Alliance Management Expertise, Partnering Frameworks and Tools, Collaborative Leadership

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Alliance Professionals Who Deliver Value
2. Thought Leadership / February 10th, 2021
Download the pdf

Habits are internalized behaviors we engage in without really thinking about them. They take practice to develop competency in and to build the muscle memory so that they become ingrained and naturally how work gets done. For alliance professionals, it is important to develop habits that lead to the mindset and services that produce the value their key stakeholders care about the most.

Alliance management is an enabling function, often without a direct line to revenue. It can be challenging for alliance professionals to measure and communicate the value of their services and to make their work visible. As a result, in times of uncertainty such as our current period, they can become an easy target for the budget axe.

With apologies to Stephen Covey, we present seven habits highly effective alliance professionals develop and practice to deliver valued services to stakeholders and make their work tangible, measurable, understood, and appreciated.
As Seen in Strategic Alliance Quarterly: Alliance Management's Digital Future is Here
2. Thought Leadership / December 10th, 2020
download the pdf

The digital transformation of alliance management has arrived!

Just published: Our article in the Q4 2020 edition of Strategic Alliance Quarterly, co-authored with our partners at allianceboard. It explains why an alliance-centric digital platform is key to alliance professionals’ delivery of valuable services, reimagined and at scale, as companies' reliance on alliances as a core pillar of strategy continues to increase.

Contact us today to learn about our digital transformation services and how implementing allianceboard helps you elevate, document, and communicate the value of alliance management.
 
Exemplary Alliance, Ordinary Practices
2. Thought Leadership / September 8th, 2020
download the pdf

The statistics are daunting. Drug development has an overall failure rate of over 96%. It is especially acute for some of the most debilitating diseases where the biological mechanism that causes the disease state is not well understood. Spreading that risk is part of the reason why most drugs are developed in partnership. In 2018, all 62 drugs approved by the FDA incorporated some aspect of partnership.
 
Partnership may be common, but that doesn’t mean it is practiced well. Research from the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals indicates that success rates increase substantially when leading practices are utilized. At first blush, good alliance practices seem to just make sense and of course, every good business person and collaborative scientist will naturally apply them. However, alliances are conceptually simple but operationally quite challenging. Consistently engaging in the behaviors and implementing the practices that help alliances be successful—and deliver life-changing medicines to patients—takes work.
 
AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical giant, and BioArctic, a research-intensive Swedish biopharmaceutical company engaged The Rhythm of Business to help it examine what it did right in a recently concluded research collaboration to develop antibodies (immunotherapy) based on promising science discovered by BioArctic that could stop or slow down the progression of the debilitating Parkinson’s disease (PD). The partners wish to share their experiences so that both their companies and others may benefit. Their story—from initial contact through to a successful conclu...
Demand for Alliance Management Has Changed: Are You Ready?
2. Thought Leadership / March 15th, 2020
Download the pdf

View our ASAP Netcast  on the topic.

When the head of a biopharmaceutical alliance management team told us he had to give his people “permission to ignore certain partners,” and another leader said he’d love to get into digital health partnerships, but didn’t have the resources, we knew the demand for alliance management had reached a tipping point. It is time to modernize how alliance management practices are implemented and the capability organized and resourced to meet growing demand.
 
Many companies across industries have taken a page from the discipline of agile software development to rethink how they go about their work. The outcomes are impressive in terms of value delivered to customers and the resulting benefits to the company and employees. We’ve always applied core tenants of agile to our work with alliance professionals, so over the past year we’ve been digging deeper and rethinking how to adapt agile principles to the work of alliance management.

The pdf linked to at the top contains two posts from The Partnering Guide blog presenting our perspective on the challenge facing alliance managers and an approach to applying agile to the alliance portfolio, services, and organization. We hope you find these posts helpful and welcome the opportunity to work with you to be ready to handle the increased demand for alliance management.
 
Collaboration: Conceptually Simple, Operationally Challenging
2. Thought Leadership / March 10th, 2020
download the pdf

Collaboration is one of the most misunderstood and overused concepts in business today.  There are many perspectives on what it is, ranging from the simplistic—working with other people to produce an outcome—to the complexity of the latest technical platform that allows data and documents to be shared. It is treated as a value, a competency, and even an event.

No wonder companies are struggling in their efforts to increase collaboration, as recently described by Harvard’s Francesca Gino. Yet building an organization’s ability to collaborate has become critical. The Institute for Corporate Productivity finds that the ability to collaborate is “highly correlated with market performance.”

Neither finding comes as any surprise. Collaboration is conceptually simple and operationally challenging. Our own hands-on experience, coupled with research implemented through our Collaborating to Win™ assessment of individual ability has consistently linked better collaboration to better outcomes. The key questions for leaders implementing strategies that hinge on partnerships and alliances with external parties are, “How to define collaboration as a behavior?” and “How to build it as an organizational capability…and advantage?”

This collection of posts from The Partnering Guide™ blog presents our perspective based on over 20 years of personal experience, research, and helping others implement collaboration as a strategic and purposeful way of working. We hope you find these posts enlightening and welcome your thoughts and stories of creating successful outcomes through collaboration.
Partnering Readiness: The New Strategic Leadership Agenda for Partnering Professionals
2. Thought Leadership / December 30th, 2019
download the pdf 
The final Strategic Alliance Quarterly of the decade features our article introducing the Partnering Readiness Stack, our outcome focused-approach to bring in agility, reduce the inefficiencies in partnering and ensure that the rhythms of partnering are not met with unnecessary friction and hurdles, whether in low-touch or high-touch, one-to-one, multipartner networks, or ecosystem arrangements.

Using data generated from interviews, a survey, and workshops with ASAP members, we share participants’ assessments of their current state of readiness and an overview of some of the initiatives they are undertaking. In the partnering everywhere world, the new strategic leadership agenda goes well beyond “partner of choice” and “centers of excellence” and requires knocking down barriers to collaboration, obliterating silos, and transforming the enterprise to enable a holistic, integrated partnering capability.
Biopharmaceutical Alliance Management: Practices, Structure, Value
2. Thought Leadership / October 15th, 2019
Download the pdf

Alliance management is an essential discipline in biopharma companies, involved in driving the success—and managing the risks—of the many, varied partnerships and collaborations that deliver innovative therapies to patients. As a result, the ranks of alliance managers are growing.
 
Equally, alliance management is becoming a necessary stop in the career development of many executives. They assume a leadership role needing to quickly get up to speed on what is a sophisticated and demanding job, requiring both strategic and operational abilities, a high-level of emotional intelligence, and an ability to find creative solutions to problems.

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the core functions of biopharma alliance management to executives and practitioners new to the discipline. It discusses the core responsibilities, as well as provides guidance on resourcing strategies and the structure and organization of an alliance management function. While not exhaustive, it provides a roadmap to get started pursuing what is one of the most interesting, challenging, and essential jobs in business today.
What's Your Resourcing and Capability Roadmap? Five Recommendations for Evolving Alliance Management
2. Thought Leadership / September 27th, 2018
download the pdf

Based on The Rhythm of Business’ research, there is no longer any doubt that alliance management is acknowledged at the highest levels as an essential strategic capability in today’s biopharmaceutical company.   

Everything we’ve learned through interviews of 31 alliance managers from 29 big pharma, biotech, and animal health alliance management functions, points to a core challenge confronting alliance management leaders:

How will you continue to resource and evolve your alliance management capability to keep pace with the scientific and business changes hurtling at the industry that are in turn driving the need for more and more partnering and externalization?

We offer you our recommendations for how an essential function keeps pace with demand in this mini e-book.

Don’t miss our article about what we’ve learned through the research in the Q3 2018 issue of Strategic Alliance and check out our narrated presentation of the preliminary results from the research. 
As Seen in Strategic Alliance Magazine: No Longer Any Doubt: Alliance Management is an Essential Strategic Capability for Today's Biopharmaceutical Company
2. Thought Leadership / September 24th, 2018
download the pdf

“My job is getting more technical and more challenging every day.” This is how one of the first interviews we conducted began in our ongoing research project to examine the current state of the practice of biopharmaceutical alliance management. “What do you mean by that?” we asked. “I am spending more and more time making sure we don’t violate contract restrictions,” he responded—explaining that this means he needs to have a pretty good understanding of the science in multiple research agreements and understand the legal strictures. “We spend a lot of time making sure that what we are doing on one project doesn’t create a problem on another contract. Only the alliance management team will have that perspecti...
Joint Development of Complex Solutions Requires Extreme Partnering
2. Thought Leadership / June 30th, 2018
Download the pdf

This presentation given at the 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit by Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman introduces our methodology for partnering at the speed of business by creating a Minimum Viable Partnership (MVP). We use a why, what, how value framework to shape the alliance business model and infuse the process with a focus on learning fast what works and what doesn't work. Tips and techniques for addressing intellectual property in joint solution development are also included.
 
Partnering at the Speed of Business
2. Thought Leadership / April 28th, 2018
Authors: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman
Download PDF

It is no secret that business is moving faster than ever before and that the formula for success in business transformation is Technology + Partnering. A common theme of sessions at the ASAP Global Summit over the past several years has been how to “partner faster.” By definition, bringing multiple companies together to create a joint solution adds complexities beyond a single company innovating and going to market alone. While partnering certainly has some advantages of speed, the complexities can also cause it to bog down. We’ve all experienced lengthy delays in working out agreements, settling disputes, and just getting decisions made that erode intended value.

What follows is a collection of posts from The Partnering Guide™, our blog that covers trending issues in partnering, collaboration, alliance management, and digital business transformation to the ecosystem economy. In these posts we apply the concepts underpinning entrepreneurial agility to propose ways of accelerating not just the partnering process, but also to “get smart quickly” about the value assumption and alliance business model that will create the business outcomes that benefit all concerned.
 
Beyond the Pill Strategies: Biopharma Partnering's Next Frontier
2. Thought Leadership / September 11th, 2017
Beyond the Pill imageAUTHORS: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman
download pdf

Three trends – new technologies, shifting economics, and empowered patients – are disrupting biopharma’s traditional business model. Smart biopharma companies are responding by embracing a holistic “beyond the pill” approach to the future.

For most biopharma companies, beyond the pill is largely a defensive strategy aimed at justifying or preserving pricing or perhaps gaining reimbursement in any amount. If prognosticators are correct, this bundle of product, services, and data (typically referred to as a solution) will be required for receiving regulatory approval in the not-to-distant future. The bundle may even be part of a single label.

Opportunities to create, deliver, and capture value abound across the value chain. All require partnering. Biopharma partnering and alliance professionals should dive in, head first.
Into the Vortex: Leading the Power to Partner Everywhere – Presentation at Strategic Alliance Management Congress
2. Thought Leadership / May 9th, 2017
AUTHOR: Jan Twombly
download pdf

Biopharma partnering professionals, access our presentation from the May 2017 Strategic Alliance Management Congress.

Partnering is ubiquitous. It is happening everywhere in every function of a biopharma company. New partners often come from unexpected places. An ecosystem perspective is required to address new challenges and keep traditional alliances and collaborations on track. Explore the implications on how alliance processes must adapt and evolve – from partnering models to governance and measurement. Understand the new mindset and skillset required for alliance managers to succeed now that partnering is everywhere.
ASAP Global Alliance Summit Presentation – Think Horizontal: Reimagining Partnering Practices as Digital Business Transformation Becomes Reality
2. Thought Leadership / April 3rd, 2017

AUTHORS: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman
download pdf

Companies are transforming and digitally enabling their business models in a variety of ways leading to new value for customers, stockholders, and stakeholders. Partnering is essential to this transformation – and partnering models are also evolving to reflect a shift to consumption and outcomes-based business models. It is not uncommon for 5 – 7 partners to be involved in the discovery, development, and deployment of industry-specific, turn-key solutions to customers.

Add to this the fact that in this new world the roles of companies may shift as the solution moves from get-to-market to go-to-market. Different business units may be involved, crossing as many internal boundaries as external ones. This breaks existing partner models and practices in many ways – from establishing and aligning value propositions to governance, communication, measurement, and agreements.

Every component of the partner journey must be reimagined to accommodate the network of partners that agilely assembles in a blend of structures ranging from loosely to tightly coupled and requiring no-touch to high-touch support.

Download our presentation from the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit to understand how to reimagine your partnering practices for the speed, scale, and scope required for digital business transformation.

The Partner Everywhere Imperative: A Practitioner’s Guide – As Published in Strategic Alliance Magazine
2. Thought Leadership / March 1st, 2017
AUTHORS: Jan Twombly, Jeff Shuman, and Lorin Coles
download pdf

The business transformation promised by the fourth industrial revolution is not possible without a partnering everywhere capability. Adapted from our e-book The Power to Partner Everywhere, this article from Strategic Alliance Magazine highlights the five design principles that get you started on the capability building journey that produces measurable business outcomes.
The Power to Partner Everywhere: Why You Need It, What It Is, How to Build It
2. Thought Leadership / December 8th, 2016
AUTHORS: Jan Twombly, Jeff Shuman, and Lorin Coles
download pdf

It is a time of experimentation. There is little guidance for companies to follow. Few are familiar with what to do. Fewer are prepared to execute.

The Power to Partner Everywhere: Why You Need It, What It Is, How to Build It, the latest publication from SMART Partnering,TM a venture of The Rhythm of Business and Alliancesphere is your guide to designing and building this capability. It is the central organizational imperative of our time.

Companies need a next generation partnering everywhere capability to benefit from three trends that are upending the relationship with the customer, reshaping business processes, and disrupting business models. We outline five design principles to get you started on this journey, which must be championed and owned by the executive suite.

However your company is preparing for the impact of digital business transformation, a next generation partnering everywhere capability is essential for your success.
Mastering the Speed, Scale, and Scope of Partnering for the Connected Ecosystems of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: As Published in Strategic Alliance Magazine
2. Thought Leadership / September 21st, 2016
AUTHORS: Jan Twombly, Jeff Shuman, and Lorin Coles
download pdf

Our cover story article in the Summer 2016 edition of Strategic Alliance Magazine highlights some of the ways in which partnering practices must change to keep pace with the exponential rate of business transformation unleashed by the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It necessitates rethinking the rules of partnering and taking an ecosystem perspective to building partnering capability. Those that don’t will be leaving value on the table at best – and at worst may find itself left behind.
A Mindset for the Biopharmaceutical Alliance Manager in the Era of Connected Ecosystems
2. Thought Leadership / December 23rd, 2015

download pdf
Author: Jan Twombly

First in a series to challenge the profession to “think differently,” we describe a mindset – a way of thinking about the role of the alliance manager that transcends “best practices.” For those new at alliance management – and executives who need...

Partnering in a Time of Uncertainty – As Published in Strategic Alliance Magazine
2. Thought Leadership / July 31st, 2015

download pdf
Author: Jan Twombly

Uncertainty and complexity are all that is certain. Integrating partnering strategy into corporate strategy is an essential path to leveraging all available resources in the journey to become agile enough to manage the unexpected.

Learn the components of...

SMART Partnering: Orchestrating Success in the Era of Connected Ecosystems
2. Thought Leadership / February 27th, 2015

download pdf
Author: Jan Twombly

Welcome to the era of connected ecosystems.

Incumbents struggle to shift their businesses from legacy cash cows to emerging new models. Some will – many will not. Resiliency and the courage to be bold and think big are essential in the face of ever-chan...

Healthchecking Consortia
2. Thought Leadership / April 13th, 2014


​download pdf
Author: Jan Twombly

Recently, an alliance professional asked us how to conduct a “health check” of a pre-competitive consortium. Like many research-intensive companies, his company belonged to - and had made investments in - many of these organizations. To maximize thei...

Presentation: Right Partners, Right Strategy. Taking a Strategic Approach to the Partner Portfolio
2. Thought Leadership / April 3rd, 2014

download pdf
Author: Jan Twombly

This presentation was given by Jeff Shuman of The Rhythm of Business, Lorin Coles of Alliancesphere and Scott Musson and Jack Barrata of Red Hat at the 2014 ASAP Global Alliance Summit.

 

Click to read more ...

The Spotlight Intensifies - As Published in Strategic Alliance Magazine
2. Thought Leadership / April 3rd, 2014
download pdf
Author: Jan Twombly

An update on the 2012 Practice of Alliance Management in the Biopharmaceutical Industry Study conducted by The Rhythm of Business finds an intensified focus on alliance management performance in the industry as a whole. The study results show an expansion of a...
The Partner Portfolio Manager: Shining the Spotlight on Performance and Value
2. Thought Leadership / February 28th, 2013

download pdf
Author: Jan Twombly

How does an alliance manager know where to put his or her efforts? Too often these efforts are focused where the noise is loudest and the “brushfires” burn the brightest. But being a firefighter is not the optimal role for alliance managers—and it isn’...

From Followers to Leaders: Alliance Management in Biopharma
2. Thought Leadership / November 22nd, 2012
download pdf
Author: Jan Twombly

For its 2012 study of alliance management in the biopharmaceutical industry, The Rhythm of Business surveyed 47 companies from across the globe and found that, on the whole, resources and staffs devoted to alliance management in biopharma are increasing or hol...
Congratulations! You've Been Appointed to a Governance Committee. Now What?
2. Thought Leadership / October 15th, 2012
download pdf
Author: Jan Twombly

IT IS OFTEN SAID THAT MANY ALLIANCE MANAGERS stumble into the role. They don’t have the title, it isn’t included in performance objectives, and they don’t have any training in it.

Practically, the same can be said for executives asked to serve on governance...

Designing and Managing Alliance Networks
2. Thought Leadership / September 4th, 2012

download pdf
Author: Jan twombly

Networks bring multiple entities together in ways that offer some of the same benefits and challenges as alliances. They also bring unique management challenges. This paper introduces the concept of networks of alliances and other collaborative relationships a...

Measuring and Managing the Alliance Portfolio
2. Thought Leadership / March 26th, 2012

download pdf
Author: Jan Twombly

Measuring across the portfolio provides a consistent basis to compare like alliances so that the portfolio may be managed. Managing across a portfolio allows leadership to ensure that its alliance partners, in totality, are providing the desired strategic and...

Portfolio Evaluation Tools
2. Thought Leadership / December 1st, 2011
download pdf
Authors: Jeff Shuman and Jan Twombly

Try these tools to create a value/complexity profile for your portfolio of collaborative relationships and calculate the Return of Collaboration. Also included is a template for an alliance management workplan focused on the three major types...
How Alliance Management Delivers Value: Moving Beyond Best Practices
2. Thought Leadership / January 20th, 2011

download pdf
Authors: Jeff Shuman and Jan Twombly

Alliances and other forms of collaboration are an integral component of strategy. In some companies, they account for more than 50 percent of revenues and new products. Entire business processes are being entrusted to partners. As a result, it...

Collaborating to Win: Measuring Collaborative Ability
2. Thought Leadership / June 1st, 2010

download pdf
Authors: Jeff Shuman and Jan Twombly

Today collaboration is vital because organizations realize they can no longer go it alone. To survive and prosper in today’s globally networked economy, organizations know that they must bridge their structural silos and successfully collabo...

The Real Power of Collaboration
2. Thought Leadership / October 13th, 2009

download pdf
Authors Jeff Shuman and Jan Twombly

A clear sign that organizations find a skill or ability valuable is when it begins to find its way into the competencies used to evaluate employee performance. Such is the case today with collaboration. Even the recent awarding of the Nobel Pea...

Top