Business strategy is the cohesive group of decisions an enterprise takes in order to gain a competitive edge.
It’s a long, complex journey of small decisions as well as large, made in a rapidly changing environment that acknowledges the organisation’s natural rhythm and leadership qualities.
Strategic planning and execution are complicated by high levels of economic volatility across the globe.
Challenge Advisory has the tools, experience, expertise, and insights to support our clients throughout their strategic journey.
What We Do
Challenge Advisory’s strategy consulting identifies trends in the market that will have a substantial impact should they be properly exploited; paying special attention to the economic trends that will have the largest effect on the global business environment over the next decade. By comparing the client’s growth with that of their competitors and providing a benchmark for further development, we also help to identify new opportunities for growth.
Challenge Advisory’s strategy practice team collectively has over five decades of experience in developing strong strategies for various clients in a wide range of industries. We identify trends in the market that will have a substantial impact should they be properly exploited; paying special attention to the economic trends that will have the largest effect on the global business environment over the next decade. By comparing the client’s growth with that of their competitors and providing a benchmark for further development, opportunities for growth are also identified. Challenge Advisory can also develop the client’s creative discipline, allowing for new innovation and helping to transform nascent ideas into commercially viable plans.
We help clients to design, test, refine and implement strategies, using our deep knowledge and expertise to thoroughly test new initiatives to ensure that they are up to task. By improving strategic planning processes and optimising resource allocation, Challenge Advisory can improve the decision-making skills of their clients that leads to greater satisfaction when making business decisions. Finally, in an effort to create solutions that have value with all stakeholders, Challenge Advisory’s strategy practice team assists clients in communicating effectively with regulators, the government and their various stakeholders.
We help to develop the client’s creative discipline, allowing for new innovation and helping to transform nascent ideas into commercially viable plans. We can help clients to design, test, refine and implement strategies, using our deep knowledge and expertise to thoroughly test new initiatives to ensure that they are up to task, with performance metrics to assess the effectiveness of these strategies.
What are the sources of corporate growth? According to our analysis of more than 750 companies around the world, a large company’s top-line growth is driven mainly by market growth in the sub-sectors and product categories where it competes and by the revenues obtained from acquiring other companies. Surprisingly, a third source of growth, the gain or loss of market share, explains only around 20 percent of the difference in the growth performance of companies. These findings suggest that executives ought to complement the traditional focus on execution and market share with more attention to where a company is—and should be—competing.
We help companies identify where to compete and support them as they design and execute strategies to capture those growth opportunities. In analysing opportunities, we have found that applying broad terms such as “growth industry” and “mature industry,” while time honoured and convenient, can prove imprecise or even downright wrong. Many so-called growth industries, such as high tech, include segments that are not growing at all. At the same time, industries that most consider mature, such as consumer goods, often have segments that are growing rapidly. In many cases, perspectives on growth are created by averaging out the different growth rates in an industry’s segments and subsegments, which creates a misleading view of growth prospects.
Our approach combines insights on the factors crucial for successful globalization with a detailed understanding of local markets to help clients worldwide make choices about expanding abroad, understand and operate successfully in new markets, and expand their business networks. Perhaps nowhere is this strategy more important than in emerging markets. Most multinational corporations consider emerging markets just as critical to their long-term success as the United States or Europe, and they are re-setting their aspirations and strategies accordingly. At the same time, more and more companies based in emerging markets are pursuing growth opportunities abroad. At the moment, the latter group is doing better: revenues for businesses based in emerging markets are growing more quickly everywhere—in developed markets, in their home markets, and especially in other emerging markets.
Companies face a multitude of challenges when designing and executing corporate strategies. Many fail to distinguish a strategic review from the annual budgeting process, or lack adequate processes for strategic planning. We have a set of core capabilities and tools that can help clients strengthen their strategies at the enterprise level.
Strategic portfolio management requires companies to generate growth through investment in existing businesses, developing or acquiring new businesses, and exiting unprofitable ones. Doing so effectively requires taking a comprehensive approach to resource allocation. We help clients define an optimal portfolio mix by looking closely at their current mix of assets, their capabilities, and their aspirations in light of the evolving marketplace.
A critical part of enhancing the planning process is improving overall strategic decision-making capabilities. Left unchecked, subconscious biases such as excessive optimism, groupthink, and loss aversion will undermine strategic decision-making. Our own recent quantitative survey of more than 2,000 executives, as well as our candid conversations with corporate leaders, confirms the significant body of research indicating that cognitive biases affect critical strategic decisions made by even the most experienced managers in the best companies. Behavioural strategy provides a perspective on—and a way to mitigate the impact of—the biases that are often inherent in clients’ decision-making processes.
Business Unit Strategy - Challenge Advisory helps clients develop their strategic plans by testing them against our strenuous criteria, allowing for greater innovation and development and ensuring that our strategies gain a competitive advantage.
Corporate Strategy - Challenge Advisory develops strategic direction for corporate clients, supported by coordinated business plans and reallocation of resources. We also advise civil societes; streamlining strategic planning to benefit executive teams.
Global Forces - Challenge Advisory helps to manage uncertainty, employ detailed scenario techniques to envision future outcomes and help to construct long term plans designed to entrench long-term macroeconomic insights.
Growth - Challenge Advisory assists clients in drawing up detailed and effective strategies to exploit every growth opportunity. We combine insights on globalisation with an understanding of local markets to help international expansion.
Innovation - Challenge Advisory assists clients in identifying strategic areas in which to innovate effectively by setting financial targets and redefining performance metrics, building scalable, effective processes that are essential to innovation.
Regulatory Strategy - Challenge Advisory collaborates with clients in order to manage the external environment, utilising organisation techniques, prioritisation and mobilisation to work with lobby groups, governments and regulators more effectively.
Business Unit Strategy.
Successful Business Strategy is often defined by the “Ten Timeless Tests” for Strategy. For any initiative to be successful, meeting these ten criteria will be vital.
Will Your Strategy Beat The Market?
We find that many so-called strategies are directed more toward “just playing along” than to overcoming the true power of market forces.
Does The Strategy Tap The True Source Of Advantage?
Do you know why your company is successful? We go beyond superficial explanations to ensure that strategic decisions are built on a solid platform of positional and proprietary advantages.
Is The Strategy Granular About Where To Compete?
We have discovered that winning players systematically out-position themselves by making better and more granular choices about where to compete, and by following through with resource allocations that translate those choices into reality. In other words, which market to choose is usually more important than how much market share.
Does The Strategy Put The Enterprise Ahead Of Trends And Discontinuities?
At its most basic, strategy is about seeing the writing on the wall and responding to it. Our trend-finder database is a way to rapidly scan the globe for the key trends.
Does The Strategy Embed Privileged Insight And Foresight?
Do you see something or know something others don’t? If not, it will be hard to beat the market. Common math applied to common data will yield common wisdom.
Is Uncertainty Properly Defined And Accounted For?
In these volatile times, we need no reminder that the world is uncertain. Is your strategy designed for multiple future scenarios or is it a bet on a “base case”?
Does The Strategy Balance High-commitment Choices With Flexibility And Learning?
Great strategists know that one of the most important decisions is “when to compete.” Our strategy methodology produces a portfolio of moves that allows your company to develop a winning formula over time.
Have Alternatives Been Evaluated Without Bias Or False Inference?
The best analysis will not add value if the decision making is flawed. However, all people have biases in drawing conclusions from data. We use methods that help counteract these biases and increase the quality of decision making.
Is There True Conviction To Act?
A new strategy demands new thinking and new beliefs, and must be incorporated early in the strategy process, because adults learn mostly by self-discovery.
Is The Strategy Translated Into Clear Actions And Reallocation Of Resources?
Have you gone beyond vague statements of intent toward a strategy than can be driven down the line? A strategy is only implemented when resources move and pivotal roles behave differently.
We have methodologies for identifying, prioritizing, and quantifying the impact of trends—both at the macro level and at the industry level—and useful techniques for helping companies integrate them into their business strategies. We have sophisticated futuring and scenario techniques to help clients imagine future outcomes and then incorporate those insights into tangible business decisions.
Our toolkit for managing uncertainty offers a scenario-based approach to identifying uncertainties, prioritizing for impact, and preparing for alternative futures. We also offer “first look” white papers on critical topics and one-on-one discussions with our crisis experts.
The Global Growth Model provides both global and national outlooks for more than 100 countries by combining an unsurpassed database of macroeconomic historical data, a long-term global scenario-planning tool, and local insights provided by our firm’s experts worldwide. This model helps clients embed long-term macroeconomic insights into their strategic plans.
New regulation can put value at risk, but it can also create new opportunities through programs such as stimulus packages or government subsidies. A rigorous and quantified assessment of the value at stake from these risks and opportunities—over both the short and long term—is critical to prioritize an organization’s outreach efforts. We help our clients quickly identify and understand the key regulatory issues that may affect their industry, leveraging in-depth understanding of the profit pools in the industry as well as unique insights into the levers that government and regulators might consider implementing in their sector.
To execute the strategy, companies must proactively engage with a broad range of stakeholders—regulators, consumers, media, and shareholders. We help clients identify critical stakeholders, understand their overt and obscure agendas and priorities, and map out each group’s influence within the decision-making process. We help stakeholders move away from an “I win, you lose” mentality, instead creating a collaborative environment that is conducive to trade-offs and “win-win” solutions. We help clients translate their positions into messages that will be credible and compelling to the relevant audience, presented in formats ranging from detailed position papers to short “political” factoids.
Implementing an external-affairs strategy requires organizational momentum and drive, and top-management involvement is often critical to success. We help clients raise the profile of the corporate affairs/external affairs function commensurate with the value at stake. We’ve developed practices and processes to create cross-functional momentum around issues with significant value at stake. This includes allocating sufficient resources, recruiting the right talent to the team, and putting in place processes to ensure that stakeholder engagement actively supports the strategic priorities.
We support clients as they develop a clear innovation strategy that meets their business-growth targets and strategic objectives. We do this by helping clients set financial targets related to innovation, define metrics to measure performance, and identify strategic areas on which to focus investments.
Innovation depends in part on a company’s ability to get better, more profitable ideas into its pipeline. We help clients identify the areas of their business that are ripe for innovation, and mine those areas for ideas. We then support them in rapid prototyping and business-case development to quickly build those ideas into profitable businesses. We also help clients reap the benefits of “open innovation,” positioning them to look beyond their own boundaries to gain access to ideas, knowledge, and technology that add to the value of their own resources.
We have a variety of exclusive approaches for helping clients get higher returns from their investments in research through better execution. Using proprietary benchmarks along with in-depth diagnostic tools and capability-building methodologies, we support clients in improving and sustaining the productivity of their R&D functions. We also help clients build the types of repeatable, error-free, scalable processes that are necessary for both incremental and breakthrough innovation.
To create an environment that promotes innovation, we help clients motivate talent by organising people in the right roles and then arming them with the tools to be successful. We help clients design an organisational structure to execute their specific R&D strategy, addressing issues such as talent management and development, culture change, global collaboration, performance management, external collaboration models, and the role of research and development (R&D) leadership.
How Can We Help?
Challenge Advisory’s strategy team helps clients to gain competitive advantages by implementing an integrated set of actions that will exploit the nuances of the client’s chosen market. Successful strategy involves combining small and large decisions made in an external business environment that is constantly changing and evolving. Our clients look to us to provide strategic planning and execution that provides a significant competitive advantage.
Head of Global Strategy