Alliance Management Expertise, Partnering Frameworks and Tools, Collaborative Leadership

How Alliance Professionals Treat Team Turnover as a Value-Adding Opportunity
1. Partnering Guide / December 28th, 2020
“We’re moving so fast we don’t have the luxury of formal onboarding. We just kind of throw them in there. They’re smart, they’ll figure it out.” This is what we’ve been hearing from too many alliance professionals about their approach to onboarding new project team and governance committee members. In taking this position, alliance professionals are overlooking a key value adding opportunity: Helping the new member know what they need to know to establish the right priorities and engage in the right activities to accomplish what they as a member of the team must, and to quickly get connected and engaged with the rest of the team.

When this engagement...
Rumblings, Perennial Challenges, and Reimagining a Path Forward
1. Partnering Guide / December 4th, 2020
There is no question 2020 has been the most challenging year in recent memory. As it comes to a welcome close, old challenges are appearing anew. For biopharmaceutical alliance professionals, it is once again the season of having to explain to the CFO wielding the budget axe, “So tell me again what you do?”
 
It is not surprising, given the uncertainty of the business climate and the wholesale changes that have occurred. Companies have learned to live without physicality in offices, sales calls, team meetings, conferences, new staff interviews…the list goes on and on. Suffice it to say that any executive worth their salt is examining what their business needs and doesn’t need to be successful as we hopefully emerge from the pandemic in 2021 and into the next normal.
 
Savvy alliance leaders should welcome the challenge—and be prepared with an answer that not only explains how you’ve helped the business achieve great things during 2020 by keeping its alliances on track. You must also be ready to share what you and your team are doing to reimagine the future course of the company’s alliance capability and help lead it in a time of scientific and technical advancement, changing economic incentives, and empowered patients that necessitates partnering happening everywhere in the organization—all while incorporating the surprisingly productive ways of doing business we’ve adopted...
Breaking the Collaboration Paradox: A Leadership Requirement for the Next Normal
1. Partnering Guide / November 11th, 2020
The following post was initially published by The Drucker Forum as part of its "Shape the Debate" discussion concurrent with the 12th Global Peter Drucker Forum, Leadership Everywhere, A Fresh Perspective on Management.

There are some things we’ve learned in the past seven months that make sense to carry forward into the next normal. Chief among them is that the amount of partnering among firms occurring to combat the pandemic, the neighborhood tie-ups to support small businesses, and bubble quarantines in learning groups as well as professional sports teams, requires a collaborative leadership style. 
 
Collaboration is a buzzword that everyone thinks they know what it means, but few truly do. It is typically thought of as a simple skill we all learned in the sandbox, a value to be trumpeted, or technology that allows people to work together electronically. These are all elements of collaboration, but they fail to adequately define it....
The Silver Lining: Reimagining Alliance Management to Focus on What Matters Most Now
1. Partnering Guide / September 24th, 2020
Download a pdf of our conference presentation

Our hats are off to everyone who participated in the ASAP Biopharma Conference earlier this month! Because of all the creativity and engagement by speakers, participants, the program committee, and staff, it certainly felt like a real conference, just one delivered in a digital environment instead of in Boston’s Seaport District! It is further evidence the status quo is no more and so many of the old rules no longer apply. This is really the silver lining: a license to fix what’s broken, become more resourceful and agile, dispense with unnecessary process, and focus on what matters most.

COVID-19 and Work from Home (WFH) has created a new burden on alliance professionals. You must be more intentional, work harder to be in the right meetings, pay more attention to the mental and physical state of your team, your governance members. Add to this all the new types of service, data, and digital partnerships both before- and with-COVID and it is clear the time has come to reimagine how alliance management practices are implemented and the capability is organized and resourced to meet growing, changing demand.

Our presentation at the conference introduces practical actions for reimagining the collaboration between alliance managers and their internal stakeholders, especially governance team members, and the resulting partner experience. We toss aside the status quo to:
  • Redefine how alliance managers are assigned to alliances
  • Collaborate with stakeholders to align on the services that create value for them and that mitigate the panoply of value-eroding risks that are now present
  • Create the transparency of information flows and communication required in our together-but-apart world
Contact us today to discuss how our consulting and training services can help your alliance management team be more agile, more digital, and more successful in delivering the value to stakeholders that matters most today.
Shine a Spotlight on Your Alliance Portfolio
1. Partnering Guide / September 2nd, 2020
This is the third in a series of posts from allianceboard, a next generation alliance management platform and The Rhythm of Business on why the time has come to digitize your practice to drive value for stakeholders, your partners, and you.

Seeing the Big Picture

Not long ago, an executive newly appointed to lead the alliance management function for his company—but who had no alliance management experience—asked us, “How do I see what is going on across all of our alliances? I am used to starting my day looking at a dashboard that lets me know what needs my attention.” We had to explain to him that currently, within his company, he would have to manually aggregate individual alliance managers’ monthly reports to get an overall picture. But that need not be the case. 
 
As we’ve been describing in this series of posts, external events coupled with the growth in the number and types of alliances and other collaborations are shining a spotlight on the need to digitize certain aspects of alliance management workflow and administration. If our newly appointed alliance executive had in place a digital alliance management platform, he would have had the ability to aggregate all the alliances in his portfolio—or any relevant subset thereof—into a single dashboard and understand them in relation to one another. It would also help him better appreciate the work of his alliance managers.
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The Golden Package Leads to the Payoff
1. Partnering Guide / July 31st, 2020
This is Part Three of a three-part series about an exemplary research collaboration between global biopharmaceutical giant AbbVie and BioArctic, a research-intensive Swedish biopharmaceutical company. The purpose of the alliance was to develop antibodies (immunotherapy) based on promising science discovered by BioArctic that could stop progression of the debilitating Parkinson’s disease (PD). The partners wish to share their experiences so that both their companies and others may benefit. The Rhythm of Business was engaged after their collaboration had achieved its primary objective to help the partners examine their alliance, identify repeatable practices, and tell their story.
 
Read Part One: The Making of a True Collaboration
Read Part Two: How the AbbVie-BioArctic Partnership Executes Collaboratively
 
For two years the partners had been following the workplan, advancing the science that they hoped would produce a game-changing treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. For that to happen, AbbVie had to “opt-in” to license the antibodies for clinical development. If it decided not to, for any number of valid business or scientific reasons, BioArctic would need to go find another partner. If that rejection were to occur, it would cost them valuable time in both the exclusivity to the underlying intellectual property and in the competitive arena. It would result in devaluing the asset in the eyes of a new development partner.  In October 2018 BioArctic delivered the “Golden Package” containing the fruits—all the data and deliverables—of the two years of work to AbbVie, which had 90 days to make a decision. Thanks to a proactive approach with much of the ground already laid, the review was quick and internal alignment secured. Within two weeks it informed BioArctic that it would exercise its license option bringing the alliance to a successful outcome.
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Digitizing Alliance Management for Agility and Efficiency
1. Partnering Guide / July 15th, 2020
This is the second in a series of posts from allianceboard, a next generation alliance management platform and The Rhythm of Business on why the time has come to digitize your practice to drive value for stakeholders, your partners, and you. Louis Rinfret, PhD, founder and CEO of allianceboard contributed this post. Access the first post in this series Digitize Your Alliance Management Practice to Provide Visibility, Promote Agility, and Create Value
 


How do you ensure your alliance team is agile and efficient while managing a growing portfolio?  As companies race to innovate and grow, heads of alliance management functions must plan how to support the increasing demands on their teams.

Working harder with current systems and processes is not sustainable in most situations.  Leaders must then think strategically and envision how they will s...
How the AbbVie-BioArctic Partnership Executes Collaboratively
1. Partnering Guide / July 7th, 2020
This is Part Two of a three-part series about an exemplary research collaboration between global biopharmaceutical giant AbbVie and BioArctic, a research-intensive Swedish biopharmaceutical company to develop antibodies (immunotherapy) based on promising science discovered by BioArctic that could stop progression of the debilitating Parkinson’s disease (PD). The partners wish to share their experiences so that both their companies and others may benefit. The Rhythm of Business was engaged after their collaboration had achieved its primary objective to help the partners examine their alliance, identify repeatable practices, and tell their story. Read Part One The Making of a True Collaboration.

Getting to “Happy-Happy”

The synergy equation of 1+1=3 is an axiom of partnering, implying that the goal is to create value that cannot be achieved alone. Sweden’s BioArctic takes it a step further, looking to achieve the state of “happy-happy” with their partners. This next generation of the classic win-win focuses on “satisfaction, relationship, the cooperation, and the future.”[1] It is a way of getting to an agreement that is open, transparent, non-competitive, and assumes that each party gets what it wants by helping the other parties to the relationship get what they want. This “give and get logic” is the essence of collaboration; core to how to create, deliver, and capture true value in an alliance. As BioArctic’s project leader explains, “It is important to listen to the partner and understand wh...
Digitize Your Alliance Management Practice to Provide Visibility, Promote Agility, and Create Value
1. Partnering Guide / June 30th, 2020
This is the first in a series of posts from allianceboard, a next generation alliance management platform and The Rhythm of Business on why the time has come to digitize your practice to drive value for stakeholders, your partners, and you.

The Time to Digitize is Now

We’re Zooming and Hanging Out every day. Going-to-Meeting, Teaming, and Webexing from morning until night. These conferencing apps are familiar tools to alliance managers; it is just that our reliance on them has grown as we manage alliances from a distance. As helpful as they are when meeting virtually, approximating face-to-face meetings except for the essential relationship-building step of breaking bread and raising a glass, they facilitate only a portion of alliance management activity that provides the services stakeholders value. The demands of remote work lay bare the need to accelerate an essential component of applying agile principles to alliance management—digitizing certain aspects of alliance management workflow and administration.

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The Making of a True Collaboration
1. Partnering Guide / June 6th, 2020
This is Part One of a three-part series about an exemplary research collaboration between global biopharmaceutical giant AbbVie and BioArctic, a research-intensive Swedish biopharmaceutical company to develop antibodies (immunotherapy) based on promising science discovered by BioArctic that could stop progression of the debilitating Parkinson’s disease (PD). The partners wish to share their experiences so that both their companies and others may benefit. The Rhythm of Business was engaged after their collaboration had achieved its primary objective to help the partners examine their alliance, identify repeatable practices, and tell their story.
 
At the September 2014 Parkinson’s Congress in Stockholm, Sweden, Gunilla Osswald, CEO of BioArctic approached the AbbVie booth and asked whom she should talk with about her company’s Parkinson’s Disease program. She was directed to AbbVie’s Europe-based search and evaluation team member who told her that BioArctic’s program was too early for AbbVie to consider. “Come back when you’ve humanized the antibody,” he said.

Fifteen months later, having successfully humanized the antibody, Osswald was meeting with AbbVie’s search and evaluation lead for neuroscience at a partnering conference. Their meeting was supposed to be a brief 20 minutes. Layer-by-layer it became 90 minutes of scientific discovery. It was the first step in establishing a critical trust building foundation for what would become a successful collaboration on promising science to treat a disease with no known cure.

This partnership...
Bridging the Gap to the Next Normal
1. Partnering Guide / May 9th, 2020
As we try to find our way to the next normal for the economy and our lives, a tremendous leadership challenge presents itself to alliance professionals: How to reimagine the people-centric business of partnering when team members’ personal lives are disrupted or worse, remote work is the norm, there is great economic uncertainty, and intense pressure on resources? Add to this the fact that cross-industry, multi-partner as well as public-private collaboration is required to innovate our way out of this crisis. The number of partnerships for tests, vaccines, treatments, and medical equipment is exploding, as this graphic from CB Insights (Figure1) depicts. How can alliance management expertise be applied to this speed, scale, and scope of partnering so that time and money is not squandered by the inherent inefficiencies in partnering?

Even before...
Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability--Part One of Four
1. Partnering Guide / March 15th, 2020
This is Part One of a Four Part post on adapting and applying certain principles of agile management as a means of meeting the increased demand for alliance management services as the scale, scope, and complexity of biopharmaceutical asset, service, digital, and data alliances and partnerships grows.

Download a pdf of all four parts of “Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability” plus “What to Do When it Gets ‘Just Too Hard.’”   


In our post What to Do When It Gets “Just Too Hard” we describe a challenge biopharmaceutical alliance professionals are facing: How to provide proactive, value creating alliance management services to company stakeholders and partners when the number, variety, and technical complexity of partnerships exceeds the ability of alliance managers to implement a traditional management model across the scale and scope of the overall corporate portfolio. A promising approach to the problem lies in adapting and applying certain principles of agile management. In this post we explore what is meant by agile and how it can be implemented in an alliance management context...
Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability--Part Two of Four
1. Partnering Guide / March 14th, 2020
This is Part Two of a Four Part post on adapting and applying certain principles of agile management as a means of meeting the increased demand for alliance management services as the scale, scope, and complexity of biopharmaceutical asset, service, digital, and data alliances and partnerships grows.

Download a pdf of all four parts of “Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability” plus “What to Do When it Gets ‘Just Too Hard.’”  
 


Read Part One of Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability

Practice Component 1:  Resourcing the Portfolio

One of the key reasons for reimagining alliance management as an agile capability is because there is currently a mismatch between the scale of enterprise partnering and professional alliance management resources. Current practice addresses this through traditional tiering and scoping that result in unmanaged alliances and diminished value to stakeholders of alliance managers who are spread too thin to deeply engage in their alliances....
Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability--Part Three of Four
1. Partnering Guide / March 13th, 2020
This is Part Three of a Four Part post on adapting and applying certain principles of agile management as a means of meeting the increased demand for alliance management services as the scale, scope, and complexity of biopharmaceutical asset, service, digital, and data alliances and partnerships grows.

Download a pdf of all four parts of “Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability” plus “What to Do When it Gets ‘Just Too Hard.’”  

Read Part One or Part Two of Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability


Practice Component 2:  Increasing the Agility of Alliance Management Practices 
 

There are many ways to build agility into alliance management practices. The Service Level Agreements between alliance managers and stakeholders shape expectations and focus resources on the work that delivers the greatest value to stakeholders and enhances the partner experience. Successful implementation of services requires standardization, meaning that everyone understands the language and how things are done....
Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability--Part Four of Four
1. Partnering Guide / March 12th, 2020
This is Part Four of a Four Part post on adapting and applying certain principles of agile management as a means of meeting the increased demand for alliance management services as the scale, scope, and complexity of biopharmaceutical asset, service, digital, and data alliances and partnerships grows.

Download a pdf of all four parts of “Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability” plus “What to Do When it Gets ‘Just Too Hard.’”  

Read Part OnePart Two, or Part Three of "Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability"
 
Practice Component 3:  Adapting the Alliance Management Organization

Typically, the resourcing model has been that each alliance has one alliance manager and that each individual has responsibility for multiple alliances. Certainly, there are exceptions for very large and complex alliances, and in advanced companies that have recognized the need for new ways of working, but by and large the traditional model remains entrenched. This means that alliance management functions, groups, or teams do not operate as teams; they operate as collections of individual contributors. Agility depends on purpose driven teams.

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