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ASAP New England Chapter Holds Well-Attended, Practical Meeting on Alliance Management Skills and Competencies

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Updated: Monday, February 20, 2017

Neither snowstorm, nor sleet, nor freezing temps can keep Jeffrey Shuman, PhD, CSAP, principal at The Rhythm of Business, from a New England ASAP Chapter meeting. And apparently, it couldn’t keep four other panelists and about 40 attendees from the discussion on “Alliance Management as a ProfessionSkills, Competencies,” at the Charles River Accelerator and Development Lab in Cambridge, Mass., on Jan. 31.  

The panel talked about the basic alliance management foundational skills recognized by recruiters, career paths, adapting to the evolving ecosystem, soft skills that are key to performing the job, and other related topics in a dynamic, one-hour meeting. In addition to Shuman, who moderated the discussion and is also professor of management at Bentley University, the panel members included ASAP’s own President and CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP; Marc Silber, founder and president of Crossover Consulting Group, a life sciences headhunting and recruiting agency; Mark Coflin, CSAP, head of alliance management, corporate planning & program management, Shire; Michelle Gardner, business development executive, cloud service providers, at IBM, who arranged the practical meeting.

The complexity of multi-industry, multi-partner alliances with a global reach has made alliance management training skills increasingly important. “Not everybody needs to be an alliance manager, but it’s our view that everybody increasingly needs to have some alliance management skills because alliance capability needs to extend to the perimeter, to the edge of the organization,” Shuman says. For example, scientists increasingly are working with other scientists in other organizations on tech solutions or drugs, whereas previously, most of the innovation was done internally. “What we see happening is folks in those areas are coming to their alliance folks and asking for advice,” he explains. “More people are interacting in these collaborations, and they really need some understanding of the skills and toolset.”

“Given that the speed, scale, and scope of partnering has increased, companies can’t afford to build an alliance management group that can manage all of the different parts of their business. When partnering with external entities, many people need a better understanding of the skills and tools.”

Among the topics that surfaced from the discussion were:

  • How to progress to an alliance management role from another area of the company
  •  Areas alliance managers are recruited from
  •  The various career paths and roles alliance managers can move into
  • Ecosystems, multi-party networks, hub-and-spoke models, and two-party relationships
  • The differences between being an alliance manager in biopharma/pharma and high tech

The topics likely will resurface in various sessions at the 2017 ASAP 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, California. Some of these topics also appear in a newly released ebook “The Power To Partner Everywhere: Why You Need It, What It Is, How To Build It,” by The Rhythm of Business Principals Jan Twombly, CSAP, Shuman, and Lorin Coles, CSAP, co-founder and CEO of Alliancesphere, LLC. Their two companies joined forces to form the SMART Partnering Alliance.  For a copy of the ebook, go to http://rhythmofbusiness.com/.

Tags:  alliance management  alliance manager  biopharma  career path  ecosystem  high tech  Innovation  Jeff Shuman  Marc Silber  Mark Coflin  Michelle Gardner  multi-industry  multi-partner alliances  partnering  Partnering Enterprise  pharma  Profit  SMART Partnering Alliance  The Rhythm of Business  tools  training skills 

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Two Studies Provide Valuable Economic and Financial Metrics To Support Partnering and Revenues

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, September 14, 2016

ASAP unveiled a landmark alliance management study to a packed room at the Revere Hotel in Boston, a block from the Boston Common, during the recent 2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference, “New Faces, Unexpected Places in Partnering: The Foresight to Lead, the Foundation to Succeed,” which took place Sept. 7-9. The session “Applying the Latest Alliance Management Research to Your Partnering Practice” introduced the 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. The report provides economic and financial metrics based on extensive research and data analysis. "What is so important about this report is that it's the first time alliance management studies have gathered defined economic or financial outcomes as well as provided recommendations for improvement,” pointed out Michael Leonetti, CSAP, CEO of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals, during the session introduction. The session also included a 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.” Part I of this blog focuses on Wilson’s key findings. 

If you attended the ASAP BioPharma Conference last week or in years past, chances are you’re working for a successful company that has great balance and capability sheets, as well as skilled managers supporting company alliances. If you’re only concerned about the visible firm profile, however, you may miss the iceberg below the surface—the more massive structural configurations, norms, meanings, and work systems. Those subsurface dynamics can be swirling with conflict, which is why Dr. Shawn Wilson of Beaulieu Group, one of the world’s largest floorcovering manufacturers, did a deep dive about a year ago with a three-stage study that included qualitative interviews, a pilot study, and quantitative study of social capital. The consultant, published author, and researcher affiliated with Georgia’s Kennesaw State University worked with ASAP to provide new financial and economic ROI analytics that reflect partnering best practices. The study is based on the finding of three distinct dimensions of social capital: structural, cognitive, and relational. 

Social capital is the aggregate informal resources available to an individual, group, or institution that is generated by positive interactions. It effectively facilitates interactions, acting as a catalyst for inter- and intra-organizational transactions. Wilson used the concept of social capital as a tool to explore the tougher dynamics between organizations—and the potential to alleviate organizational problems in transactions and other interactions. 

“Social capital can be a force that pulls firms together or pushes them away. The more those dimensions of social capital push firms away, the longer the bridge needs to become in an alliance,” observed Wilson. “One of the biggest challenges firms have is that they overestimate what spans the bridge.” He then begged the question: “Were we successful because of the unknown factors under the iceberg?” 

The audience was then asked to consider a strong relationship between two people. “That strong relational tie doesn’t mean there will be strong ties when the entire family gets together,” he pointed out.  Now consider the failed alliance between Tesla and Toyota, which started as a friendship between the two CEOs, he continued.  “The mismatch between the two firms was too much for the alliance to bear.” 

The second finding from the study is that “the right kind of experience counts,” he said. The data don’t show that social capital improves when relationships strengthen; when it comes to an alliance executive’s experience, it’s not about the tools brought in. It’s about how to measure up to a firm’s potential partnership through nuance, he added. 

The third finding? Companies with above-average social capital outperformed their peers. The financial measures were much higher when perceptual measures were met, such as satisfaction, the accomplishment of strategic objectives, and stability. 

Watch for Part II of our coverage on “Applying the Latest Alliance Management Research to Your Partnering Practice,” Stuart Kliman’s presentation of Vantage Partner’s study “Transcending Organizational Barriers—A Cross-Industry View of Alliance Management Trends and Challenges.” You can read more about ASAP’s 6th State of Alliances in the Summer 2016 Strategic Alliance Magazine.

Tags:  6th State of Alliance  alliance  alliance management  Beaulieu Group  Dr. Shawn Wilson  economic and financial metrics  economic ROI analytics  Michael Leonetti  partnering best practices  partnerships  perceptual measures  social capital  Stuart Kliman  Tesla  tools  Toyota  Vantage Partners 

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Can Your Partners Dance with the ASAP Stars? Perhaps It’s Time To Consider a 2016 Alliance Excellence Award Submission

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Submissions are being accepted through November 18, 2015 for the 2016 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards to be presented at the ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” March 1-4, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland, USA.  The awards are an opportunity for partners to strut their stuff, display innovative moves, and demonstrate leadership with new models and approaches. They are a way of honoring alliance programs for a range of advances—from social impact to increased revenue to advancements in the profession.

 

Corporations, mid-sized enterprises, start-ups, and public-private initiatives are welcome to submit in the following categories

 

The Individual Alliance Excellence Award is given to a company that has excelled in planning, implementation, and results for a single alliance. The alliance may be between two companies or multiple organizations in the category of small-to-midsize company alliance and/or emerging alliance. This year’s winners were National Grid and Earth Networks for their innovative alliance that brought weather monitoring stations and programs to communities and public school STEM programs in New England.

 

The Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility Award is for partnerships that make a profound, measurable, and positive social impact. The principal objective of the alliance is social impact, not profit—although profit, especially if used to fund program expansion, is not discouraged. The Dow Chemical Company and The Nature Conservancy received the award this year for a partnership that created a sustainability model that can be used by corporations integrating the value of nature into business decisions. 

 

The Innovative Best Alliance Practice Award is presented to a company using new, individual alliance management tools or processes that have an immediate and powerful impact on the organization and/or discipline of alliance management. These tools or processes are not comprehensive alliance programs but additions to existing alliance practice that address specific elements of alliance management, such as measurement, training, conflict resolution, general communication across-the-partner ecosystem, or similar facets of the discipline. Philips won the award for an innovative two-step approach to create a joint brand identity for a partnership. Janssen—Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson received honorable mention.

 

The Alliance Program Excellence Award is given to organizations that exceed expectations by consistently implementing and managing alliance portfolios and demonstrating consistent success of those alliances over time. Winners build programs on creativity, efficiency, an integrated suite of processes, tools, professional development/alliance professional certification, and other elements. Takeda Pharmaceuticals received the award for creation of its progressive Center of Excellence (COE). Bayer was given honorable mention.

 

The awards submission process has been further streamlined this year. For more information on the 2016 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards and how to submit an application, go to: www.asapweb.org/awards

Tags:  2016 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards  alliance management  alliances  Bayer  Earth Networks  eco-systems  Janssen  National Grid  Philips  social impact  STEM  Takeda Pharmaceuticals  The Dow Chemical Company  The Nature Conservancy  tools 

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