A Return To Growth
Innovation and growth are on the minds of business leaders as the economy appears to have stabilized enough to allow for targeted investments back into growth opportunities.
The data from our platform, based primarily on projects from the Fortune 1000, consulting firms, and private equity firms and their respective portfolio companies, reveals that companies are spending more time on digital transformation, sales, and marketing strategies. Coupled with the rise in AI-focused projects, leaders are looking to capitalize on opportunities for scale, optimization, and growth.
This month, our data reveals stories about:
- Return to growth
- A preference for AI practitioners over AI strategy reports
- Big consulting fatigue (and a new Catalant offering)
Organizations turn to growth and white space opportunities again.
Historically, marketing strategy, sales, and digital transformation projects together comprise about 18% of the total project activity on Catalant’s platform. Today, that composition has increased to average 22% of all projects this year, and in August, was as high as 30%.
What kind of projects are these? Here’s what we’re seeing:
- A large retailer known for in-store excellence sought an experienced project manager to help facilitate dozens of new and ongoing projects to enhance the digital consumer experience. The independent consultant they chose had 15 years of project management and digital technical expertise.
- A PE-backed beauty brand wanted to expand digital sales channels to include FBA on Amazon and needed support to launch the products and lead the technical integration for ordering, delivery, and financial reconciliation. The independent consultant had 10+ years of experience in ecommerce and digital marketing at both Target and Amazon.
- A large food and beverage company was interested in international expansion and sought an independent consultant from Catalant to develop a strategic revenue growth management framework. The consultant embedded the framework into the organization to enable ongoing iteration and growth organization-wide.
Practical expertise in AI preferred for organizations adopting the technology.
Investments in AI aren’t novel, but with recent advancements in the technology, organizations are seeking ways to capitalize on new opportunities. Over the last twelve months, we’ve seen a rise in the number of independent consultants on the platform with hands-on AI experience.
Our clients are seeking out and working directly with AI practitioners over generalist AI advice from larger consulting firms. Why? Clients find direct knowledge of the practical implementation of generative AI more valuable than summary research reports. And as Jon Younger recently noted in Forbes, independent consultants themselves are adopting AI to boost their own practices, in addition to helping clients apply it to problems.
So how are clients exploring the use of AI technology today? Here are a few project examples:
- A large technology company is exploring applying AI to predictive modeling, as well as for customer service and support.
- The shared services group of a large retailer is looking to use ChatGPT as a co-pilot to improve speed on certain tasks.
- A global VP at a large conglomerate is looking for a way to scale AI across operations in every business unit to streamline data and workflows.
- A consulting firm is looking for a data scientist to support the implementation of an embedded AI pilot to test and demonstrate value across the client’s business.
- A PE firm is bringing on an independent consultant to develop the technical specifications of an innovative AI solution, project manage the development of the product, and support technical enablement for sellers.
Spotlight on AI Experts
Former AI lead at Jasper and DataRobot, former McKinsey and Obama Administration, lecturer at University of Chicago
Leader at data & digital strategy firm, led Digital Process Modernization practice at Deloitte, led GTM for Intelligent Automation at Capgemini
Pressure on consulting spend leads to “big consulting” fatigue.
Clients tell us that the pressure to reduce traditional consulting spend is leading to “MBB fatigue.” More clients are turning to Catalant to compose custom teams of seasoned ex-consultants with deep operating expertise to bring practical solutions to operational and transformation work instead of tapping big consulting partners.
Catalant has been building teams of ex-consultants and operators for some time, but lately, we’ve seen a drastic increase in demand for an alternative to traditional consulting where clients can benefit from more seasoned operators who also have prior consulting experience. Historically, team engagements had been more focused on operational and transformation work
Additionally, we recently partnered with Bill Achtmeyer’s team at Acropolis Advisors to offer C-suite strategic advisory services. The partnership team at Acropolis leads the strategy engagement coupled with Catalant’s team of seasoned ex-MBB consultants with relevant industry experience. As Bill notes, “Because Catalant’s independent consultants are available on-demand and we can modify the team to fit the requirements as the project evolves, Acropolis can give the client higher quality output in a shorter time period.”