Alliance Management Expertise, Partnering Frameworks and Tools, Collaborative Leadership

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.

Getting to “Happy-Happy”

The synergy equation of 1+1=3 is an axiom of partnering, implying that the goal is to create value that cannot be achieved alone. Sweden’s BioArctic takes it a step further, looking to achieve the state of “happy-happy” with their partners. This next generation of the classic win-win focuses on “satisfaction, relationship, the cooperation, and the future.”[1] It is a way of getting to an agreement that is open, transparent, non-competitive, and assumes that each party gets what it wants by helping the other parties to the relationship get what they want. This “give and get logic” is the essence of collaboration; core to how to create, deliver, and capture true value in an alliance. As BioArctic’s project leader explains, “It is important to listen to the partner and understand what they need to get to the happy-happy for the alliance.”

...
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 matters mo...
Digitize Your Alliance Management Practice to Provide Visibility, Promote Agility, and Create Value
1. Partnering Guide / June 30th, 2020
This is the first in a series of posts from allianceboard, a next generation alliance management platform and The Rhythm of Business on why the time has come to digitize your practice to drive value for stakeholders, your partners, and you.

The Time to Digitize is Now

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

...
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 EDT.

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

Even before...
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 management context...
Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability--Part Two of Four
1. Partnering Guide / March 14th, 2020
This is Part Two of a Four Part post on adapting and applying certain principles of agile management as a means of meeting the increased demand for alliance management services as the scale, scope, and complexity of biopharmaceutical asset, service, digital, and data alliances and partnerships grows.

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


Read Part One of Reimagining Alliance Management as an Agile Capability

Practice Component 1:  Resourcing the Portfolio

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

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

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


Practice Component 2:  Increasing the Agility of Alliance Management Practices 
 

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

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

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

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

...
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]

Lately...
Biopharmaceutical Alliance Management: Practices, Structure, Value
2. Thought Leadership / October 15th, 2019
Download the pdf

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

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the core functions of biopharma alliance management to executives and practitioners new to the discipline. It discusses the core responsibilities, as well as provides guidance on resourcing strategies and the structure and organization of an alliance management function. While not exhaustive, it provides a roadmap to get started pursuing what is one of the most interesting, challenging, and essential jobs in business today.
Show a Little Alliance Management Love for Medical Affairs Presented at ASAP Biopharma Conference
4. News and Events / September 24th, 2019
Download a pdf of presentation

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 value...
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