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‘Design in Pencil’ as You Integrate Change into the Design Thinking Process (Part Three): How Alliance Teams Build an Experience Map, Grapple with Challenges, and Iterate

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Monday, October 3, 2016
Updated: Friday, September 30, 2016

As you work through the design thinking process and apply it to your partnerships, you are building techniques to reach a decision, and you are learning to work together. With an alliance team and two core partners, you can get at an aligned recommendation or proposal. The ideal is to brainstorm and map out the most efficient way partners can get to the most effective process to come to a proposal. Then bring the partners together and arrive at a decision. Instead of “You have your way and I have mine,” ask “What is the alliance way?”

Now participants in the “Using Design Thinking to Drive Speed, Innovation, and Alignment in Partnering” workshop are exploring how to build an experience map. At this point in the 90-minute interactive session at the Sept. 7-9, 2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference in Boston, ASAP board member Jan Twombly, CSAP, and her partner at The Rhythm of Business, Bentley University professor Jeff Shuman, Ph.D., CSAP, are leading breakout groups through the process, advising executives to:

  • Step back and focus on empathic needs using their emotional intelligence.
  • Define what the empathic needs are for the co-diagnostic partner.
  • Report back to the larger project team—scientists, governance bodies, and other stakeholders.
  • Brainstorm with the larger group in mind.
  • Accelerate the delivery process, and eliminate elements can slow the process down.
  • Separate decision making into a core group for brainstorming and a companion diagnostics partners group.
  • Question if either party has experience. If both or neither have experience, then negotiate.

It’s critically important for alliance managers to drive the process and ensure it’s actually happening. Establish a collaboration leadership team; compare the companions in a diagnostic space and find companion diagnostic partners. Define the objective of the proposal and components. Both parties should come up with a short list of partners. There should be a joint evaluation process before asking for project approval. Get feedback, and redesign the prototype loop. Bring leaders and managers together to do this. Obtain a joint alliance management agreement on a new design. Relaunch the collaboration, implement from both partners, and plan for a joint development.

  • Two groups should come together and define a shared problem or goal.
  • Identify the problems.
  • Bring back to the company collective and individual brainstorming and group feedback.
  • Finalize and propose to the steering committee.

Approach Issues with Partners—and Build Iteration into the Process

Implementation

There is a skill to defining assumptions that may turn out to be true, or not true. Engage people, and roll it out to create a social charter, and stick to it. When looking at the final piece—look to iterate. You may find you didn’t get the question right, or you may discover you didn’t understand and so-and-so needed to be brought into the process. Question: Are you delivering the design experience? Make sure you find measures that define it. Prior to the proposal being presented to governance, make sure everyone has bought in.

As part of the workshop, groups were formed and asked to identify three assumptions inherent in the process they designed. Additionally, they were asked to assess the following: What is the most critical assumption you have made, and if it’s wrong, what is the impact? 

Group responses:

  • People won’t be candid or transparent or participate in individual conversations.
  • The development team is vetting the plan properly, and it was checked for joint alignment.
  • Both teams want to work jointly and collaborate. Or do they think they know best?  
  • They assume the other company has experience, but they may not have the experience or data needed.
  • In the list of shared attributes, make sure the internal list matches up. If not, it won’t pass governance.
  • You don’t need hard data numbers to prove or disprove the assumption.

Final thoughts

ID assumptions.  Use iteration. Move forward and focus on the intended outcome.  Start the intended experience, and map backwards. All stakeholders must get their needs satisfied; if not, they will stick out their foot and stop the process. Give power to partners if you wish to engage in a productive and collaborative process.

Tags:  alliance managers  alliance teams  Bentley University  biopharma  collaboration  decision making  design thinking  healthcare  Jan Twombly  Jeff Shuman  leadership team  non-asset based alliances  partnering  partners  The Rhythm of Business 

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Maximizing the Alliance Management and C-Suite Relationship Through the Eyes of Biopharma Conference Plenary Speaker Stéphane Thiroloix

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, August 1, 2016
Updated: Sunday, July 31, 2016

Stéphane Thiroloix describes himself as a “reasonable generalist,” having been involved with partnering in multiple waysfrom business development, general management, marketing, and sales to R&D and legal affairs. The CEO at Mayoly Spindler, an emerging family-owned, independent French company with a focus on gastroenterology and dermocosmetics, will present a plenary talk on The View from the C-Suite: Partnering and Alliances Today and Tomorrow,” Thursday morning, Sept. 8, during the 2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference. This year’s conference, “New Faces, Unexpected Places in Partnering: The Foresight to Lead, the Foundation to Succeed,” will be held Sept. 7-9 at the Revere Hotel in Boston. Mayoly Spindler’s revenue originates half in France and half abroad through activities in over 50 countries, mostly via local partnerships. The company’s portfolio strategy is based almost exclusively on partnering. Thiroloix provided this preview of his topic on how alliance management functions can best be viewed and leveraged by company senior leadership.

What are some of the challenges when coordinating the alliance management and C-Suite relationships?
The first challenge is simply understanding the role of alliance management. When you have skilled and proactive alliance managers, it does not take long for the C-Suite to appreciate their work and turn to them constantly. Another challenge is keeping the alliance manager in play at all times, even when a partner is tempted to take a more direct CEO-to-CEO route. While that’s a perfectly legitimate move, it’s then the CEO's responsibility to keep the alliance manager in play, even if it’s transiently unofficial. One interesting challenge is accepting contradictions from the alliance manager as they stand for partner interests. It’s easy to state and posture that the alliance manager is our partner's ambassador in our ExCom [executive committee], but when they make the partner's case in a difficult decision, we may feel a little strain as we remind ourselves that we hired them to do so and should pay attention.

Among your proposed discussion topics is the importance of establishing an alliance management function and its value to the senior executive team. Why has this become increasingly important in the new ecosystem?
The pharma model has become tremendously fragmented. When I started my professional life, large pharma companies were the norm, and they were fully integrated—from fundamental research to sales. Partnerships were the exception rather than the norm, and we relied mostly on our internal dynamics to succeed. Today, not only is there a constellation of small, ultra-specialized players, but even the large pharma players outsource vast quantities of strategic activities, including entire components of their R&D, most of their manufacturing, and frequently their commercial activity. As a result, the way we work today is intrinsically alliance-based. Additionally, it’s not about whether you're big or small. If you are a big, dominant player, there is high risk that you will be overpowering in your partnerships. Partners used to accept this because partnering with big pharma was the grail. That’s no longer the case, so big players need alliance management to maintain a healthy balance in their dealings with smaller players who have a variety of other doors to knock on. If you are a small player, you must be agile, humble, and alliance-focused in order to quickly build a strong partnering track record.

Describe some effective strategies partnering professionals can use to support the C-Suite?
A straight answer may be a little simplistic. The company (and its C-Suite), its partners and the alliance manager themselves, have a specific profile and style that may call for different approaches. The C-Suite requires a difficult balance between boring them with systematic activity reporting and appearing to withhold knowledge that provides an edge—which is unbearable to the C-Suite. What I've seen work well is to use the pace of partnership governance: at ExCom meetings before key alliance governance moments, provide relevant updates and gather C-Suite insight. That way you will not be covering all topics all the time. Make sure you share partner milestones to provide the C-Suite with opportunities to react in a constructive manner. If a partner cleared an FDA hurdle or raised capital, some C-Suite members may want to send a congratulatory note—but if you don’t point it out, they might miss the occasion. The best way to work the C-Suite is unquestionably to work more with their teams than with them. Similarly, make sure the C-Suite's personal assistants know where to find alliance reports, and develop flexibility and opportunities for them to connect with bosses whenever they need to deal with the alliance. Be ready to explain the same things again and again. And never, ever surprise them.

Tags:  alliance management  alliances  C-Suite  ecosystem  FDA  governance  Mayoly Spindler  partners  partnership  Stéphane Thiroloix 

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Unaligned Is the New Black in Partners

Posted By Larry Walsh, CEO and Chief Analyst of The 2112 Group., Monday, August 1, 2016
Updated: Sunday, July 31, 2016

More solution providers and resellers are forgoing vendor loyalty in favor of independence based on their own technical prowess and business savvy. What they lack in loyalty, they make up for in influence.

Defined by autonomy, these are the partners that align with vendors, but keep loyalty out of the mix. It’s not that they don’t value loyalty, or that they deem vendors untrustworthy. It’s just that they feel more comfortable flying solo. On the flip side, some of these partners won’t align themselves with any vendor at all.

Aligned partners without loyalty are putting their capabilities and services first. They see their value and viability in their intrinsic technology skills, domain expertise, and problem-solving capabilities. They’ve grown tired of the sales treadmill in which they earn pennies on the dollar for shilling products, and still have to perform services to make money. Maintaining vendor relationships comes with a partnership tax – the need to comply with expensive and distracting training, certification, and performance requirements. Instead, they’re letting the volume resellers – CDW, SHI, and Insight, for example – sell the product, and then they clean up by delivering the services.

Another facet of today’s vendor community that’s fueling independence in the technology channel is turmoil. As vendors go through difficult transitions – evolving business models, disruptive competition, and so forth – that chaos trickles down to the partner level. Some would rather sit and observe than get tossed into the storm.

Read the full 2112 Group article, Unaligned Is the New Black in Partners

ASAP Corporate Member, EPPP and guest blogger, Larry Walsh is CEO and chief analyst of The 2112 Group.

Tags:  Larry Walsh  partners  solution providers  technology channel  The 2112 Group  vendors 

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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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Relationships: Currency of the Channel

Posted By Diana L. Mirakaj | President and Chief Operating Officer of The 2112 Group, Thursday, April 28, 2016

Of all the things the channel brings to technology vendors’ table, including market reach and vertical expertise, among them, perhaps the most valuable is partners' longstanding relationships with end-user customers. 

Built on trust and knowledge, those relationships are worth their weight in gold. If there's one person on a vendor's team who can safeguard all parties involved receive maximum benefit throughout the sales process, it's the channel account manager (CAM). As the chief liaison between a vendor and its channel partners, a CAM can nurture and enable solution providers, help them gain clarity on the value proposition of a vendor's product or service and guide them in areas like marketing, where they may not be as strong as they would like. 

To bring out the best in partners and maximize their ability to leverage customer relationships, vendors and their CAMs should set measurable goals; provide constant feedback and review partner performance and channel-program reward structures periodically. 

Read the full 2112 Group article, Relationships: Currency of the Channel.

ASAP Corporate Member, EPPP and guest blogger, Diana L. Mirakaj is president and chief operating officer of The 2112 Group.

Tags:  best practices  CAM  Channel  channel business  customer relationships  Diana L. Mirakaj  end-user customers  IT Channel  partners  solution providers  The 2112 Group  vendors 

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