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

Managing Alliance Meetings in a Hybrid Environment
1. Partnering Guide / September 19th, 2021
As summer turns to fall, many people were hoping to return to their offices and meet with their alliance teams and partners, holding governance meetings in-person. Some are and some aren’t. Some companies aren’t allowing travel until at least 2022. A recent McKinsey survey found that “90% of organizations will adopt a combination of remote and on-site work as they emerge from Covid restrictions.”[1] The upshot is that alliance professionals will find themselves having to design, organize, and facilitate important meetings that may be in-person (likely with face masks), completely remote, or somewhere in between—a hybrid. Each requires something a little different to be successful, with the hybrid meeting the most challenging to get right. Fortunately, there have been a lot of learnings over the past 18 months on how to have effective remote meetings. We need to apply those learnings to what we know about having productive alliance meetings and create a new template to drive success in a hybrid environment.
 
...
Overcoming the Challenges of Consensus Decision Making in Hybrid Environments at 2021 ASAP Biopharma Conference
4. News and Events / September 11th, 2021
The Rhythm of Business is proud to once again be a platinum sponsor of the ASAP Biopharma Conference. This is the premier event for life science alliance management professionals. 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, September 27th: Operational Excellence for Consensus Decision Making in Hybrid Environments. Participants will analyze a comprehensive case study in small group discussions and address several questions to:
  • Apply leading practices for facilitating hybrid meetings to structure the decision-making process
  • Consider how to best prepare executives to properly consider a complex topic when not in a room together
  • Overcome the trust barriers that exist because alliance teams haven’t had the venues to properly build relationships during the pandemic
 
Participants’ analysis will be informed by an upfront presentation by Twombly and Shuman that shares some of their most recent work on driving excellence in alliance management practices in a hybrid environment and at a time when alliance management services are in high demand.
 
Twombly is a long-time member of the Board of Directors of ASAP. To see the complete Conference agenda and to register, visit https://asapbiopharma.org.
Where’s the Value? Insights from Our ASAP Webinar Chat
1. Partnering Guide / August 6th, 2021
On July 29, Jan facilitated a conversation with Katherine Kendrick, CSAP, head of alliance management at Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Nancy Griffin, vice president of alliance management at Dicerna Pharmaceuticals about defining and communicating the value professional alliance management delivers to its key internal stakeholders and partners. Part of ASAP’s webinar series, everyone defined the preparation and delivery of the session as “certainly not work.” Highlights of our spirited and spontaneous conversation follows.   

Our discussion built upon the cover story article in the Q1 2021 Strategic Alliance Quarterly, to which each of us contributed, widening the aperture to explore how to expand beyond the daily management of contracts, governance, and solving problems to discuss the higher level, more strategic services and activities stakeholders value the most....
Where’s the Value? Upcoming ASAP Netcast Explores the Value in Biopharmaceutical Alliance Management
4. News and Events / July 17th, 2021
Where's the Value ASAP Netcast
Join Jan Twombly, CSAP, President of The Rhythm of Business as she leads this provocative discussion on July 29, 2021 with two dynamic alliance management leaders, Nancy Griffin, Vice President of Alliance Management at Dicerna Pharmaceuticals and Katherine Kendrick, CSAP, Head of Alliance Management at Jazz Pharmaceuticals.

Biopharma alliance professionals are perennially challenged to explain the holistic and strategic work they do to prevent the inherent inefficiencies in alliances from overtaking intended value. The discussion will offer insights into how to present the story of alliance management in a way that connects to the needs of senior executives.

We will also explore how these alliance leaders are structuring their teams and shaping jobs to better safeguard their company’s interests and further the goals of their individual alliances and the company’s overall portfolio.

As the profession evolves to take on a more strategic role, what to measure and how to communicate must evolve, too. We’ll look at how our alliance leaders are doing just that—and importantly weaving in storytelling to help the organization but its trust in the value of alliance management to grow its partnering capability and maximize the value of its alliance portfolio.

This Netcast is free for ASAP members. If you aren’t a member, contact us for a discount code.
As Published in Business Development and Licensing Journal—The Digital Health Mashup: Bridging the Alliance Management Divide
1. Partnering Guide / July 5th, 2021
Download the pdf

Over the past few years, the number of partnerships between biopharmaceutical companies and digital information technology companies to develop innovative digital health products has grown exponentially. Partnership is about bridging differences to leverage the unique assets and capabilities of the partners, creating an outcome neither could achieve alone, or at least not economically. The strategic, operational, and cultural differences between biopharma companies and their “high-tech” partners are significant and must be overcome to realize the potential of digital health. This is fertile ground for alliance management professionals to ply their craft, ensuring that the risks of partnering don’t outweigh the benefits.

This article, published in the journal of the UK’s Pharmaceutical Licensing Group:
  • Digs into some of the differences between biopharma and digital technology companies
  • Explores the business model that is a mash-up between what is typical for each of the partners in digital health partnerships
  • Suggests how alliance professionals can apply our alliance management foundation to bridge differences between the partners and create new value
Download the pdf to read the full article.
Start It Right: Mastering the Alliance Startup Process
2. Thought Leadership / May 4th, 2021
download the pdf

Earlier this year, we published Seven Habits of Highly Effective Alliance Professionals Who Deliver Value. One of the habits is “build operational excellence.” We defined it as developing and implementing consistent practices so that stakeholders know what to expect regardless of the alliance. It is achieved through a renewed focus on alliance fundamentals including planning, governance and decision making, risk management, measurement and improvement, communication, and reporting processes.

Organizations and their stakeholders benefit greatly from building operational excellence in the alliance startup process, a time when all of these fundamentals and the seven habits come into play. Organizations that master the startup process see their alliances hit their stride sooner and with fewer problems. Stakeholders understand the alliance’s objectives and how the partners intend to achieve them.

Importantly, they will also appreciate the value of alliance management services for preventing the inefficiencies of alliances from overcoming their intended value.

Mastering the startup process pays dividends for all concerned long after the alliance is fully operational.
 
The Value of Alliance Management on the Agenda at the 2021 Strategic Alliance Management Congress
4. News and Events / April 24th, 2021
May’s all-digital Strategic Alliance Management Congress includes two opportunities sponsored by The Rhythm of Business for participants to consider how to evolve and adapt their practices to deliver and communicate the value their services offer to stakeholders, partners, and customers.

Jan Twombly, CSAP presents Seven Habits of Highly Effective Alliance Professionals, a tour through evergreen alliance management practices that are being innovated for today’s business environment of increasing complexing partnerships in which face-to-face will remain a luxury—and the surprisingly productive ways of working we’ve adopted out of necessity will remain.

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. Practicing the seven habits delivers the services stakeholders value the most—and helps alliance professionals communicate that value.

An additional opportunity for conference participants is a moderated roundtable on The Value of Alliance Management. The roundtable looks at the essence of alliance management and asks:
  • What are the alliance management services stakeholders value the most?
  • In what ways do you measure and report alliance management activity?
  • How would you like senior management to describe the value of alliance management?
Join other biopharmaceutical alliance professionals from industry and academia May 18 and 19, 2021. Network with peers and learn the seven habits that help you deliver value. There is still time to register at https://www.alliancemanagementcongress.com.
How Alliance Professionals Deliver Value at Startup
1. Partnering Guide / March 25th, 2021
Discussion Summary from Exclusive Executive Roundtable

There is a truism among alliance professionals—start an alliance right, or you will start it again in the midst of an erosion of trust and even conflict. As part of an exclusive executive roundtable discussion sponsored by The Rhythm of Business during the ASAP Global Alliance Summit in March, nearly a dozen heads of alliance management within life science companies gathered to discuss the challenges of startup and the value alliance professionals can and should deliver to their stakeholders during this critical phase. Their conclusion: Prepare your stakeholders for what could go wrong and set them up for making it go right.
...
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.
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.
 
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...
Introducing New, Digitally Delivered Alliance Management Training Options
4. News and Events / October 19th, 2020

Download an overview of our Digital Alliance Management Training

digital alliance management trainingPump up the value to demonstrate why alliance management is essential to company success.

Over the past several months we’ve worked with a variety of life science companies to take our traditional, in-person alliance management trainings and convert them to online offerings. In the process, we’ve discovered that online training can be even more successful than in-person workshops. We’ve redesigned many of our popular courses to be delivered over Zoom, incorporating rich interaction in small breakout groups with pre-reads and individual assignments.

We’ve also added a workshop delivered together with our partner allianceboard to guide alliance professionals in automating routine services to expand their reach and influence and to make their...

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.
There is No Going Back: Roundtable Discussion Focuses on What Matters Most Now
4. News and Events / September 16th, 2020
A Summary of our ASAP 2020 Biopharma Conference Exclusive Executive Roundtable Discussion
 
It is really starting to settle in—there is no going back, there is only moving forward. Whenever we again experience a world where face-to-face meetings, quick drop-ins on a colleague or executive, and maybe even business travel are possible, there are some things we’ve learned in the past six months that make sense to carry forward into that next normal. In our current normal, we are not only figuring out how to deal with distanced work, we’re trying to learn how to innovate with new partners and new partnering models and ensure we deliver what matters most to our stakeholders and alliance partners to realize the outcomes and value intended by both newly formed alliances and those once operating under an entirely different set of assumptions.

These are some of the highlights of our exclusive executive roundtable discussion during the 2020 ASAP Biopharma Conference on September 15, complementing our presentation The Silver Lining: Reimagining Alliance Management to Focus on What Matters Most Now. Link to our conference presentat...
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 allian...
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...
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 unde...
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...
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.
 
A Message to Alliance Professionals: Let's Not Let the Crisis Go to Waste
4. News and Events / March 16th, 2020
Making Lemonade: Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste

The unfortunate appearance of COVID-19 has all of us scrambling to keep our families, employees, and customers safe while keeping our businesses operating. At The Rhythm of Business, we’re taking all recommended precautions, ceasing travel, and the hosting of meetings in our offices until it is safe to gather in person again.
 
However, as the eminently quotable Winston Churchill said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” We are following his advice and innovating how we deliver professional development and carryout our VitalSigns Alliance Operations Effectiveness Assessment to help the alliance management community continue to deliver value that ultimately benefits customers and patients.

Virtual Alliance and Collaboration Professional Development

Over the past several months, we’ve seen a big uptick in the number of companies wanting to offer alliance and collaboration training. In the spirit of lemonade from lemons—making the best of a bad situation—we are working with our clients to create virtual training sessions, following leading practices of distance meetings. We’ll take our day-long, or multi-day, in-person sessions and break them up into a series of webinars, making them interactive with polling and chat. In between webinars, we’ll host small groups to work on case studies, analyze situations, and take part in exercises to apply the learning. Jeff Shuman’s experience of many years of conducting MBA classes with a combination of in-person and online students is very relevant and helpful.

If you’ve been thinking about offering training to alliance team members, part-time alliance managers, or governance committee members, this is an opportune time to do so. Afterall, potential participants won’t be travelling any time soon. Here is a brief slide deck introducing our alliance and collaboration professional development offerings and how we tailor them to your current and expected portfolio of asset-based, service, digital, and data alliances, from the lab to interactions with payers.

Take the VitalSigns of Your Alliance

These challenging times require alliance teams to rally around a North Star focused on the value the alliance is intended to deliver to customers, patients, and the partners to the alliance. One way alliance professionals can deliver value to their stakeholders is to evaluate how well the alliance is collaborating and overcoming the inefficiencies that cause risk and prevent the partners from receiving intended value. Our VitalSigns Alliance Operations Effectiveness Assessment pinpoints the actions leadership and management can take now to guide their teams to overcome those inefficiencies, differences of opinion and ways of working, as well as to address simmering conflict and find innovative “third ways” that offer value creating solutions. We are taking the alliance governance committee workshops that are an integral part of this process virtual, meaning that we can speed up the realization of benefit by having a special purpose meeting that doesn’t need to wait for a spot on the agenda.

We’re Eager to Collaborate with You

There is no doubt these are challenging times. Collaboration and partnering has never been more important in all aspects of our lives. The Rhythm of Business is creatively addressing the challenge and ready to work with you to ensure that we make lemonade, innovating our way through this crisis.

In collaboration and partnership,

Jan and Jeff

Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman
The Rhythm of Business
Reach Jan at +1 617.851.0135 or jan@rhythmofbusiness.com
Reach Jeff at +1 508.954.2896 or jeff@rhythmofbusiness.com
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...
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...
Biopharmaceutical Alliance Management: Practices, Structure, Value
2. Thought Leadership / October 15th, 2019
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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.
Show a Little Alliance Management Love for Medical Affairs Presented at ASAP Biopharma Conference
4. News and Events / September 24th, 2019
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The 2019 ASAP Biopharma Conference is in full swing, with record attendance. The opening day included a session moderated by Jan Twombly, President, The Rhythm of Business on why collaboration between medical affairs teams in complex alliances is crucial and how alliance managers can be certain they are positioned for success, thereby increasing the likelihood the alliance will achieve its intended va...
Partnering Readiness: The Through Line from Collaborative Leadership to Collaborative Execution
1. Partnering Guide / May 31st, 2019
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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.
Closing the C-Suite's Collaboration Gap
1. Partnering Guide / December 20th, 2018
Earlier this month, we presented and recorded a webinar to expand upon our mini e-book that we wrote together with our partner Alliancesphere, Own Your Transformation: A Five-Point Agenda for Creating Your Organization’s Collaborative Leadership System. The key message of the presentation is to urge alliance professionals to take charge of closing the gap between the happy talk about the importance of partnering and the actual ability of organizations to collaborate and partner well in a digital world....
How to Tame an Octopus: Managing the Proliferation of Clinical Collaborations
1. Partnering Guide / October 15th, 2018
In 2016, former US President Jimmy Carter announced that he no longer required treatment for his metastatic melanoma that had spread to his brain and liver. After six months of being treated with the immunotherapy pembrolizumab (trade name KEYTRUDA), together with surgery and radiation therapy, doctors had seen no sign of his disease for three months. This was a remarkable development—before pembrolizumab was approved in 2011, President Carter’s cancer likely would have been fatal.

Known as a “checkpoint inhibitor” pembrolizumab and other drugs in its class work—in simplest terms—by turbocharging the body’s immune system so that it can fight cancer. Its success, and the success of other similar drugs, such as avelumab (trade name BAVENCIO), and nivolumab (trade name OPDIVO), have unleashed a tsunami of clinical collaborations to identify how using these drugs in combination might expand and extend their significant patient benefits—and maximize their value to the biopharma companies that are de...
What's Your Resourcing and Capability Roadmap? Five Recommendations for Evolving Alliance Management
2. Thought Leadership / September 27th, 2018
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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
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“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...
Coping Strategies for Overstretched Biopharma Alliance Executives
1. Partnering Guide / September 15th, 2018
It has been said by more than one executive that having too much work for her team to manage is a “high-class problem to have.”  If you buy that thinking, biopharma alliance executives have a very high-class problem to cope with!

The Rhythm of Business has interviewed over 30 alliance executives from a wide-range of biopharma, biotech, and animal health companies to understand and report on the current state of practice. Our core finding is that alliance management is here to stay in biopharma. It is viewed as a strategic capability, essential to the organization, with increasing C-Suite visibility and support.

What we’ve also learned is that alliance management teams are dealing with growing portfolios of alliances to manage along with greater technical components to their alliances. Some 86 percent of interviewees report growin...
Taming the Octopus: Managing the Web of Clinical Collaborations
4. News and Events / July 1st, 2018
Jan Twombly, president of The Rhythm of Business is joined by Judy Baselice, director, alliance management at Pfizer and Ellen Locker, executive director, alliance management Merck & Co. at the 2018 ASAP Biopharma Conference in an interactive discussion about the complex web of agreements, restrictions, and obligations resulting from the explosion of clinical collaborations to create combination therapies....
Partnering at the Speed of Business
2. Thought Leadership / April 28th, 2018
Authors: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman
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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.
 
A Turnkey Partnering Center of Excellence
5. Case Studies / February 6th, 2018
A global biopharma company with a large number of alliances and other collaborations-- academia, service providers, consortia, emerging biotechs, and other big pharma-- engaged us to create both in-person and online alliance management training and tools, customized for their portfolio and way of working....
Sometimes Success Means No More Lawsuits
5. Case Studies / December 21st, 2017
We are often called upon to develop a company’s first alliance management functio...
Into the Vortex: Leading the Power to Partner Everywhere – Presentation at Strategic Alliance Management Congress
2. Thought Leadership / May 9th, 2017
AUTHOR: Jan Twombly
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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.
The Mission Endures, The Journey Continues
1. Partnering Guide / December 23rd, 2015

AUTHOR: Jan Twombly and Jeff Shuman

As we reach the end of 2015, we can only look back at an amazing year and ahead with giddy anticipation of what 2016 will bring. This is the year we finally hit the tipping point in the transformation of business that first prompted us to begin our journey into...

A Mindset for the Biopharmaceutical Alliance Manager in the Era of Connected Ecosystems
2. Thought Leadership / December 23rd, 2015

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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...

New Whitepaper; SMART Partnering: Orchestrating Success in the Era of Connected Ecosystems, ASAP Global Summit and as Seen in Strategic Alliance Magazine
1. Partnering Guide / February 27th, 2015

AUTHOR: Jan Twombly

It is ASAP Global Summit time again and as we head to snow free and warm Orlando, Florida from the grasp of one of the two worst winters in Boston’s recorded weather history, we are excited about more than the chance to leave the snow boots and shovels at home!

At the Su...

Strategic, Entrepreneurial and Adaptable: Qualities for Alliance Success
1. Partnering Guide / November 16th, 2014

AUTHOR: Jan Twombly

I had the pleasure of moderating the ASAP New England Chapter’s event earlier this month, Alliance Management in an Age of Disruption. Our panel of cross-industry alliance professionals tackled a number of issues, including:

  • Causes of disruption in their industry...

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...

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


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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...

The Spotlight Intensifies - As Published in Strategic Alliance Magazine
2. Thought Leadership / April 3rd, 2014
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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

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

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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...

Portfolio Evaluation Tools
2. Thought Leadership / December 1st, 2011
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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

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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...

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