blended—talents that require a mix of the first two skills. As Wadd and Siddall would subsequently reveal, the organization’s overall training objectives, as well as the company and department culture, often dictate which format and skill-development exercises are best for a given situation. 

Come Together: Salespeople Gather to Network, Share, and Learn

Wadd outlined the first case study, which saw a $3 billion tech company design a certification program to ensure that its sales-oriented alliance team developed the talents needed to manage a large stockpile of go-to-market partnerships. This organization was at “level 2” on a four-point scale rating organizational collaborative capability, where level 1 signified a low alliance proficiency and a propensity to engage in partnerships on an ad hoc basis and level 4 indicated that collaboration was coded in an organization’s DNA. The organization envisioned moving up two levels by teaching a variety of executives from within and outside of the alliance practice the basic tenets of “Alliance 101,” including partner value creation, coopetition, multiparty problem solving, collaboration and influence, negotiation, matrix usage, and account planning.

This organization determined that in-person training would best fit its sales-centric culture—its charges “craved interpersonal interaction,” Wadd said. Training sessions served as a reunion of sorts where the largely dispersed employee base could gather to experience firsthand “the value of getting together with their colleagues, sharing experiences, networking with each other, and building a knowledge of what others had done,” as Wadd recounted. The actual sessions were organized into four broader tracks:

  1. Alliance concepts and best practices: Alliance management basics, change management, and coopetition
  2. Understanding partner business models and alliance business plans: Customer value creation and value chain analysis, and account planning and strategy development
  3. Advanced collaboration and influence: Multiparty problem solving, negotiation, and general collaboration and influence skills
  4. Roles and responsibilities (in the organization and within the alliance itself): Working in a matrix, coaching, and talent development

Learners were officially certified when they demonstrated competency in these skills, not upon completion of the courses. They were evaluated based on a three-part assessment: 1) a qualitative review by the trainee’s manager or sales leader, 2) a 34-question multiple-choice test, and 3) a presentation of two case studies demonstrating the application of alliance principles in real-life scenarios.

Biopharma AMs Ease into Self-Guided Alliance Journeys

On the other side of the spectrum of training methods was the largely customizable, self-service program architected by a level-3 $30 billion global pharma company that relied on partnering for growth. These alliance managers were proficient in the basics of alliance management, but they were increasingly engaging in early-stage partnerships, a departure from the largely late-stage collaborations the team was used to. With a decentralized team scattered in multiple geographies, this pharmaceutical giant took the opposite tack of the previous use case and created a library of prerecorded webinars and an accessible central alliance toolkit that provided a “baseline and discipline in how they engaged in alliance relationships,” according to Siddall.

Prospective students could assess their training needs through surveys and self-assessment tools. Employees had different needs depending on the types of alliances they worked on and the particular skills required for their respective engagements. Each individual could mine this central repository of virtual real-time learning sessions, classroom sessions, self-guided learning, one-on-one coaching, and community-based learning to create “their own learning journey out of that landscape,” said Siddall. “Folks were able to tailor what they needed and how they got it to their specific constraints, all within the construct of the core alliance management tools, processes, and playbook.”

Pharma Company “Layers” AM, Leadership, and Governance Training on Thick

Another biopharma company was looking to advance its alliance practice from a level-2 standing and become the coveted “partner of choice” in its market. With most of the employees engaged in its partnerships centrally located in a few offices, the company opted for a classroom style and a syllabus designed for alliance professionals. It decided to “layer” leadership training on top of the basic alliance curriculum, and then codeliver the entire offering to the rest of the organization in an “open enrollment” format, in Wadd’s retelling.

Within a few years, the course was heavily attended by alliance first-timers and other employees whose managers felt that they could benefit from learning core collaborative competencies. These classes were eventually complemented with online learning resources, as well. The program evolved to cater to specific governance needs across the alliance portfolio. Although they were not required, executives who were appointed to committees were urged to take courses that were conceived specifically for these roles, as well as half-day sessions that took place a few times a year where committee appointees could network, share ideas, learn from each other, and enhance their skills.

Integrating alliance training for all levels and roles in this fashion “makes sense when you have a limited budget,” in Wadd’s estimation.

Three Different Ways to the Next Level

Each of these three use cases relied on very different means to train alliance managers and non-alliance personnel in the core tenets of alliance management, yet they each molded stronger alliance managers and elicited better results from their collaborations. The certification program expanded the number of tools in the team’s arsenal, engaged employees from other departments, and increased the value of the portfolio to the point where alliances now contribute 40 to 50 percent of the company’s domestic revenue growth. The biopharma giant’s self-administered training similarly expanded the role and visibility of alliance management within the organization. More important, the efficient use of resources ensured that the practice could “optimize the use of [its] scarce central alliance expert time and apply [it] only to the highest-value challenges [it] faced,” said Siddall. The last training helped the alliance management team better defuse potentially volatile situations, reduced the number of escalations to senior governance committees, and produced better resolutions of the issues that were brought to senior management. The alliance practices of the first two organizations have reached level-4 status, while the latter pharmaceutical company has moved from level 2 to 3.

Although these case studies make it crystal clear that there is no “single silver bullet” for alliance training, Siddall outlined a few common principles in achieving collaborative training goals among them:

  1. Think about the learning journey as a process, not an event. “You can’t create collaboration, influence, [and] the kinds of complex skills alliance managers need at a one-time event with no prework, no follow-up, [and] no action learning,” said Siddall.
  2. Make sure all subject matter is contextualized. “Generic content will not be as impactful. Folks won’t develop the skills, and they won’t be as engaged,” counseled Siddall.
  3. Instructors should have real-world expertise and speak the same language as attendees.
  4. Emphasize practical application. Siddall recommended a “learning laboratory” format where students apply concepts to real-world scenarios.
  5. Think carefully about format,” Siddall exhorted, hypothesizing that analytical-category learning outlined by Wadd earlier in the presentation might lend itself to self-guided tools, while behavioral and blended training may necessitate live, interactive sessions.

“Alliance Management Skill Building: Case Studies Across Industries” is one of about two dozen 2020 ASAP Global Alliance Summit sessions available on demand to Summit registrants. ASAP members and Summit registrants can access great knowledge like this that applies to all industries and all phases of the alliance life cycle.

Because in the world of alliance management, the learning never stops. 

Tags:  alliance best practices  Alliance Management  Alliance Pros  alliances  Ben Siddall  biopharma  case studies  certification  collaboration skills  Jessica Wadd  partner  portfolio  resources  Skill Building  Vantage Partners 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

“A Commonality of Spirit”: How a Cancer Center Partners to Help More Patients

Posted By Michael J. Burke, Monday, June 8, 2020

At ASAP we’re used to talking about all kinds of partnerships: tech industry, cross-industry, biopharma, multipartner ecosystems, and others of many flavors. But what kinds of partnerships are important to a hospital—specifically, a leading cancer center?

That will be the subject of a June 23 keynote presentation at ASAP’s virtual Global Alliance Summit, “A Cancer Center’s Experience Developing Clinical Partnerships and Alliances: Opportunities and Cautions,” to be given by Dr. Louis B. Harrison, MD, FASTRO, vice president, chief partnership officer, and chair of the radiation oncology department at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla.

“Everyone Wins”

 Speaking with me recently via Zoom—a conversation briefly interrupted because he had to go check on a patient—Dr. Harrison indicated that the partnerships the Moffitt Cancer Center is engaged in, and that he’ll be speaking about later this month, tend to fall into two categories: clinical care and clinical research. As an example of the former, he mentioned a partnership that Moffitt runs to deliver radiation oncology services at one or more hospitals within a 20-hospital system.

“They did not have radiation oncology expertise, although they did have other key elements to their cancer program, so we develop a partnership with them, and in the context of that partnership, we send faculty there, and treat patients there, and work with them to build a program, and do that together with that hospital,” he explained. “Another partnership relates to bone marrow transplants—that partner did not have a successful transplant program, so we sent a key clinical leader there, added additional faculty, and incorporated key members of their existing faculty, who all collaborate with the faculty at our main center in Tampa. But the key is that we treat patients there. Everyone wins—especially the patients, who are now able to receive state-of-the-art care closer to home.”

Some partnerships involve both treatment of patients and running clinical trials, he said. “Another partnership I’ll talk about [at the Summit] is a large health system where we’re going to open up a clinical trial unit and develop an outpatient cancer center, and do any number of other things in the clinical and research realm—things that they could have done by themselves, but which they felt would be stronger by doing it with us. The synergies here are basically that these hospitals or health systems have special needs in cancer—and those needs are better fulfilled when they partner with a place like Moffitt. At the same time, Moffitt gets to extend our footprint into these other hospitals and health systems. So we grow together: they get services and expertise that they don’t have but they need, and patients in those communities benefit because they get the Moffitt level of care without traveling to Tampa. Everybody wins.”

Definitely a win-win—for the smaller community hospitals that don’t have the types of specialists a major-league cancer center features, but also for Moffitt itself, Dr. Harrison said.

“Not only don’t they have [those services and expertise], but it would be hard for them to develop expertise at that level,” he explained. “A community hospital is just not going to develop that breadth and depth—it would not be worth their while, just in the context of their entire mission. They can’t possibly go that deep into the basic science and biology of cancer, at a molecular level—they don’t see enough cancer patients, and they don’t have the infrastructure to do the kinds of things that an NCI Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center can do. At the same time, there’s no way for us to have our own network of hospitals in Florida. But if our partners have the system of hospitals and we have depth of expertise, that makes for a perfect  combination. [They get] specialists, and access to clinical trials, special drugs, new therapeutics, molecular diagnostics, expert pathology, things like that.”

In addition to its mission of treating cancer patients, Moffitt is also involved in various clinical trials at a number of levels, and some of these necessitate partnerships as well. “Sometimes we develop trials that are our own trials, and sometimes we join cooperative group trials, and sometimes we join pharmaceutical trials, so it’s all of the above,” Dr. Harrison explained. “The more patients we can enroll on trials, the more we can learn and the more progress we can make in helping patients.”

Two Day Jobs at Once

He further noted that his role as chief partnership officer is actually in addition to his “day job,” which is heading up the Moffitt’s department of radiation oncology. “I’m the chair of radiation oncology, I’m a doctor, so this partnership role is not my main job, but it’s part of my job,” he said. “But we’ve developed a fairly robust team, so I have a leadership role on the clinical side, I have a partner, another person, a vice president who is the business lead, and [we] work closely together. Then we have a series of financial analysts and managers and partnership administrators and physicians who take the lead for various projects. We liaise with scientists at some of our partnership hospitals. So if you think about it, there’s a fairly broad and wide infrastructure that supports this, and it all does report up through our senior partnership leadership team.”

As to any challenges or obstacles that arise in these ongoing partnerships, Dr. Harrison pointed out the importance of the cultural and strategic fit between partnership institutions. These relationships make all the difference, he said—and as ASAP members know, they need to be handled with care.

“[In] partnerships and alliances, there has to be a commonality of culture, a commonality of spirit,” he said. “These relationships often, maybe more often than not, boil down to the people who are involved and their ability to work together. On the one hand [they] represent their institutions well, and on the other hand [they] find the commonality and the overlap where there can be synergy, where there can be common success. Taking the time and having the patience to truly understand one another’s goals is a crucial factor in the success of any partnership.”

Finding Opportunity in a Time of Greater Need

Asked about the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Harrison acknowledged that there is “absolutely” more need for such partnerships now, given the ways in which the pandemic has upended nearly every aspect of our lives, including healthcare.

“Yes, of course, it changes everything,” he said. “Like many other things, it’s ‘What’s your framework?’ I think it’s an opportunity. Because at the end of the day, COVID-19 has stressed every healthcare system, every business, every enterprise in the country. With that stress, it becomes harder to do things yourself, and more palatable oftentimes to do things with others. Not only to share resources, but also to share risks. I think a common threat, like any other circumstance, should allow good partnerships to thrive and find new ways to work together that will make the threat we all face more surmountable on the one hand, and then of course on the other hand to be able to do things with shared resources that either of the partners would be challenged to do on their own, especially in this resource-challenged environment. So we have approached COVID-19 as an opportunity—as a partnership opportunity.”

For more information on the virtual ASAP Global Alliance Summit and to register, go to https://www.asapsummit.org/

Tags:  Alliances  cancer program  clinical care  Clinical Partnerships  clinical research  COVID-19  culture  Dr. Louis B. Harrison  hospitals  Moffitt Cancer Center  partner  partnership  radiation oncology 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

“Golden Minutes”: How International SOS and Workplace Options Coalesced to Help Clients Quickly in Moments of Crisis

Posted By Jon Lavietes, Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Later this month, we will publish the next profile in our series of exclusive online articles examining the 2020 ASAP Alliance Excellence Award nominees. Over the course of the last four months, ASAP members have read the inspiring stories of Banistmo and Reciclar Paga’s groundbreaking recycling program in Panama, PTC’s series of system integrator–run IoT demo centers, the transformation of Blue Yonder’s alliance program, and the versatile Deloitte-Genpact alliance that is ready to storm the marketplace. (ASAP members can read these pieces in the previous four issues of Strategic Alliance Monthly, which can be accessed via the association’s Member Resource Library.)

In a few weeks, ASAP members will learn how International SOS and Workplace Options teamed up to bundle the former’s medical and security services with the latter’s emotional support offerings to deliver comprehensive services to globally mobile workforces in dozens of countries. As readers will discover, this collaboration isn’t just delivering complementary resources to customers—it is eroding the stigma around acknowledging and treating mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD, that is still prevalent in many cultures around the world.

If we could do it all over again, we might have considered running this piece in the most recent issue of Strategic Alliance Monthly—in putting this feature together, we learned that May is mental health awareness month. However, while hindsight may be 20/20, foresight is one of this blog’s main functions. As we do with many of our Strategic Alliance Quarterly features, we thought we would dedicate this post to some fascinating facts about the International SOS–Workplace Options alliance that didn’t make the cut in the forthcoming June edition of ASAP’s monthly online-only outlet.

Harmonized Work Styles Result in Smooth Client Service

In ASAP circles, talk often turns to how to make two organizations work seamlessly as one. More specifically, we oftentimes speak abstractly about recognizing and reconciling the different “worldviews,” “assumptions,” or “organizational cultures” that companies bring to the table. These themes came up often in the discussion of how these two organizations harmonized their operations. Sally Wang, group vice president of global partnerships and alliances at International SOS, discussed the differences between how her organization’s medical personnel and Workplace Options’ counselors tackle patient cases.

“Our doctors are not psychologists or social workers, who specialize in mental health. Workplace Options counselors aren’t doctors.  You tend to look at the situation from different perspectives,” she said.

The two sides must be in lockstep because time is of the essence with inbound calls. Wang noted that cases of this nature tend to be very intense—many come in the context of heavy physical and emotional support needs. International SOS reps have “golden minutes” to accurately capture details and convey them to their Workplace Options counterparts. Otherwise, frustrated and potentially panicked callers may abandon hope and give up, according to Wang.

“If it is not done smoothly, the member may say, ‘It’s too much work. I don’t really need it,’ and we lose an opportunity to provide holistic care,” she said.

Mary Ellen Gornick, senior strategy advisor at Workplace Options, added that having a dedicated team of counselors from her organization who understand the complexity of issues International SOS clients face has been critical to the partnership's success.

“In addition to having expertise in mental health, these counselors are also skilled at responding to the unique needs of someone who may be traveling frequently or in a remote location or high-threat area,” she shared. “That experience makes a tremendous difference in how counselors are able to tailor the support they offer.”

Review, Realign, Rinse, Repeat

Wang’s colleague Molly Walsh, program manager for the strategic alliances and partnerships group at International SOS, reviews client cases and conducts operational alignment calls each month to discuss situations that might have thrown one or both parties for a loop and explore how to course-correct for similar instances in the future. The two companies have each gotten very comfortable with their partner’s constructive criticism. 

If there are problems, we’re very up front in talking about it,” said Wang.

International SOS and Workplace Options are nominated for the Alliance Excellence Award in the Corporate Social Responsibility category. They are competing with:

  • Telecommunications giant Ericsson, which delivered and maintained Internet connectivity to rescue workers in the immediate aftermath of two natural disasters, a devastating cyclone in Mozambique and Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, as part of the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) Emergency Telecommunications Cluster initiative;
  • Global consulting firm Protiviti’s “i on Hunger” program, which delivered 10 million meals to individuals suffering food insecurity;
  • Analytics software vendor SAS’s Nordic Hackathon, which convened partners Knowit, Microsoft, Intel, and Evry to mine data for a wide variety of social causes, such as reuniting displaced families via facial recognition technology; and   
  • The aforementioned Banistmo–Reciclar Paga partnership.

The June Strategic Alliance Monthly will be sent to ASAP members prior to the 2020 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, where the Alliance Excellence Award winners will be unveiled. Registration for the Summit, which will take place virtually June 23 through June 25, is still open

Tags:  alliances  Ericsson  International SOS  Internet connectivity  Mary Ellen Gornick  operations  organizational cultures  partner  partnership success  partnerships  Sally Wang  SAS Nordic Hackathon  United Nations’ World Food Programme  Workplace Options 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 1 of 13
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  >   >>   >| 
For more information email us at info@strategic-alliances.org or call +1-781-562-1630