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Here’s to Another Alliance Launch

Posted By Michael J. Burke, Thursday, October 31, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Alliances win—and the profession of alliance management advances—when we partner together to meet the challenges ahead.

     In this “best of the past” issue of Strategic Alliance Quarterly, we’re actually embarking at the same time on a new voyage into the future. So I thought it would be a good idea to introduce—or reintroduce—myself to ASAP members and readers.

     It’s been my good fortune recently to be named editor in chief of this magazine and senior editorial consultant to ASAP. Some of you might remember me from my time editing and writing for what was then Strategic Alliance Magazine from its first issue in Q2 2011 until early 2014. I was also involved in editing the 2013 ASAP Handbook of Alliance Management: A Practitioner’s Guide, supporting the editorial team so skillfully led by Norma Watenpaugh, Ard-Pieter de Man, Dave Luvison, and others.

     My experience has largely been in the realms of writing and editing—copyediting, proofreading, and production editing for book publishers; and writing for and serving as editor or managing editor of a couple of quarterly magazines and one weekly newspaper. 

     Late last year I was thrilled to be asked to work with ASAP once again and write two (so far) updates to the Handbook: a supplement on IT partnering (completed) and another on biopharma alliances (in progress). Throughout the process of interviewing ASAP members and other alliance leaders for these supplements over the last few months, I was struck time and again by how knowledgeable, insightful, and far-seeing the members of this community are.

     These senior executives, consultants, researchers, and analysts drove home for me a number of important points. One is that alliance professionals need to transition from being merely “managers” who do what they’re told to leading as big-picture strategic visionaries who take an entrepreneurial view of partnering as they guide their alliances to fruition. Another is that they need to take responsibility for their own careers and take charge of their collaborations, working in multiple directions at once to educate and align senior leaders, get stakeholder buy-in, and achieve a sense of trust with partners, among other mission-critical activities.

     This is certainly easier said than done, and as one alliance leader told me, alliance managers typically end up “wearing many hats on one head,” accountable to people above and below them—not to mention laterally, in diverse functional areas—in their organization, as well as to their counterparts at partner companies.

In addition, these already busy, time-constrained folks somehow need to “see around corners” in their partnerships, their company, and their industry in order to know what’s coming next and help decide how their organizations—and their partnering strategies—will need to adjust, pivot, or even about-face to meet the challenges. This is especially true in the fast-moving world of technology partnering, but it applies as well to biopharma and practically any other sector you can name.

     As one IT industry analyst put it: “The whole world has blown up, and now it’s landing and settling. The head of alliances will be the most important person in any company in the next ten years. It’s going to create winners and losers, and complete disruption. But alliances win!”

     All the more reason for today’s companies to have not just an alliance management function, but a partnering strategy. More to the point, any corporate strategic vision should include partnering and alliances as part of the way business gets done, as a key route to competitive success in this age of ecosystems, complex supply chains, new markets, and ever more volatile conditions. The people and companies that can get that strategy nailed down and take it to market will be the most successful in a time of disruption.

     That, of course, is where ASAP comes in, drawing on the collective wisdom of its members in order to lead, educate, and set the agenda for the profession. I’m incredibly pleased to once more be partnering with ASAP in this endeavor, and as we launch our alliance, I invite you to be a part of it. Contact me anytime with article ideas and submissions, suggestions for blog posts or other content, and questions or comments about what we’re doing. And if you see me at BioPharma in Boston, the European Alliance Summit in Amsterdam, or next year’s Global Alliance Summit in Tampa, come up and say hello!

Michael J. Burke is editor in chief of Strategic Alliance Quarterly and senior editorial consultant to ASAP. He can be reached at mburke@strategic-alliances.org.

Tags:  alliance management advances  Alliances  Ard-Pieter de Man  big-picture strategic visionaries  BioPharma Conference  challenges ahead European Alliance Summit  Dave Luvison  Global Alliance Summit  IT industry  Norma Watenpaugh  partner  partnering strategy  profession  Strategic Alliance Quarterly 

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Partnering and Digital Transformation, Part Two: A Preview of the June 7 ASAP Tech Partner Forum with Erna Arnesen, CSAP

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Tuesday, June 6, 2017

I’m back for Part Two of ASAP Media’s conversation with Erna Arnesen, CSAP, whom you can talk to yourself if you’re attending the Wednesday, June 7, 2017, ASAP Tech Partner Forum. Erna is a well-known and widely respected figure not just within ASAP but also in the high-tech community, where she’s been recognized as one of “Silicon Valley’s Women of Influence” by the Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal. Erna currently serves as chief channel and alliance officer at ZL Technologies and has been working with a team of fellow ASAP Silicon Valley Chapter leaders to launch the ASAP Tech Partner Forum, which is focused on how to “collaborate at the speed of digital transformation” and hosted by gaming processor board maker NVIDIA at its corporate HQ in Santa Clara, Calif.

Erna also is the facilitator of a pivotal panel discussion on “Strategies You Need to Partner Everywhere,” where she will be joined onstage by Steen Graham, general manager, IoT ecosystem/channels, Internet of Things Group, Intel; Maria Olson, VP of global and strategic alliances at NetApp; and Andres Sintes, Cisco’s global senior director, partner GTM, digital transformation & IoT. We ended Part One http://www.strategic-alliances.org/blogpost/1143942/277657/Partnering-and-Digital-Transformation-A-Preview-of-the-June-7-ASAP-Tech-Partner-Forum-with-Erna-Arnesen-CSAP of this article in the middle of Erna describing what she plans to discuss with her fellow panelists—and why these are urgent topics for technology partnering and strategy executives.

ASAP Media: The event theme focuses squarely on how partnering and strategy must evolve to keep pace with digital transformation. How do you and your panelists intend to approach this topic?

As high-tech companies work to evolve and transform the way both they and their customers do business, partnering strategy is more complex. It’s complicated because you need to work with more and more partners doing bits and pieces of the total solution. While the technology connections are often highly automated, the collaboration often is manual. So we’re trying to manage the partnerships of complex technologies, many things in business are being digitally transformed, but our ability to work with partners isn’t that developed yet. Maria Olson of NetApp will talk about that—how even with her largest alliance partners, like Cisco, a lot of the communication, such as exchanging information, sharing leads, and so on are not always being handled with sophisticated technologies.

Andres Sintes of Cisco is going to raise some of the critical questions involved when you are focused on the infrastructure behind partnering. How do you connect ecosystems and share tools when you are still using 20th century technologies? Are we the cobbler’s children? Why are we as partners sometimes lacking the technology?

Another, related line of discussion is the process of simplification. As people digitally transform their businesses, they need to figure out how to make the more complex systems simpler from an operational standpoint. Whether you’re involved in two-way or multi-partner collaborations, you still need to have this mindset.

From a strategy standpoint, what other issues are top-of-mind for your panel—and presumably other strategy, partnering, and channel executives?

Everyone on our panel wanted to talk vertical strategy. Are we moving back, or forward, toward a verticalized set of tools and solutions? We believe that many partners and shared customers do have unique vertical requirements, and all three of my colleagues will give some examples of where they see that effect. We’ll also tie that into the Internet of Things (IoT), where you’re working with partners that often are not even IT providers, but vertical suppliers that evolved into digital strategies forcing them to be more IT centric.

Also we hope to have some discussion about very large, complex digitization like Smart Cities. The technology is advancing to make the Smart Cities vision more feasible. Cisco has been talking about it and developing the vision for 10 years—again, it’s one of the verticals with opportunity.

Another theme is monetization. People throw around digital transformation and integration of IoT, but what’s the real return on investment (ROI)?  What’s the strategy for monetization for you and partners, and what’s the benefit for customers in terms of their ROI?

Our last theme will address the effects of digital transformation on the partnering strategy. What is the impact on the ecosystem of today and tomorrow?

This will be an in-depth, hour-long discussion. In a nutshell, what do your panelists hope participants will take away with them when they return to their jobs?

To partner at scale for digital transformation, companies really have to build out more of the IT infrastructure around their alliance partnerships. They also need to focus on a multi-partner approach, verticalization, and simplification. If I had to summarize the messages they will share, it will be along the lines of those four major elements.  Let’s see how the panel discussion unfolds, though, and what insights are in store for the audience.

Read more in Part One of our Q&A with Erna Arnesen discussing the June 7, 2017, ASAP Tech Partner Forum at http://www.strategic-alliances.org/blogpost/1143942/277657/Partnering-and-Digital-Transformation-A-Preview-of-the-June-7-ASAP-Tech-Partner-Forum-with-Erna-Arnesen-CSAP.  Learn more details about the event program at www.asaptechforum.org.  

Tags:  alliance partnerships  Andres Sintes  channel executives  Cisco  Digital transformation  ecosystem  Intel  Internet of Things (IoT)  IT infrastructure  Maria Olson  monetization  multi-partner collaborations  NetApp  partnering strategy  partnerships  simplification  Smart Cities  Steen Graham 

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2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference Kicks Off with Opening Remarks and Keynote by Berg’s Science and Partnering Leaders

Posted By Cynthia Hanson, Thursday, September 10, 2015

The 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference, organized around the theme of “Alliance Expertise at the Forefront: Leadership for the Ecosystem,” kicked off Wed., Sept. 9 at the Revere Hotel in Boston, Mass. USA with opening remarks from Michael Leonetti, CSAP, president and CEO of ASAP, and ASAP Board Chairman Christine Carberry, CSAP, senior vice president, quality, technical operations, program and alliance management at FORUM Pharmaceuticals. Their introductions were followed by a keynote address, “Taking on a Silent Killer through Partnership and Big Data,” presented by science and partnering executives from Berg, the Framingham, Mass.-based biotechnology company noted for its analytics-driven approach and innovative partnering strategy.

 

“Treating partnership management like a science … brings bigger success. It has to do with maturity level—companies that have been doing this for a while are more likely to be successful,” said Leonetti, who also emphasized how much the industry and its partnerships are walking the talk of consumer focus. “There’s a lot of talk about customer-centric. We have become refocused on the patient and on making sure the ultimate objective—satisfaction for the patient—is realized.”

 

Carberry offered several suggestions to attendees on how to maximize their learning at the conference as alliance managers entering this new era of orchestrating the life sciences and healthcare ecosystem. Engage with questions to advance the conversation, write down a particular alliance management challenge and find a tool and put it into practice right away, and look at this conference through the eyes of your CEO by asking “How does alliance management fit into your company strategy?” she advised. “No matter where you sit in the company, this is an opportunity to look at how we look at alliances for success.”

 

The opening keynote focused on the use of research platforms based on big data analytics and artificial intelligence algorithms to isolate the root cause of disease and develop personalized treatment options for patients. A short video from Berg founder and Chief Technical Officer Niven Narain was followed by tag-team presentations by Vipula Tailor, CSAP, vice president of business development and alliance management, and Rangaprasad Sarangarajan, senior vice president, chief scientific officer, and co-founder of biosystems at Berg.

 

“We are putting the patient at the center of everything we do,” explained Tailor. “One relationship Berg is highlighting is Project Survival—finding the underlying biology for pancreatic cancer.”

 

Berg’s novel alliance approach involves accumulating and analyzing as much data as possible, primarily by obtaining tissue samples via multiple research and hospital partners. The Project Survival multiparty collaboration is focused on search, discovery, and validation of the first-ever clinical biomarker to diagnose and treat pancreatic cancer. It includes academia and medical institutions such as Harvard and its affiliated hospitals, non-profits, and even entities such as the U.S. Department of Defense.

 

Berg’s scientific strategy is intricately linked to its partnering strategy. The unusual approach has allowed Berg to obtain literally trillions of data points from each tissue sample analyzed in their research. The company’s researchers then use artificial intelligence combined with fundamental biology to make sense of that data.

 “The more tissue samples we get, the smarter the machine gets,” explained Sarangarajan of the alliance-and-research strategy.

 

The day concluded with a reception to meet and greet partners and colleagues and network among the more than 160 biopharma industry partnering professionals in attendance.

Tags:  2014 ASAP BioPharma Conference  artificial intellegency  Berg  Niven Narain  pancreatic cancer  partnering strategy  Project Survival  Rangaprasad Sarangarajan  Vipula Tailor 

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