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An Unambiguous Call to Action: Preview the Q1 2017 Strategic Alliance Magazine

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Saturday, February 11, 2017

From the cover to The Close, the Q1 2017 issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine tackles the critical topics that matter in today’s increasingly complex collaborations—and serves as a call to action for partnering executives to step out of their comfort zone, sound the call for professional alliance management, and continuously build their organizations’ capability to collaborate everywhere. For example, in our regular column “The Close,” I share a recent conversation with top Cisco executive and collaboration leader Ron Ricci. While “comfort with ambiguity” is an oft-cited trait of alliance executives, I argue (with support from Ron) that there’s nothing ambiguous about your CEO recognizing that digitization demands collaboration if your company is to succeed. Get a jump start reading this issue—full text of “The Close” follows below.

“THE CLOSE: An Unambiguous Call to Action,” from Q1 2017 Strategic Alliance Magazine

In Genevieve Fraser’s Q1 2017 Member Spotlight on Celgene, she and Jeremy Ahouse, CSAP, PhD, discuss how his alliance team includes “the kinds of people who can live with ambiguity and difference even as they get things done.” I’ve often heard comfort with ambiguity cited as an important trait of partnering executives. I got to thinking: Do I know any “ambiguous” alliance executives?

Most partnering professionals I know strike me as grounded, clear-as-a-bell communicators who don’t hesitate to share their point of view and who often can be very directive. I surmise that it’s precisely a lack of personal ambiguity that helps alliance execs lead amidst ambiguity. In a nutshell, it takes confidence to collaborate.

You feel that confidence within Ron Ricci, co-author of The Collaboration Imperative and a longtime Cisco senior executive focused on collaboration as an organizational capability, who joined a 90-minute conference call with ASAP’s advisory board in January. Ricci and Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, principal of Phoenix Consulting Group, discussed the just-published ISO 44001, the International Standards Organization’s standard for “collaborative business relationship management systems.” (See in-depth coverage forthcoming in eSAM Plus, ASAP blogs, and future Strategic Alliance Magazine articles.) Ricci believes the ISO standard—which aligns to ASAP’s alliance management frameworks—will help propagate a common language for business collaboration, inside and among organizations. Ricci and the many leaders he interacts with see partnering and collaborative ability as central to grappling with the pace of a rapidly digitizing world.

“I spend all day long talking to senior executives of diverse governments and companies around the world about their collaboration opportunities,” says Ricci, vice president of customer experience services at Cisco, whom I spoke to recently. “Speed is the most important thing they need to move their businesses [according to] every leader I’ve met with over the last five years on this topic of collaboration. And companies see collaboration as the means to get speed.”

Talking to Ricci is an unambiguous look into how the C-suite views partnering and collaboration today—and the opportunity this represents for alliance management.

“Digitization and the ability to connect anything has taken the notion of speed and actually made it a potential carnivore of companies,” Ricci explains. “Take the technology trend of standardization and connect to the broader business trend of digitization—now we have a market moving almost at the pace of Moore’s Law. In 18 to 24 months the way you make money serving your customers can evolve. … So the way organizations collaborate and work together might need to be the most important capability they need to survive in the 21st century.”

This is an unmistakable call to action for all alliance professionals. It’s time to evangelize the value of this profession like never before. Recent ASAP, Vantage Partners, and other studies present unambiguous data on how professional alliance management drives success and financial performance of partnerships. As exemplified by our cover story, “The Partner-Everywhere Imperative: A Practitioner’s Guide,” and numerous sessions at ASAP conferences, the ASAP community is on the forefront of extending and adapting alliance management frameworks, practices, and tools to the new, increasingly complex collaborations that now proliferate across industries and sectors.

“How do you survive in a world where risk is growing faster than growth?” a Fortune 500 CEO recently asked Ricci. “You have to operate at an uncommon level of speed, adaptability, and flexibility,” Ricci responds. “And if there’s a better way to do that than collaboration, please tell me.”

And if there’s a better resource for collaboration success than your alliance team, the ASAP community, and the alliance management profession, please tell me.

Tags:  alliance executives  alliances  ASAP Conferences  Celgene  collaboration  C-suite  Fortune500  Jeremy Ahouse  Partner-Everywhere  Ron Ricci  Strategic Alliance Magazine  The Collaboration Imperative  Vantage Partners 

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Fall 2016 SAM: New Frontiers in Academic Alliances; Interview with a Star Trek Writer and Gaming Professor; the Need to Think ‘Bigger than your Biggest Partner;’ and Much More!

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Fall Strategic Alliance Magazine delves into several new frontiers in alliance management. This issue stretches both imagination and potential with a cover story on academic partnering, “Bringing Academia aboard the Enterprise.” The article explores the history of invention in academia and then shifts to the driving forces today that are making academia an increasingly desirable partner, and how to maximize the potential.

 

Readers are also treated to an interview with Professor Lee Sheldon, a former writer for “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and several other well-known Hollywood television series, on creating collaboratively.  Now a professor of practice in interactive media and game development at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, Sheldon believes that “bad teams are the ones that cannot communicate and can’t get past their position.”  The better teams “communicate and understand and respect the positions of others outside of their own areas of expertise,” and every challenge can be met by a game.

 

This issue’s Collaborative Buzz highlights innovative partnering and provides a peek into the topic for next spring’s 2017 Global Alliances Summit, “From Science Fiction to Reality,” by Illumina Innovator Alex Dickinson.

 

In his Up Front column “Gaining a Global Perspective,” ASAP CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP, emphasizes the importance of a global perspective so essential today for alliance managers as he reflects on the programming from the recent ASAP European Alliance Summit. The “diversity of nations and industries,” and nearly double the attendance, provide a launching pad for his thoughts on how to lead with a winning formula: “Think bigger than your biggest partner—and communicate the value on that level,” he writes. Leonetti also integrates some ideas from the recent leadership forum at the 2016 ASAP Biopharma Conference. Speaking of which, there’s a recap is this issue of the conference that covers the wide range of interactive sessions and dynamic participants this year.

 

Dip into the “Your Career” column for some practical insight from by Eric Rosenson, senior vice president of talent acquisition at Ruderfer & Associates, and Greg Flanagan, president and founder of Emerging Healthcare Partners. John DeWitt writes about how these two search professionals challenge, enlighten, and provoke alliance executives “out of any complacency they might have about career advancement” as well as discussed valuable topics such as “transferrable skillsets—negotiation skills, knowledge of partnership from a business development and sales organization perspec­tive, and other capabilities that are commonly sought in alliance managers.”

 

The Member Spotlight shines on cybersecurity corporate member BeyondTrust in Genevieve Fraser’s interview with Joe Schramm, vice president of strategic alliances. Keys to successful partnering include treating the “partner’s win as sacred,” says Schramm in an interview that looks at the major areas of competition in cybersecurity and how strategic alliances accelerate growth and provide leverage, among other things.

 

Eli Lilly and Company is offering from its alliance management and business training kitchen another recipe for success. Their editorial supplement instructs on how to enhance the flavor and value of an alliance “tossed salad” by adding lean six sigma to improve methodologies, speed, and quality while reducing costs.

 

Finally, The Close explores the relationship between discovery and progress, and highlights an alliance between MedImmune and Johns Hopkins that has resulted in an innovative program that could provide a role model for industry. The program enlists the young minds of millennials “so eager to engage in finding the next great breakthrough for society,” writes Cynthia B. Hanson. “Many millennials are waiting in the wings for the opportunity to engage in discovery provided by a well-designed industry-academic program. It’s well worth considering as part of your overall alliance management strategy,” she points out.

Tags:  2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference  Academic Alliances  accelerate growth  alliances  ASAP European Alliance Summit  BeyondTrust  business development  Eli Lilly and Company  Illumina  industry-academic  Joe Schramm  Johns Hopkins  methodologies  MidImmune  millennials  negotiation skills  Partner  partners  partnership 

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New ASAP Corporate Member Export Development Canada Focuses on Alliances to Build Stronger International Trade Ecosystem

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, December 20, 2016

This is one in a series of blog posts welcoming seven new corporate members into the ASAP fold. Export Development Canada (EDC) is a Canadian Crown corporation providing trade finance, risk management services, and expertise to Canadian exporters and investors worldwide to drive Canada’s economic prosperity. EDC partners with a variety of organizations and stakeholders to reach businesses through new channels, share knowledge and information and, ultimately, create a stronger international trade ecosystem in Canada, according to Laura Hewitt, EDC’s director of public affairs, who provided the following information about the new ASAP corporate member.

 

Why did your team decide to join ASAP at the corporate level?
We were inspired to join ASAP after hearing about the resources available from colleagues in other organizations. We have a number of teams in our organization that create and manage alliances and partnerships, and we’re looking to find information and advice to continue to “up our game” in this area.

 
What is EDC’s purpose and mission?

EDC is focused on ensuring that Canadian companies have access to the tools and knowledge they need to grow and succeed internationally. We connect businesses, regardless of their size, directly to foreign buyers and global supply chains in order to benefit Canada. EDC’s mandate is to support and develop, directly or indirectly, Canada’s export trade and capacity to engage in that trade, as well as respond to international business opportunities. At the mission’s core is using our knowledge of international trade and global buyers to take on and manage significant levels of risk to facilitate the success of Canadian companies in international markets. Our work helped to generate almost $67 billion in Canada’s GDP in 2015more than 4 cents of every dollar.

How do you anticipate ASAP benefitting your mission and goals?

We are interested in ASAP’s resources to shaping our strategic planning for stakeholder engagement and partnerships, in addition to educational tools for measuring alliance and partner success. We also hope to attend some of the webinars or networking events and learn from other professionals in our field.

Please share a bit more information about your company and the type of partnerships you seek.
Helping more Canadian companies engage in international trade requires finding partners to help us deliver solutions in new ways. We need to think beyond our traditional partners (such as banks and insurance brokers) and consider new ones outside our usual playing field. Here is a recent example of where we partnered with Shopify, a Canadian e-commerce company:
http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160920005439/en/Shopify-Partners-Export-Development-Canada-Shopify-Capital. If you want to learn more about Export Development Canada, here is a link to our annual report: http://www1.edc.ca/publications/2016/2015ar/#/en/home.

Tags:  alliances  EDC  expertise  Export Development Canada  export trade  partner  partnerships  risk management services  stakeholder  trade finance 

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Part III: Stuart and Shawn’s Economic and Financial Metrics—A Dialogue About Social Capital and Alliance Maturity

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, October 24, 2016
Updated: Saturday, October 22, 2016

ASAP presented first-of-their-kind findings from two alliance management research studies during the packed session  “Applying the Latest Alliance Management Research to Your Partnering Practice” at the 2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference “New Faces, Unexpected Places in Partnering: The Foresight to Lead, the Foundation to Succeed,” which took place at the Revere Hotel in Boston. The session unveiled the landmark ASAP-commissioned 6th State of Alliance study, The Economics of Alliances, Social Capital, and Alliance Performance,” researched and authored by Dr. Shawn Wilson, DBA, vice president and general manager at Beaulieu Group (see Part I of this story posted on September 14).

The session also included an insightful presentation by Stuart Kliman, CA-AM, co-founder of Vantage Partners, on his company’s 2015 study “Transcending Organizational Barriers—A Cross-Industry View of Alliance Management Trends and Challenges” (see Part II of this blog post). The presenters then engaged in a conversation about how the two studies dovetail in economic and financial metrics and the ways they can be used to improve company performance. Following is part of their exchange:

Stuart: I think the two studies are very well connected and say very similar things in different ways. One thing that is interesting is that internal operating models haven’t evolved at the same pace as alliancing activity. In the gaps in the internal operating models, we need to rely on social capital. If you start to think of social capital and operating models, organizations need to grapple with how to enable the building of social capital. It’s not easy to do if organizations put people in dilemmas to make social capital decline. The concern I have about the ASAP study is that the language of social capital sounds too individual skill-based, not “How do we build up organizational capability?” We need to make sure executives don’t misunderstand that language.

Shawn: Social capital is an extremely underused term that is much more than individual ties. It’s been used for relationship building, but it’s really precise with dimensions that are unique and powerful when employed…. You need to take all those things into account to appropriately assess the distance between two firms: Is the social capital strong enough to put them together? How do firms assess maturity?

Stuart: Alliance management maturity is a useful concept, and how social capital fits into the model or how to evolve it. Do we assume the commercialization process is taking place only internally, or through partner relationships? There are various attributes of maturity, and when you measure maturity, you want to define your terms. Assuming you have a complex portfolio of somewhat interdependent relationships, what is your maturity level to manage that kind of social capital? Below the surface activities are really interesting to understand, and how they keep us from delivering specific goals.

Shawn: Alliances are outpacing the ability to properly apply physical techniques and analyze, and it’s important to understand the true distance between two companies. How do firms build social capital? That’s a fantastic question. Consider this analogy: My wife and I located back to the West Coast and moved to a neighborhood with an eclectic group—PhDs, opera signers, government workers. If you’d asked me whom the people were that I’d connect with, it wouldn’t have been these folks. But it turns out the structural dimension of the neighborhood was key—who was out in the front yard every night and what is family to me were much stronger predictors of connections.

Stay tuned for additional coverage of the session “Applying the Latest Alliance Management Research to Your Partnering Practice,” which will continue the lively discussion in Part IV between the presenters on how the two studies connect. You can read more on Vantage’s studies by visiting https://www.vantagepartners.com/Articles.aspx

Tags:  Alliance Management  alliance management research studies  Alliance Maturity  alliances  Dr. Shawn Wilson  Economic Metrics  operating models  Social Capital  structural dimension  Stuart Kliman  Vantage Partners 

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Valuable Economic and Financial Metrics to Support Partnering and Revenues, Part II: How Companies Underestimate Alliance Challenges—Especially When Their Operating Model Is the Barrier

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, October 6, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Alliance management workers and their associated crew members had the opportunity to stock their toolboxes with valuable building instructions at a unique session, “Applying the Latest Alliance Management Research to Your Partnering Practice,” at the ASAP 2016 BioPharma Conference, “New Faces, Unexpected Places in Partnering: The Foresight to Lead, the Foundation to Succeed,” which took place Sept. 7-9 at the Revere Hotel in Boston. The session included a presentation by Stuart Kliman, CA-AM, co-founder of Vantage Partners, on the key findings from Vantage’s 2015 study “Transcending Organizational Barriers—A Cross-Industry View of Alliance Management Trends and Challenges.” The deep dive was part of a two-part presentation that included the findings of Dr. Shawn Wilson, DBA, who introduced an ASAP-commissioned 6th State of Alliance study, “The Economics of Alliances, Social Capital, and Alliance Performance,” which was covered in my previous Part I blog post

“Our findings show that companies are actually doing okay. There aren’t giant failure rates taking place,” observed Stuart Kliman, CA-AM, co-founder of Vantage Partners, during his presentation of Vantage Partners’ latest comprehensive cross-industry study on alliances and alliance management. The 2015 study probes alliance prevalence and success rates through a two-part study methodology that included a 500-respondent survey and practitioner interviews. “ASAP would have been failing if those failure rates hadn’t [improved] over the last several years. Organizations have built up partnering capability, and that has had an impact on success rates.”

Kliman then zeroed in more specifically on the intent of the study: to determine the significance of alliance execution challenges and their consequences; the impact of alliance management maturity on success rates; and potential underlying organizational root causes of alliance execution challenges.

“People still identify alliance execution issues as being the foremost disabler in reaching alliance goals,” he explained of the impetus of the study. “They can identify significant loss of value through poor execution of those issues and spend a lot of time dealing with conflict. Shawn’s iceberg continues to be the underminer of execution.” [Part I of this blog post focuses on Dr. Shawn Wilson’s key findings, which included an “iceberg” analogy of how company issues can be hidden underwater, impacting social capital.]

The purpose of a merger is to eliminate difference, “but alliances are a different ‘berg,” he noted. “Organizations continue to significantly underestimate how challenging they can be. … Internal operating models haven’t evolved in a way consistent with how important alliances are becoming to our strategy.”

Alliance execution was identified in the study as the most frequent cause of alliance failure. Kliman linked that challenge to Wilson’s presentation. “Biopharma companies have internal innovation models, but they don’t spend a lot of time grappling. We actually have organizations involved in partnerships that haven’t evolved over time, so alliance management groups spend a lot of time putting ‘Band-Aids’ on organizations that are regularly undermining execution,” he observed.

He then explained more about the purposes of Vantage’s study:

  • To gain insight into the impact of ineffective management on alliance results
  • Identify new and persistent alliance execution challenges
  • Test hypotheses about the root causes of alliance management challenges

And the key findings of the study…

  • Organizations are increasingly leveraging partnerships to develop relationships for mutual gain, address business challenges, and drive bottom-line results.
  • Some 89 percent of pharma/biopharma respondents consider alliances “very important” or “mission critical.”
  • Some 83 percent of respondents reported having more alliances than five years ago.
  • Some 94 percent of respondents reported effective alliance management substantially increases the likelihood of, or is essential to, successful alliance execution.
  • The respondents reported that 39 percent of alliances fully achieved their objectives, 42 percent partially achieved their objectives, and 19 percent generally failed to achieve their objectives.

When higher maturity and capability grows, there are higher success rates, Kliman concluded. “This is where alliance management groups will lead the way:  One aspect of alliance management groups is to provide direct support to individual alliances and drive the capability. The next big goal is the focus in our second mission: To drive capability with alliances in mind.”

Stay tuned for additional coverage of the session “Applying the Latest Alliance Management Research to Your Partnering Practice,” which will focus on a lively discussion between the presenters and audience participants on how the two studies connect. You can read more on Vantage’s studies by visiting https://www.vantagepartners.com/Articles.aspx

Tags:  6th State of Alliance  alliance execution challenges  alliance execution issues  Alliance Management  alliance prevalence  alliances  biopharma  Dr. Shawn Wilson  management  Stuart Kliman  success rates  Vantage Partners 

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