Alliance Management Consulting and Training, Partnering Frameworks and Tools, Collaborative Leadership

Managing the Cost of Time at Alliance Startup on the Agenda at the 2021 ASAP Global Alliance Summit
4. News and Events / February 27th, 2021
The Rhythm of Business is proud to once again be a platinum sponsor of the ASAP Global Alliance Summit, See into the Future of Alliances. This is the premier event for alliance management professionals from across industries. Even in an all-digital format, there are plenty of opportunities to network, learn from industry leaders, and put your fingers on the pulse of partnerships today.

Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman will lead a Live Stream Master Class session on Monday March 15th The Value of Alliance Management: Managing the Cost of Time at Startup. Featuring two case studies, one of a codevelopment, cocommercialization biopharma alliance and another of a software vendor-global systems integrator partnership, participants will address several questions and:
  • Identify the potential value-eroding inefficiencies and risks in the case studies that must be addressed
  • Develop a high-level plan for a fast-paced, agile startup—in a remote digital environment, without in-person interaction
  • Capture the value produced by applying alliance management practices
 
Their analysis will be informed by an upfront presentation by Twombly and Shuman that shares some of their most recent work on reimagining alliance management practices to be more agile and to focus on what stakeholders value the most.
 
Twombly is a long-time member of the Board of Directors of ASAP. View the complete Summit agenda and register today.
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 engagem...
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...
The Demand for Alliance Management Grows—and Paradoxically It Must Prove Its Value
4. News and Events / October 12th, 2020
The Rhythm of Business’ presentation at the 2020 Strategic Alliance Management Congress offers a path to focusing on value key stakeholders recognize while meeting growing demand.

As biopharma companies evolve their business models in response to economic pressures, changing patient expectations, and new technologies that are powering everything from drug discovery to the sales process, alliances and partnerships multiply. The demand for managing alliances grows, yet in a pandemic environment, uncertainty is constraining resources and budgets making it an imperative to prove the value of the alliance management function.

On October 27, Jan Twombly, president of The Rhythm of Business and an ASAP Board of Directors member, will present her company’s prescription for maximizing the ability of alliance managers to deliver value to their organizations. She will discuss three influencing f...
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.
The Alliance Management Mashup—Bridging the Digital Divide: ASAP Summit Virtual Roundtable
4. News and Events / August 12th, 2020
Summary of ASAP Global Summit Roundtable Discussion

Download a pdf of the discussion slides

Digital health has the potential to improve the health of millions of patients and radically change the way health services are delivered. In addition to providing benefits to patients and providers, the benefits for companies offering digital technology and life science products and services are substantial. It is a productive alliance of two innovative industries that not only innovate very differently, they go to market and partner differently. No wonder high tech and biopharma alliance managers have different jobs!
In digital health initiatives, the job of the alliance professionals is to bridge differences and find a third way that results in creating successful outcomes for the patients, providers, payers, and partners.

As part of the 2020 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, we gave a presentation on the topic and hosted a roundtable discussion of several technology and biopharma alliance professionals. The following are the highlights from o...
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 succ...
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...
Reimagining Alliance Management for the Next Normal: ASAP Summit Virtual Executive Roundtable
4. News and Events / July 1st, 2020

Summary from exclusive ASAP Global Alliance Summit executive virtual roundtable. Download the discussion slides

“We are all operating in a new norm and we need to evolve with it.” So stated one of the alliance executives The Rhythm of Business invited to a virtual roundtable discussion during the 2020 ASAP Global Alliance Summit on reimagining alliance management for the next normal. We approached the topic from two angles:
 
  • The impact of COVID-19 on a people-intensive business that depends on good relationships
  • The increased demand for alliance management services as companies’ alliance portfolios continued to grow in size, complexity, and new types of digital and service alliances, even before the pandemic
The silver lining of needing to find a next normal is that it gives license to fix what is broken, it forces us to become more resourceful and agile, and focuses us on what...
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 admin...
On the Agenda at the ASAP Global Alliance Summit
4. News and Events / June 21st, 2020
The Summit may be virtual this year, but The Rhythm of Business is very much engaged. We are proud to be long-time members, sponsors, and contributors to the ASAP community and to participate in this first virtual Global Alliance Summit.

 - We’re presenting On Demand Session 502, The Alliance Management Mashup: Bridging the Digital Divide
 - Jan Twombly is moderating live stream Session 207 Biopharma Commercial Alliance Management Challenges on Thursday, June 25 at 11:15 am EDT
 - We are also hosting an exclusive virtual executive roundtable on Reimaging Alliance Management for the Next Normal on Thursday, June 25 from 9:00 – 10:00am E...
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 partn...
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 bef...
Upcoming ASAP Netcast Event: Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability
4. News and Events / May 9th, 2020
Session Description
Before COVID-19 biopharmaceutical alliance managers were dealing with an increased demand for their services as companies’ traditional alliance portfolios continued to grow in size and complexity. With COVID-19 and virtual work, an additional burden has been added, but a new urgency to rethink how alliance management is done presents itself. Add to that all the new types of service, data, and digital partnerships being stood up and it is clear the time has come to reimagine how alliance management practices are implemented and the capability organized and resourced to meet growing demand.

The need to become more agile, iterative, and focused on what truly matters is great.

Agile principles have been applied to businesses as varied as Haier, a white goods manufacturer, and global healthcare companies such as F. Hoffmann-LaRoche with impressive results. This webinar introduces a practical approach to applying agile methods to the practice of alliance management and the structure of a function or team. Participants will learn:
  • How to build a stable backbone to enable rapid decision making and a focus on work that creates value
  • An agile approach to staffing the management of alliances that better utilizes available resources
  • How to use specialist roles to drive innovation
  • How to create service level agreements to ensure services provided are those that deliver the greatest value to stakeholders
  • The benefits of digitizing workflow and administration to deliver consistently superior work product—and build good alliance hygiene among stakeholders
Watch the webinar
Download our whitepaper Demand for Alliance Management Has Changed. Are You Ready?  for more on this topic.
 
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.
 
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 managemen...
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 en...
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 t...
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 driv...
Collaborative Leadership: The Antidote to the Collaboration Paradox
1. Partnering Guide / January 21st, 2020
Thus far in this series of posts on collaboration, we’ve defined it as a purposeful, strategic behavior that is easier said than done. This is because of both a failure to build the capability—the mindset, skillset, and toolset—to collaborate across boundaries and the collaboration paradox—the systems, processes, and policies that helped companies be successful in the past that today impede their ability to collaborate. In this post we look at both collaborative leadership and the leadership system required to support and implement the capability as the antidote to the people and organizational challenges of achieving success in cross-boundary collaborations....
What to Do When It Gets “Just Too Hard”
1. Partnering Guide / January 2nd, 2020
A very successful entrepreneur once told us she knew it was time to iterate her assumptions and change her business when the current way she was doing something was “just too hard.” Ever since that conversation, we watch for this signal. Alliance management within biopharmaceutical firms is showing many signs of hitting the tipping point where it is just too hard to continue implementing alliance management practices as is typically done. One of the key issues raised during our 2018 research project with more than 30 biopharmaceutical companies both large and small was the challenge of an ever-increasing workload—both a growing portfolio to manage and the increasing technical complexity of the alliances making up the portfolio.[1]

Lat...
Partnering Readiness: The Through Line from Collaborative Leadership to Collaborative Execution
1. Partnering Guide / May 31st, 2019
download a pdf of the slide deck
access the full webinar

The data keeps rolling in: The companies that are successful in becoming digitally-enabled and customer-obsessed—and therefore prepared to compete as we enter the 2020s—are those best able to collaborate internally and externally. This dynamic of Technology + Partnering together are redefining and rewiring organizations, necessitating a new collaborative leadership system to serve as the backbone that supports agile collaborative execution.

The objective of the leadership system? To ensure that companies are ready to partner; purposefully and opportunistically, in one-to-one relationships, multi-partner engagements, and in ecosystems.  Partner readiness for the 2020s is not as simple as having an alliance management team that supports a center of excellence offering tools and training. Partnering readiness is embodied in every leadership action, operational structure, and execution motion. It extends through strategy, product, marketing, sales, support and management. It is the strategic imperative for alliance leaders today.
  
View our recent ASAP Netcast webinar or download the slide deck to evaluate how ready your company is to compete and succeed in the 2020s.
Two New Alliance and Partnership Management Training Programs Kickoff 2019 Learning in Action Agenda
4. News and Events / January 31st, 2019
Build speed and agility into partnership development and management by acting like a startup business. Drive customer-obsessed partnering outcomes by demonstrating collaborative leadership. Our two new Learning in Action™ programs help you and your team “get smart quickly” and drive business transformation.  

The Rhythm of Business announces two new Learning in Action™ opportunities to help businesses create and grow the partnerships and alliances they need in order to provide the transformative outcomes customers seek. These programs are delivered in person for maximum learning and include: principles, guidance and tools, application through either a case study or working an actual situation—potentially with a partner—activation support, as well as tracking and reporting of success metrics. Program descriptions and links to session overviews and sample co...
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.

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...

Suddenly, Partnering is New Again
1. Partnering Guide / June 8th, 2015

AUTHOR: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman

Over the years partnering has gone through many cycles, falling in and out of favor but still somehow, never really being considered a strategy of choice, unless a company was born with it as part of its core business model. In most traditional companies, sen...

Improving Partnering Outcomes – What’s an Alliance Professional to Do?
1. Partnering Guide / September 29th, 2014

AUTHOR: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman

Over the past several months we have thought a lot about a question that is both challenging and imperative:

How can alliance managers more directly and more successfully improve partnering outcomes?

We’ve long worked to enhance and increase the impa...

Creating Agile Businesses
3. Entrepreneurial Classics / June 1st, 2002

Authors: Jeff Shuman and Jan Twombly

A Business Week cover story makes the observation that “Suddenly, running GE is a whole new ball game.” Of course they’re right. But let’s be honest, in our increasingly interconnected, customer-centric global economy, successfully running GE, or f...

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