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‘If You Are Looking for Answers, You Are in the Wrong Session’: Finding the Value of IoT in the Brave New World of Mega-Multi-Partnering

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, June 27, 2016

Solving the challenge of partnering in the Internet of Things has become a major puzzle for even the most skilled alliance executives. It’s a complex Rubik’s Cube of possibilities with multiple cross-industry, interlinking combinations. 

Take, for example, Joan Meltzer, CSAP, IBM alliance executive for Twitter and former smarter cities go-to-market leader at IBM Analytics, and a 36-year veteran at IBM Corp.; Mary Beth Hall, director of product development for IoT at Verizon, where she has worked for the past 20 years; Tony DeSpirto, CSAP, managing director of strategic accounts at Schneider Electric.  These seasoned alliance leaders manipulated the Rubik’s Cube in a panel discussion moderated by Jan Twombly, CSAP, president of The Rhythm of Business, entitled “Capturing the Value of IoT” at the March 1-4 2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit“Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland. Here are some snippets from their provocative conversation: 

Joan: If you are looking for answers, you are in the wrong session. We are all good at managing our jobs one-on-one. If there is any area that companies can’t do it alone, it’s IoT. It’s very complex. We still need the discipline of alliance management and strategy, and we still need to think value creation and capture to put out the whole value chain—it’s how the partners are going to make money. 

Tony: Schneider Electric is focused on the industrial IoT. We are in the infrastructure of everything. What we are struggling with now is how do we make money in IoT? We see value in data, but it needs to be processed through analytics. How to value the partners you have is part of the equation.  

Mary Beth: Verizon has been a Telecom business for the last 20 years and is now shifting to a technology company. I am managing our ThingSpace platform [designed to simplify the development and launch of IoT applications]. How many people have an Apple watch or app for phone tracking health? That’s one example of how Verizon is making money. Think about a smart sneaker, a sensor in a sneaker that tracks cadence and whether you are hydrated. How do we proliferate that? Is Nike willing to allow us to put partners in their ecosystem that were competitors? Fitbit and MyFitnessPal are allowing potential competitors into that space. We as thought leaders in that space need to adapt to that. How do we do that? There’s not one player at the table any more, there are six or seven, and that is really changing the way we market things. 

Tony: We in this room are unencumbered by that to a certain degree. As alliance managers, we have an ability and obligation to seek out these new business models. Thinking of how we will make money in two or ten years, the ideas are not going to come from executive management. They are going to come from peers in the room. You need to say “yes,” and figure out how it will be done. For most executives, it’s an uncomfortable thing to turn that “yes” into a repeatable model. 

Joan: It’s like sitting at a table with an elevator and escalator company, and working with them together. The elevator manufacturer is about maintenance. With IoT, the elevator can connect with the escalator, and that’s a new revenue stream. The functionality evolves into our revenue stream. 

Mary Beth: We need to put it together for the customer. That is some of the challenge we have seen at Verizon. Partners and customers require treading on new ground for partnership models with the unique needs of customers in mind. For example, there is a winery on the West Coast. They need to be able to fertilize the ground. We are helping provide data for the soil. It’s not a hard thing for us as technologists, but it is for farmers who are not used to be in that data space. And they can in turn sell it to other wineries. 

Tony: How many of your companies have IoT initiatives? Our senior leadership is thinking about how they can make their numbers today, so it’s all the more incumbent upon us to blaze that trail and show them where that value is. The fundamentals of partnering don’t change. It’s still basic blocking and tackling. The people you are talking with might change, and the executive management of a company might need more partnering intelligence. 

Mary Beth: In terms of driving change at Verizon, I am in the product role. When the product was fully ready for customers, we would launch. Now we can’t do that. We’re moving from a command-and-control leadership to a more servant leadership. I’m in the product and new business group, and you’re going to see some cool stuff coming out of Verizon that you haven’t seen before.  

Joan: You need to figure out the whole chain to deliver the solution. We started to see that in the cloud. But there is a gap in the solution where we don’t always have access to the marketplace. 

Mary Beth: Sometimes it’s about looking at a new market in a new way. Putting things together in new ways to get leadership to buy into it. Show them a little bit of what it looks like. 

Jan: The fundamentals of partnering are the same, but how do you keep the same with six to seven partners? How do you make sure everyone is getting the value? 

Tony: The concept doesn’t change. I believe that when you try to get six to seven people to agree, it won’t happen. There will always be someone who will win and lose because of the complexity. When things are tough, I go back to the fundamentals, like let’s get together at least once a quarter. 

Mary Beth: We had to break the barrier between legally what we felt we could do and what the market was asking for. We said “We are going to open everything up, we are breaking down barriers.” We put in governance around the partners in that space, and they are partners that are reselling that service. But the complexity in IoT is still there. We are desperately trying to simplify it. We are not there yet. 

Joan: We are all about repeatability, but you have to have assets that are repeatable. With smart cities, we are able to package things up and periscope it. I expect the same thing to happen with IoT. But you may not be able to resell that solution. I hope next year we will be able to talk about repeatability because none of us can afford to be in an on-and-off business. 

Tony: We need to get our leaders out of the comfort zone. That’s what we get paid for. 

Joan: You need a really solid project manager who will require everyone to come together. Ask what’s hot? Healthcare, the automotive industry, airplanes—anything with asset management is very hot. 

Tony: With the industrial portion of manufacturing, the technology on the factory floor is 30 to 40 years old. That’s slowly opening up. There is money to be made in the data that is involved in manufacturing. That is a data rich environment. 

Mary Beth: Simplify the complexities with your partners, be innovative, and finally, don’t be afraid to go after something you think is there. 

Tags:  2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit  alliance executive  Alliance Managers  data rich  IBM  innovative  IoT  Jan Twombly  Joan Meltzer  Mary Beth Hall  partnering  Partners  Schneider Electric  The Rhythm of Business  Tony DeSpirto  Verizon 

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Building Win-Win Partnerships By Challenging and Reordering Your Assumptions

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, May 23, 2016
Updated: Saturday, May 21, 2016

Many organizations struggle with partnership execution because of their flawed assumptions, says Stuart Kliman, CA-AM, partner, alliance practice head at Vantage Partners. They need to replace those limited assumptions with more progressive ones, he emphasized in his session “Winning Through Partnering” at the March 1-4 2016 Global Alliance Summit“Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland. 

“If you think about how organizations are built, where they come from, organizations—even big old ones—start with the founders’ strategic assumptions of how you win. Those assumptions permeate the building of the organization. The strategic assumption of how you win drives your focus, leadership, structure, incentives, tools, skills, and how you ask people to think.  All of this leads to results,” added the Harvard University faculty member, who has led international conflict resolution through CMG (now part of Mercy Corps), and whose session is a spin-off from the Harvard Negotiation Project. Kliman helps clients maximize the value from partnerships through effective conflict management, negotiation, and relationship management

“You can’t bolt an alliance onto an organization that is not built for partnering—trying to execute partnerships in a world that has not been built for partnership execution,” he said. “We see more and more organizations coming to us to solve that problem.” 

He then highlighted the difference between organizations designed to succeed at external partnering and those that are not. “How do you know that an organization has been built with partnering at its core? And how do you create an organization that is built for partnering versus individual alliances?” he asked. Partnering success depends on these critical components, he pointed out: 

  • Organization is not self-centric
  • Mission statement is partner-oriented
  • Executives and senior leadership looks to alliance management in their options
  • Company has a reputation as a partner of choice
  • Website shows partnering and partnering solutions
  • Leadership does not cascade down
  • Completely flexible
  • Right mix of skills and employees doing the partnering
  • Core competencies training

Organizations should analyze the difference between a progressive partnering stance and one with poor assumptions, he told the audience. “You start with an assumption, and you build on that, and then you break it down into component parts,” he instructed. “You can then map how that strategic assumption drives culture, leadership, focus, organizational structure, incentives, processes and tools, mindset, and skills,” he said, while showing a complex deck slide. 

These lead to good or flawed behaviors, such as the attitude “make them come to us” or the de-prioritization of partner meetings, which all lead to bad results, he added.

“You are saying on the one hand that your goal is to be a world-class partnering organization, but your language says something else.” 

While showing a deck slide on a vicious cycle that threatens partnering success, he provided an example of a CEO who was calling the company partners “gap fillers.” The beginning and ending of the cycle was “We will win through out own expertise.” 

When designing the internal organization, ask these questions: “How is this going to work in alliances? How do we structure this to be externally facing or centric?” he advised. “Without collaboration and negotiation skills, we are likely to fail. By comparison, when we start building with creativity and clear communication, and we launch partnerships with a focus on effective execution, we get this,” he said, flashing a slide with a reversal of the problematic cycle to a virtuous one that ends with “Our company is successful given the value and competitive edge that we get from partnering—partners bring their best opportunities to us.” 

“If you think of the mission of the typical alliance organization, there is a mission statement that says ‘Put alliance managers on alliances to ensure individual alliance support.’ The second aspect of the mission is to ensure that the company is the best possible partnering organization it can be and ensure that it’s a partner of choice. Far too often, we in alliance management have not focused in on the second aspect of the mission,” he concluded. “We see this more and more—a key role for alliance management is embedding the partnering capability deep into the organization—because it’s in your mission statement.” 

Tags:  alliance  conflict management  culture  incentives  leadership  negotiation  organizational structure  partnering  partnership execution  relationship management  Stu Kliman  Vantage Partners 

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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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Engaging Peer-to-Peer Roundtable Sessions Become Popular New Central Feature at ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson & Ana Brown, Monday, March 14, 2016

Fostering opportunities and tools for peer-to-peer learning is one of ASAP’s goals, and that concept was well-integrated into this year’s ASAP Global Alliance Summit with several popular roundtable sessions. The feedback has been positive so far on the two roundtables, which quickly became an active format for sharing at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Md. 

Following the “ASAP Quick Takes” talks, the first roundtable session provided participants with the choice of 17 valuable, timely topics connected to the broader “ASAP Quick Takes” theme of “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem.” Participants chose between 26 different discussion groups facilitated by thought leaders from ASAP’s membership. Topics ranged from “Strategic Alliance Management across the Enterprise” to “Knowing with Whom to Partner Now” to “Quick Take ‘Hot Takes:’ Seeing Around Corners.” Look for an upcoming blog item on the second engaging roundtable session that took place the following day: “Alliances around the World: Cultural Roundtables,” facilitated by Philip Sack, CSAP, ASAP Asia Collaborative Business Community, and co-presented by Guarino Gentil Jr., CA-AM, Merck-Serono; Subhojit Roye, CSAP, Tradeshift; Andrew Yeomans, CSAP, Merck-Serono. 

I randomly selected a group at the ASAP Quick Take Roundtables led by Donna Peek, CSAP, director, partner enablement & operations, global alliances & channels, SAS on “The First 100 Days of an Alliance” and watched a lively, relevant conversation unfold. Peek, who also is ASAP’s vice-chairman of the executive management board, dynamically led the group, drawing out ideas and fostering engaging conversation as the participants ramped up their communications into active sharing. “The train is already barreling down the track and you are trying to adjust and redefine,” she said, while jotting down a checklist of what an alliance manager should be focused on in the first 100 days that looked something like this: 

  • Identify critical stakeholders
  • Identify executive governance
  • Define frameworks
  • Find good fits for the collaborative team
  • Make sure everything is included that needs to be in the contract
  • Clarify strategy and scope
  • Make alignment part of the term sheet process 

This last point, offered by Ana Brown, project manager, strategic alliances, Citrix, so captured participant attention that we thought her idea worth sharing as an example of how helpful and practical these exchanges can be. Brown offered to write up the idea for a larger audience. 

#Termsheetlove: Bringing Back the Term Sheet
By Ana Brown

The use of a term sheet has been a longstanding precursor to any agreement. With busy times, and changing alliance leaders and teams, sometimes such processes are left behind.

If you find yourself having multiple conversations with your internal stakeholders, all at different times, redlining your partner agreement—sometimes for months. Finding yourself thinking, “Oh my gosh, that call was so long ago I can’t remember what the issues with the agreement were in the first place,” then this recommendation is for you.

Bringing back the term sheet with some easy steps will help you: 

  1. Gain alignment with all your internal stakeholders before going into the agreement process.
  2. Cut the lead-time to fully executed agreement more than half (months for some of us)! 

First, work with your legal team to come up with the best term sheet template (and get buy in from your internal stakeholders that the term sheet will answer most, if not all, of the questions they may have on any potential partner agreement).

Next, complete the term sheet after completing your business plan and receiving buy in from your business unit and partner. Alliance leaders fill out the term sheet (deal exec summary and details) and simultaneously circulate it to the internal stakeholders so that they all know.... (Example of stakeholders include: channel operations, revenue recognition, legal, GEO VPs, etc.—anyone who needs to know the deal is coming.)


Alliance leaders then schedule a kickoff call with stakeholders to review the term sheet, receive stakeholders’ approval to the term sheet (email approval is okay), and are then ready to move the deal to agreement and work with legal to execute.

Ta-da! You just made a bunch of friends by creating internal alignment and cutting the lead time to fully executed agreement in half.

#Termsheetlove - spread it forward :)

Tags:  agreement  alignment  Ana Brown  Andrew Yeomans  ASAP Global Alliance Summit  ASAP Quick Takes  collaborative  Donna Peek  frameworks  governance  Guarino Gentil  leadership  Merck-Serono  partnering  peer-to-peer learning  Philip Sack  scope  stakeholders  strategy  Subhojit Roye  term sheet  Tradeshift 

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Intel’s Jonathan Ballon on Partnering and the Internet of Things: ‘I Don’t Think There’s Ever Been a Better Time to Be an Alliances Professional”

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson & John DeWitt, Wednesday, March 2, 2016

You arrive at work one day to discover the plaque on your door changed overnight from Manager and Entrepreneur to Creator and Visionary. Welcome to the new world of alliance management, where the Internet of Things is injecting radical change into the old job description. That’s the wake-up call Jonathan Ballon brought with this year’s opening keynote address, Partnering: The Connective Tissue of the Internet of Things, on Tuesday afternoon, March 1. This year’s ASAP Global Alliance Summit is being held just outside the US capital, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Md. USA.

Ballon’s presentation exemplified and magnified the Summit theme of “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem.” Describing what he called The IoT for Life, Ballon says the new speed, scope, and scale of partnering will require never-before-seen levels of innovation, creativity, bold experimentation, and the ability to learn quickly, iterate strategies, try new models for value creation, and deliver and capture within new solutions.

“It’s happening now, in real time, so you don’t have the luxury of sitting back and crafting your ideal ecosystem strategy,” Ballon told the rapt audience of several hundred partnering executives.

The IoT is driving change on a massive scale, and offers the potential of improving billions of lives by harnessing data collected from sensors attached to objects and turning this data into problem-solving solutions, says Ballon. This is not coming around the bend, he emphasized; the future has already arrived with remote patient monitoring benefiting patients and providers. Widen the lens, and the potential becomes enormous in areas such as agriculture, security, environmental protection, and more.

Ballon noted that partnering of this type is a profound shift for Intel, traditionally a vertically integrated company. And it’s simply quite difficult to do well, he said. “Personally I’ve been experiencing a lot of challenges around partnering in this new IOT world,” Ballon acknowledged. Specifically, he said, partnering in the rapidly exploding IoT ecosystem is different than traditional partnering in four key ways:

  • Business and partnering models are being created in real time
  • Partners often aren’t the “usual suspects”
  • Partnering is occurring at an exponentially faster speed and scale
  • Experimentation and learning are the focus at this juncture in the development of IoT ecosystems

To be successful in this new IoT ecosystem requires rethinking the role of partnering and making it integral to your business model—and embracing that your role as a partner will vary, even if you are used to being the orchestrator of your ecosystem. 

“Roles you play can change from opportunity to opportunity,” explained. “Some customers expect Intel to step up and be that back to pat. Other times we’re standing behind a systems integrator.” The most important thing, he says, is having “the agility of a school of fish” when you are aligning your ecosystem around the unique demands of each customer.

The Internet of Things is already here, but Ballon noted that many challenges of partnering in the ecosystem remain to be solved—including the fundamental economics of compensating multiple partners (and your sales forces, for that matter). “Sharing in the rewards of your customer value proposition—how do you value, calculate it, and pay for it. When you’re monetizing a service and checks need to go to other parties, I don’t’ think anyone has figured it out yet,” he said.

“One thing is certain: coopetition is the new norm,” Ballon said in describing the complex partnerships that come together around every IoT solution Intel rolls out. “There’s not a single case where there’s a clear line between what we and a partner does. We deal with this every day. The rubber meets road with sales force in the field. It’s a very trick thing and it requires the right compensation models with sales force to support these types of [partnering].”

Generally, Ballon said, expect the unexpected. “Not everything is going to be well programmed from the get go.”

The audience peppered Ballon with questions at the conclusion of his presentation. One executive generated chuckles when he asked, “How much of my partnering role will be automated?”

“Probably not much,” Ballon responded. “I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to be an alliances professional because the opportunity presented before us, the IOT, is showcasing the value of this function. I would bet three years from now the number of people in this room will double.”

Tags:  2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit  alliances  ASAP  Intel  IoT  Jonathan Ballon  partnering  strategy  systems integrator  Visionary 

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