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Academia and Industry—Creating a Seamless Fit (Part Two)

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Wednesday, June 7, 2017

In the session “Making the Most of Industry-Academia Collaborations,” Mark Coflin, CSAP, head of alliance management at Shire Pharmaceuticals was joined by his colleague, Joe Sypek, PhD, director and external science lead at Shire, as they explored cultural differences between partners in academia and industry working together to find a cure for a disease (see Part I of this blog post) http://www.strategic-alliances.org/blogpost/1143942/277595/Academia-and-Industry-Partnerships-Creating-a-Seamless-Fit--Part-I. Joining them at the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Part­nering Enterprise,” were Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute’s (SBP’s) Paula Norris, PhD, laboratory director and project manager, and Sarah Hudson, PhD, R&D project and operations associate director. The 2017 Summit was held Feb. 28-March 2 in San Diego, Calif.

 

Norris works with principal investigators (PIs) to develop strategic plans for lab operations and policies. On any given project, she might work with four or five partners at a time. Some are smaller start-up companies; others are larger pharmaceutical companies. “In the past, we were grant-centric, but now less so as we work with industries,” she explained. “We explore a partner’s expectations, then go back to our group and discuss what we need to do to make it work. But there’s a language gap with industry. The language in industry is not necessarily the same as ours. So at times, there’s miscommunication. But we’ve gotten better at asking questions about what they mean, especially when we’re not sure [of] what they want or their end goal.”

 

“We’ve spent time working on culture and skill seton education across the institute. For example, what is a hit or lead?” she asked rhetorically. “We need to educate in terms of the basic terms of an alliance partner’s language.”

 

“It’s also important to hone in on expectations. If partners have different expectations, it can cause problems,” Norris stated. “Instead of going off on a tangent, we need to understand the scope and what the goals are and stay focused. Otherwise, we will fail to line up with the milestones. The criteria are only met when the milestone is achieved. “

 

“It can be a challenge if a partner says it’s a ‘no go,’ and we think there is an avenue. We need to remember that the money comes from a partner. If there’s scope creep, we need to draw them back to achieve the milestone. To do that you must have the right people involved and have communicated broadly. You need to define the statement of workmake sure the language is conciseso both parties are clear about what they need to do for the project.”

 

Hudson acknowledged that she and Norris are proud of the innovation and knowledge base of PIs, but to retain the culture, academia must adapt to make industry-academia projects run more smoothly. This only happens if someone is designated as the point person: “It’s quite important for long-term capabilities. A manager makes sure deadlines are met for milestones.”

As the leader of the project manager group at SBP, Hudson’s role is to partner with scientific project leaders in collaborations and initiatives. “These pharmaceutical and biotech companies, as well as alliances with other academic institutions, all have the same flavor but run differently,” Hudson conceded. “So, we do what we must to adapt with projects run by a joint steering committee.”

It’s important not to assume everything is going well, Coflin added.  As in every kind of relationship, the person talking needs to be truthful so that members of the team come to you with issues.  Being a good partner involves communicationsmonthly meetings. “Scientists tend to be reserved so they won’t get scooped. You need to create trust. Labs operate in a silo working by themselves, but to have an effective partnership, you need to work in a collaborative environment,” he said.

 

Scientists need to develop basic alliance management skills, Hudson stressed. “Because we don’t have large infrastructure, it’s important that we impart these skills to scientists so we can be proactive, instead of merely responsive.”

 

Since their groups have been working on alliance skills, both Hudson and Norris have personally seen a difference in greater productivity and efficiency through collaboration as their projects progress.

 

Sypek agrees that things break down when there is a lack of communication. If you are to reach the next level, you need to feel comfortable about talking with partners, he said. “The more you communicate, the better you get. But each project must be treated as individual, as unique, especially if the PI and/or goals are different.”

 

“What you are doing is transformative to an institution, Coflin stated. “Just as we do at Shire, you must prepare your institution to partner. Despite the fact they might be uncomfortable, it’s important to give them tools to be ready to partner. That sort of preparation is how you build capability.”

 

The entire panel then agreed on one axiom: A common goal helps make it work!

Part I of this blog post focuses on Shire Pharmaceutical’s perspective on academic-industry partnerships. http://www.strategic-alliances.org/blogpost/1143942/277595/Academia-and-Industry-Partnerships-Creating-a-Seamless-Fit--Part-I

Tags:  alliance partners  alliance skills  biotech  collaboration  communication  Joe Sypek  Mark Coflin  partner  partner language  partners  Paula Norris  principal investigators  Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute  Sarah Hudson  Shire Pharmaceuticals  transformation 

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Equifax Walks the ASAP Awards Ceremony Red Carpet for an Unusual Alliance Management Program in the Consumer Credit Reporting Business

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Friday, April 28, 2017
Updated: Thursday, April 27, 2017

It’s an opportunity for new perspective on the role of alliance management when an ASAP member forges untrodden turf. That’s what happened with Equifax, Inc., at this year’s annual Alliance Excellence Awards that took place at the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Part­nering Enterprise,” Feb. 28–March 2, at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, San Diego, California. The US consumer credit reporting agency was presented the Alliance Program Excellence Award for its exemplary partnering program in an industry where partnerships and alliance business models are still emerging. The company exceeded expectations with its scalable practices, tools, and methodologies to support successful formation and management of alliance portfolios over time. The program is applicable for multiple alliances, is repeatable, and has led to consistent multi-alliance performance.

The Alliance Program Excellence Award is presented to a single, specific company and its partnering capability, not an alliance. Winners build programs on efficiency, creativity, and an integrated suite of tools, processes, professional development/alliance professional certification, and other elements. I spoke with Joy Wilder Lybeer, senior vice president, enterprise alliances and insurance, about the changes that have occurred as Equifax, Inc. integrated the progressive program into the company structure.

What prompted you to look into partnering in an industry where you don’t see it often?
Equifax is well over 100 years old with a rich history and great success as a traditionaland perhaps some may have said“stodgy old credit reporting agency.” Today, Equifax finds itself right in the middle of the fin-tech industry, and of course, data management is one of our key competencies that will only become more significant to our business. One of our company’s core values is growth through innovation, and we recognize that partnering is vitally important to this value. The most successful companies realize that innovation is at its best when companies are open to great ideas regardless of the source, and are able to come together with others and identify points of joint value where respective capabilities form the perfect puzzle that drives new value for a particular industry or customer segment.

In what areas has the partnering program impacted Equifax to improve efficiency, revenues, innovation, etc.?
Partnering with others to extend distribution, connectivity, and innovation are the core components of alliance management at Equifax.

How has the program improved innovation?
When we come together with other firms for the purpose of innovation, we are able to leverage the partners’ intimacy with the end user and their core capabilities that we may not share. For example, by combining the data assets of our firm with another, along with the analytic capabilities and brand of a third firm, we created a new insight that helps lenders extend credit to more consumers due to the use of alternative data.

How has the program improved distribution?
Many of our partners distribute Equifax solutions, data, and insights on our behalf.  We are able to leverage the sales forces and distribution mechanisms of others in a very efficient way.

How has the program influenced the organizational culture?
The culture of Equifax is evolving to appreciate the benefits of working with and through third parties to accelerate innovation and growth. Working with a third party is now seen as a viable mechanism of growth, not a last resort.

What is your relationship with ASAP?

We are relatively new members of ASAP.  Three ASAP membersVantage Partners, Alliancesphere, and The Rhythm of Businessare three experts in this space who have been integral to shepherding our journey.

Tags:  allainces  consumer reporting  enterprise alliances  Equifax  Joy Wilder Lybeer  key competencies  partnering  partnering programs  partners 

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NetApp’s Trackable System Garners Best Practice Accolades at ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards Ceremony: A Q&A with Ron Long, CSAP

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, April 3, 2017
Updated: Friday, March 31, 2017

Finding new ways to implement alliance management tools and processes is valuable for the entire ASAP community because it sets a new standard for best practiceswhether in the area of measurement, communications, conflict resolution, training, or other applications. This year the Innovative Best Alliance Practice Award was presented to NetApp at the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Part­nering Enterprise,” Feb. 28–March 2, at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, San Diego, California. This award highlights how NetApp has strived for exemplary partnering tools and practices. While many companies still try to manage partnering processes through spreadsheets, NetApp invested in technology and governance with stringent trackable processes that produce measurable results for its alliance co-selling program. The program assists NetApp and partner representatives proactively involved in account mapping, account planning, and pipeline management in the most difficult aspects of go-to-market alliances. The system also provides detailed reports on joint co-selling activities. I spoke with Ron Long, alliance director, who explained the progressive change undertaken that now acts as a valuable model for other companies tracking multi-alliance details.

What challenge were you problem-solving?
We were problem-solving the lack of ability to effectively manage and measure multi-alliance sales engagements. The challenge had to do with multiple partners pursing the same sale and having an impact when closing the deal.  The question was, “How does a system that is originated toward single-product sales measure revenue across several different companies?” We also wanted to improve the ability of teams to collaborate across multiple companies.

Describe some of the benefits of the new trackable system?
We were able to track investments and results, and that resulted in executive alliance growth. We also were able to track results for paying out commissions to salespeople. It was the impetus for growth and investment. When we could track those alliance partners, we had tangible data we could take to management and ask for investments for growth. Revenues have clearly improved through measurement and collaboration. We also use the system to set up sales pursuits to get partners to collaborate. This type of a problem is across multiple alliances, not just technology. Because it’s a problem that exists across multiple industries, it’s applicable outside the tech industry.

How did the new system evolve?
Two years ago, we started with some self-design, but we modified the sales tracking systems already in place with cloud technology, such as Salesforce.com. It’s adaptable because it’s a cloud-based service, and you can link in different information sources in the cloud. It’s easier to link that in than to do an in-house modification system. For governance, we do quarterly APRs, and each of the alliance leads added tracking of their progress, pipeline, revenue, investments, and training to ensure that what we’re doing plan-wise meets with results.

What ASAP tools and practices were useful when designing the system?
The greatest benefit came from ASAP Summit sessions that had to do with the overall management of multi-alliances. Also, we used several ASAP best practices as guideposts.

Tags:  alliance management  Alliance Managers  collaboration  governance  innovation  Innovative Best Alliance Practice Award  multi-alliances  multiple alliances  NetApp  partners  Ron Long 

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On the Cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, How Agile is Your Alliance?

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Updated: Monday, February 27, 2017

Being brittle during a time of industry change can break a fragile allianceand even a business. Agility is key to surviving disruption, especially when a major shift is taking place to a new industrial age. Find out how your company can adapt and weather the change at the session “Agile Alliances: Catalyst for the Next Industrial Age,” as part of the 2017 Global Alliance Summit, “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Part­nering Enterprise,” held Feb. 28-March 2 at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, San Diego, Calif. USA. The session will be moderated by Ann E. Trampas, CSAP, of the University of Illinois—Chicago, with panelists Anthony DeSpirito, CSAP, Schneider Electrics; Gaye Clemson, Globalinkage Consulting; Michael Young, Klick Health; Philip Sack, CSAP, Asia Collaborative Business Community. Sack provided these insights into the session during a recent interview.

How should companies prepare for the fourth industrial revolution with the increase in multi-partnering?

If we accept that the external drivers of global change are going to continue challenging organizationsslow economic growth, digital disruption, globalization, geopolitical uncertainty, speed of change, new nimble competitors, etc.then there is great pressure on organizations to become more agile, innovate, and continually adapt and change. However, this requires additional strategic thinking from previous approaches of value-chain efficiencies, market regulations (barriers to entry), improving costs management, and competitive positioning (differentiation). Success now requires greater thinking about how to continue driving new innovations, customer centricity (creating value), enhancing collaboration (external, internal), and new or adjacent market positions while simultaneously improving performance. That is no mean feat!

Why is it essential for partnerships to become more agilefaster, lighter, more flexible?

There is an increasing appetite for organizations to engage in more strategic collaboration and alliance partnerships, in part driven by the global changes affecting many organizations. Managed effectively, with appropriate support and investment, these relationships assist organizations to enhance their agility, market responsiveness, and new innovation efforts. Many organizations are looking at their strategic partners and networks of partners as a faster way of achieving these objectives rather than typical M&A (buying), or organic internal development (building). This “need to speed” implies that new collaborations and alliances focus on quickly assembling and disassembling around customer/market requirements, delivering rapid prototyping and development capabilities, and operating comfortably within complex and ambiguous situations.

How can alliance managers make their collaborations more agile and successful?

A good place to start would be to review existing collaborations and strategic alliances and how they support achieving these objectives, i.e., new innovations, co-creation capability, improving customer centricity, new products and service solutions, and incremental go-to-market approaches. This open dialogue provides an opportunity to review the original focus and strategic intent of the alliance, what is now required, and where the next evolution of the relationship needs to take place. However creating new alliance relationships that support these new strategic imperatives will involve taking a slightly different approach. Given that these strategic imperatives address significant challenges facing the organization, a firm-wide approach is required for success. The alliance management function has a natural orientation towards strategy, firm-wide thinking, facilitation, collaboration, and ecosystem orchestration. Hence, it should be in the perfect position to lead efforts to create cross-functional teams that would focus on creating, supporting, and delivering to these imperatives. These teams would include members from executive, strategy, research and development, marketing, and human resources and have a strong focus on entrepreneurial action and creation—in effect, a start-up way of thinking within the organization.

 
Is there anything specific to Asia that you think readers might want to know to improve their alliances with Asian companies?

Similar large-scale issues and challenges are being addressed by organizations across Asia as they are worldwide. Engaging within this area is quite exciting and challenging and should be done in a considered and measured approach. There certainly is a strong emphasis on relationships, a natural entrepreneurial spirit, and orientation to deal making. This requires addressing opportunities and making alliances aware of the various local and cultural contexts. This often takes quite some time to evolve. The key message is to do some research, find some local support, and be patient.

Tags:  alliance  alliance partnerships  Ann E. Trampas  Anthony DeSpirito  collaborations  cross-functional teams  cultural  ecosystem orchestration  Gaye Clemson  innovation  Michael Young  network  partners  Philip Sack 

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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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