Every business needs an IT strategy, but not all IT plans are created equal. In a recent study, out of nearly 1,800 executives surveyed, only 14% believe their digital strategy had been successful. This leaves us wondering — what can businesses do to avoid becoming part of this statistic?
Luckily, there’s an answer, and it’s the SWOT analysis.
The SWOT analysis
The general principle behind the SWOT analysis is that it helps you understand the current state of your business, and how you can make it more profitable. In an IT context, this means understanding your IT situation and how you want it to improve.
The SWOT analysis is based on four factors:
- Strengths (S)
- Weaknesses (W)
- Opportunities (O)
- Threats (T)
To fully comprehend where your IT infrastructure is right now, and the direction you want to take it in, you should consider each of these factors in turn. So, how do you go about applying SWOT to your business?
There’s something you can offer customers that your competitors aren’t supplying. This is your unique selling point or USP. Your IT strategy should directly support your strengths. Ask:
- What’s great about your IT infrastructure?
- How does it help you build your client base?
- What you can do to ensure that your client base grows?
- How you can improve your existing IT to best support the direction you’re taking your business in?
Every business and every IT infrastructure has weaknesses. Your job is to identify and mitigate them. Consider:
- How vulnerable you are to cyber attack?
- Are you doing enough to protect sensitive and personal data?
- How are you losing sales, and if there’s anything you can do to reverse this trend? For example, perhaps a seamless cloud-based platform will let you keep track of successful sales tactics so you can apply them easily to future transactions?
Think about the gaps in the market and how you can fill them. Focus on how your IT strategy fits into this growth. Ask, for example:
- What is your customer looking for?
- Can you offer something that your competitors aren’t?
- What to do to ensure your IT infrastructure supports your expansion plans?
- Is it time to seek outside help, such as from a managed IT services provider?
You’ll want to understand the threats affecting your business. You should be asking:
- Are you doing enough to keep up with your competitors?
- Are there any new products or applications on the market which make your services obsolete, or less relevant?
- Are you keeping up with the latest cybersecurity threats affecting your business, and is there anything more you could be doing?
Once you’ve compiled your SWOT analysis, you can devise an action plan for moving your business forward. Think about how to minimize your risk exposure while maximizing your opportunities.
Finally, be sure to revise your SWOT analysis at regular intervals so that you have as complete an understanding of your company as possible.
The bottom line is that at least 35% of IT strategies fail because the strategies are insufficient for a company’s digital needs. With the SWOT analysis, you can be sure that you’re covering all the right IT bases and planning for your company’s long-term success. To find out more about SWOT and IT strategies, contact us today.