By Stacy Collett
(Jul. 19, 1999) In order to swat the competition you need to understand SWOT. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It's a way to analyze a company's or a department's position in the market in relation to its competitors. The goal is to identify all the major factors affecting competitiveness before crafting a business strategy.
SWOT identifies the internal and external factors that affect an organization. Here’s the breakdown of SWOT by internal and external variables: Internal factors
(Strengths and weaknesses)
• A corporate structure, culture and resources
"It comes from an old term from the strategic planning field," says Fred Wiersema, co-author of The Discipline of Market Leaders. Marketing gurus have taken familiar terms from old "situation analysis" principles -- like core competencies (your company's main business), liabilities (weak points that need improvement), customers and competitors -- and simply given them a catchy new acronym, according to Wiersema. "The purpose of strategy is to be really clear before you take the direction. The point of a SWOT analysis is to have the best shot at a grounded plan," says Rashi Glazer, co-director of the Center for Marketing and Technology at the University of California at Berkeley. For example, an information technology department needs to determine the strengths and weaknesses of its people and its technology. It also needs to make sure the IT strategy complements the company's business goals. The department head needs to ask: What is each staff member good at? What are they not good at? Project leaders also must consider opportunities and threats -- or customers and competitors. How attractive is the market or direction they're considering? What's their market share and...