Tipping Point. A concept that describes the point at which an issue, idea, practice, or technology reaches critical mass of acceptance and gains momentum toward widespread adoption. Partnering as a core component of corporate strategy has achieved this point and has rounded the corner, with significant momentum to embed it as truly an equal and in some instances a preferred strategic choice.
With this strategic posture comes the need for an evolution in alliance management from a function, often comprised of a collection of individual contributors handling certain of a company’s external partnerships and business collaborations to a core component of an organizational partnering capability.
The goal of a partnering capability is that throughout the organization, partnered projects are not met with unnecessary friction and hurdles; that the activities and rhythms of an alliance—which must operate within the constraints of two or more partners’ strategies, structures, cultures, and processes—are incorporated into and aligned with a company’s solo activities and rhythms with ease and agility. This capability must be integrated with corporate and therapeutic area strategies, aligned with geographic priorities, and a core pillar of the company’s leadership system.
Accordingly, alliance professionals cannot do this alone. However, they can and should play a leading role.
This paper describes the alliance management component of this capability and how to build it within a typical biopharma environment. It offers insights gleaned from our work with several companies currently on the journey. It does not address the upfront business development activity that is responsible for finding and negotiating with research, development, and commercial partners, nor does it address the strategic sourcing that occurs with key service partners.
The time is now. The alliance management profession cannot wait to take this step.