ASAP Announces Publication of ISO Standard for Business Collaboration

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International standard provides common frameworks, standardized terminology, and assessments for business collaboration that will enable companies to create more strategic value at a faster pace and thrive amidst accelerating change.

The Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP), the world’s leading professional association dedicated to the practice of alliance management, partnering, and business collaboration, announced that the International Standards Organization (ISO) has published ISO 44001, entitled “Collaborative business relationship management systems — Requirements and framework.”

As a nonprofit, ASAP has served as the lead organization on the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Technical Advisory Group (TAG), whose members and sponsoring organizations have funded and led the effort in the US and collaborated with other national standards bodies to develop and refine the ISO 44001 international collaboration standard. ASAP’s alliance management frameworks and certification program have guided the development of the standard.

“As lead member of the US Technical Advisory Group that has worked very hard to make this standard possible, ASAP is pleased to announce the publication of the ISO 44001 standard for collaborative business relationship management,” said ASAP President and CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP, who serves as chair of the US TAG. “A disciplined, proven framework and common language enable companies to partner more quickly, with more confidence, and with more consistent strategic performance. ISO 44001 promotes common frameworks, standardized terminology, and assessments for business collaboration. ISO 44001 offers business collaboration ‘superstructure’ or ‘meta-framework’ that aligns and integrates with ASAP’s frameworks, best practices, measurement systems, and certifications.”

Publication of ISO 44001 represents the acknowledgment by many national standards bodies, leading companies, nonprofit professional organizations, and governmental agencies that collaboration has become an essential organizational capability.

“A standard raises the visibility of business collaboration and awareness that there is a process model and a set of skills for collaborating effectively,” commented Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, founder and CEO of Phoenix Consulting Group, who serves as leader of the US TAG. Several years ago, Watenpaugh worked with other ASAP members to develop ASAP’s CA-AM and CSAP certifications and she served as lead editor of “The ASAP Handbook of Alliance Management: A Practitioner’s Guide” (2013).

“One of the myths to dispel is that adopting a collaboration standard is restrictive. It’s a framework, not a hard-and-fast checklist or set of rigid procedures,” Watenpaugh emphasized. “Much like ASAP’s alliance lifecycle framework, ISO 44001 collaboration standard doesn’t tell you what to do. It says that in order to be consistently successful at managing collaboration, you ought to have a statement of purpose, an executive sponsor, governance, metrics, and an exit strategy, among other management systems.”

According to US TAG member Parth Amin, CSAP, principal of Alliance Dynamics, “The ISO 44001 standard provides several components that create the common ground needed to support business collaboration among diverse organizations and individuals in any industry, as well as government agencies, nonprofits, and academia.” These include:

  • Common Assessment—“The standard lays the foundation for a relationship maturity index by employing a maturity category for each competency. This will allow organizations to assess their own partnering and collaboration capabilities as well as those of potential and current partners,” Amin said.
  • Common Framework—“The framework allows organizations to approach partnerships and other business collaborations using a disciplined, phased based approach with defined activities and deliverables for each phase,” Amin noted.
  • Common Language—“Standardizing the terminology for business collaboration reduces the confusion both within organizations and with those organizations’ external partners,” Amin explained.

The US TAG—which also is the US delegation to ISO—includes executive representatives from diverse sponsoring organizations and companies. TAG members whose companies have provided sponsor funding for the collaboration standard development include Ron Ricci of Cisco, Ravi Rajagopal of Verizon, Nimma Bakshi of PwC, Parth Amin (formerly of funding sponsor Vision RT), and Alekzandr Zuhk of Business Relationship Management Institute (BRMI). Other members of the US TAG include Watenpaugh, Leonetti, along with Michael Young of biomedwoRX, Ann Trampas of the University of Illinois, Chicago, Bryan Stamford of BAE Systems, David Luvison of Loyola University, and Gregory Burge of California’s San Mateo County.

“The way organizations collaborate and work together might be the most important capability organizations need to survive the accelerating pace of change in the twenty-first century,” commented Ron Ricci, vice president, customer experience services, Cisco. “ISO 44001 creates a common vocabulary of collaboration, with tools and ways to work together on common goals, while recognizing and respecting the cultural and other authentic differences between people and their organizations. That’s why the simple principles in this standard are so amazing.”

Aside from the US, other countries actively involved in the development and adoption of ISO 44001 include the UK, Malaysia, Sweden, Austria, Italy, Portugal, and Finland.

About ASAP
The Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP) is the only professional association dedicated to elevating and promoting the profession of alliance management, partnerships, and collaboration. Founded in 1998, the organization provides professional development, networking, and resources for cultivating the skills and toolsets needed to manage successful business partnerships. ASAP’s professional certifications include the Certificate of Achievement-Alliance Management (CA-AM) and Certified Strategic Alliance Professional (CSAP). Active global members include Astellas, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Capgemini, Cisco, Citrix, Covance, Dell, Eli Lilly and Company, HealthCore, Huawei, IBM, INC Research, Janssen—Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Mission Pharmacal, NetApp, Novartis, Plantronics, Sanofi, SAS, Schneider Electric, Takeda, The Warren Company, and Xerox. A complete list of global members is available at

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