StrategyBlocks has been helping organizations overcome the barriers to strategic planning and execution for over 15 years by tackling strategy in a novel way – using a visual system of blocks that makes it easy to not only see progress in real time, but build necessary reports for company executives and the Board. In this interview with TechBullion, Craig Catley, Managing Director for StrategyBlocks, will discuss the mission at StrategyBlocks and why strategic planning is shifting to real time.
Please give us a brief introduction of yourself.
I’m Craig Catley, Managing Director for StrategyBlocks, and I’m based in Wellington. I have over 20 years of enterprise software sales and marketing leadership experience and am now leveraging that to help StrategyBlocks continue to grow.
What is the main purpose of StrategyBlocks and what products/solutions do you provide?
StrategyBlocks is the leading cloud-based solution for strategic planning, portfolio management and execution. We just launched StrategyBlocks 6, the latest iteration of our enterprise strategic management platform. The platform integrates all facets of strategic planning into one, highly visual platform, empowering companies to have better communication, easier reporting and more agility in strategic planning — all vital in the constantly-changing times businesses are facing.
Could you give us an overview of the strategic planning and execution market and why there is a demand for StrategyBlocks?
Strategic planning used to be a once-a-year or longer process. That’s no longer the case. Strategic planning is now a year-round process — but even before this transition happened, less than one-third of leaders responsible for executing strategy within the organization could list three of their company’s strategic priorities, and only 14% of employees understood their company’s strategy. StrategyBlocks addresses those concerns and more by centralizing strategic planning, management and execution into one platform that’s easy to use.
Can you explain how your visual system of blocks works for strategic planning and what makes it special?
Our cascading block system is a critical feature in the centralization of all related strategic information, the delivery of work, achievement of outcomes and potential for risk for any given part of a strategic initiative or the enterprise as a whole. The blocks collate both qualitative and quantitative data and update in real time — making it easier for anyone to check in on progress while removing redundancies. Most importantly, however, is how customizable the platform is for each individual user. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to strategy, and the block system allows a company – and the user – to build what suits them best.
How long has StrategyBlocks been helping organizations with strategic planning and execution, any success stories you would like to share with us?
We have been in business for 10 years and have won 12 awards for our innovative approach to strategic planning. One of our successes is working with the city of Kelowna in British Columbia. It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the province, and we are proud to help them work towards the strategic goals in their City Strategy Plan.
Are there any specific barriers that StrategyBlocks can help companies overcome in their strategic planning process, what can clients expect?
There are a number of strategic challenges for businesses — including figuring out what their goals are, what strategies they plan to deploy to reach those goals, how to monitor progress, how to incorporate new ideas, how to keep everything updated and how to effectively communicate to all stakeholders. StrategyBlocks is designed to address all of these challenges and more by centralizing critical information in one place. Clients can expect an intuitive, easy-to-use platform — and we do offer demos as well.
When will the new version of the cloud-based platform be released and what is special in the new software?
We have just released version 6 of the StrategyBlocks platform. We have overhauled the interface and added the homepage to offer users greater clarity and ease of use. In addition, we have a new component, StrategyBlocks Ideas. SB Ideas empowers users to easily share their thoughts for strategic improvements with the entire team, review others’ Ideas and follow progress, compare different Ideas and approve Ideas for integration into the overall strategic plan — all within the same platform that they’re already using for strategic planning.
What type of reports can be generated using the StrategyBlocks platform, could you give us a walkthrough of the platform and how it works?
Reports for executives and the board can often take up a significant amount of time and could require tracking down data, metrics, reports and other information from multiple sources — then transforming all of that into something easily digestible for stakeholders who may have limited time. StrategyBlocks can generate reports and dashboards that track progress and performance towards key metrics (both qualitative and quantitative), risk management and more. Check out the video for more!
Is there a free trial available for potential customers to test out the platform, and does your company offer any additional support for companies looking to enhance their strategic planning?
And Yes! We take a multi-phase approach to implementing our technology with a client. We begin with the Discovery Meeting, where we work to understand their strategic vision. After that comes the Onboarding Workshop to create an initial strategy map. We then integrate our technology in, using our Metrics Zone platform for automated data integration. Finally, we offer additional training and support to ensure our clients get the most out of our platform.
We offer StrategyBlocks Builder as a complementary tool, which uses an interactive visual approach to help users to test their strategic vision and formulate a concise set of strategic goals, and it integrates with StrategyBlocks. We also offer StrategyBlocks Metrics Zone to fill a specific gap in the information supply chain — offering a pre-built strategic scorecard and hub, presenting the key business metrics needed to support a defined strategic outcome and updated in real-time.
We also offer clients the professional services required to develop their strategic plan, assist in rolling it out across the enterprise, and maintain its accuracy.