451 Research Insight: Removing Key Roadblocks to Strategy Execution

451 Research Insight: Removing Key Roadblocks to Strategy Execution

June 25, 2020
Written by

Steven Duque

Published on

June 25, 2020

451 Research (Part of S&P Global Market Intelligence)

What the Enterprise is Saying: Roadblocks to Strategy Execution

Source: 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise: Workforce Productivity & Collaboration, Work Execution Goals & Challenges 2020


Managing people resources effectively
Delivering on time
Lack of alignment between departments
Collaborating effectively
Staying within budget


Managing people resources effectively
Lack of alignment between departments
Delivering on time
Preventing scope creep
Clearly defining goals up front

In a Livecast hosted today by 451 Research (part of S&P Global Market Intelligence), Senior Analyst Conner Forrest unpacks insights from recent research across 451’s proprietary panels of enterprise leaders. He also shares 451’s perspective on how this research aligns with the Catalant Platform and Expert Marketplace. In the charts above, Forrest surfaces a staggering data point: the biggest roadblock to strategy execution is managing people and resources effectively, both at the organizational and departmental levels.

The cited research focuses on common struggles with managing projects and programs, premised on the notion that effective project and program management is one of the primary ways for leaders to get buy-in on their plans and ensure that they are actionable.

Importantly, the implications for leaders at the organizational level are different from those at the departmental level. These differences hinge on their breadth of scope. At the organizational level, leaders have broader purviews, with cross-departmental or cross-functional programs that are comprised of multiple projects. At the departmental level, leaders are more likely to be focused on task-oriented projects.

Missed the LiveCast?

Watch the full recording of the 451 Research Livecast, and download a recent analyst report about Catalant.


How do organizations struggle with managing people and resources effectively? 

Given their broader purviews, it likely comes as no surprise that organizational leaders find it challenging to align their workforces with the work that needs to get done.

Why is aligning the right people with strategic work so important?

Labor costs account for as much as 70% of a company’s total costs; most companies’ solutions for aligning strategic work and workforces take too long, cost too much, and are too hard to use. These costs are too great for workforce alignment to only be the concern of human resources. That’s why business leaders, transformation leaders, and enterprise PMO leaders are increasingly taking greater accountability for what, financially, should clearly be a high priority for the business.

One issue that exacerbates the challenge is that companies lack the internal visibility required to effectively execute their strategies. It’s the visibility to know what needs to be done and how it will get done. It’s the visibility to get the right people, both inside and outside of the company, working on the right projects. It’s the visibility to understand how to improve how it all gets done. It’s the visibility to enable operational clarity.

As it stands, most enterprise leaders have no visibility into what work is being executed, whether the work that’s happening is moving forward, what value the work is driving, who’s doing the work, whether those people are the right people for the work, and whether those people are engaged and productive. Basic visibility — not to mention operational clarity — is even more difficult to obtain in a world where most of an organization’s workforce is remote and geographically distributed, a reality that many organizations face in light of the ongoing public health crisis.

How do departments struggle with managing people and resources effectively? 

Given their more project-oriented purviews, it’s likely equally unsurprising that, when it comes to managing people resources effectively, departmental leaders are more often focused simply on having the right skills and capabilities to effectively execute work.

Even as organizations seek to keep costs down, critical strategic work must continue, and much of that weight will fall to those executing the work inside of departments. As these leaders face increased pressure to operate leanly — including reducing fixed labor costs associated with full-time employees — many are determining that traditional employment models aren’t well-suited for flexibly meeting the demands of a world in flux.

Separately, traditional sources of strategic external resourcing support, like consulting firms, aren’t necessarily right-sized for the work that many companies need right now. Their ways of working, like camping out in clients’ offices, also aren’t conducive with an increasingly digital workplace.

Tools for strategy execution in the new normal

As organizations and departments enter states of recovery and reinvention, there are two ways that they can partner with Catalant to effectively execute their strategic work, aligned with the specific challenges outlined above. The solutions below aren’t mutually exclusive to organizations and departments, but the problems that they solve are consistently observed across leaders at those levels.

Organizations: The Catalant Platform

Software-as-a-Service to align your workforce with your strategic objectives

Departments: Expert Marketplace

On-demand resources to variabilize workforce — and fill skills & capacity gaps

Cost Comparisons

Cost Comparison | Full-Time Employees (FTEs) vs. Catalant Expert Marketplace

Full-Time Employees vs. the Catalant Expert Marketplace

Traditional employment models aren’t well suited for flexibly meeting the demands of a world in flux. Widespread uncertainty and volatile markets are compelling leaders to reduce and variabilize fixed labor costs.

Consulting Firms Cost Comparison | Catalant

Traditional Consulting Firms vs. the Catalant Expert Marketplace

Traditional consulting firms aren’t right-sized for the work many companies need right now, and can no longer camp out in clients’ offices due to public health concerns and an increasingly digital workplace.

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