It’s SWOT Analysis, not Competitive Intelligence

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It’s a SWOT Analysis, not Competitive Intelligence. What we mean by this that SWOT Analysis is just one tool within Competitive Intelligence. It’s not the only tool.

The SWOT analysis can be a relatively dry (but essential) part of a strategic process. However, there is a danger that SWOT is given just lip service, which ends up lowering the exercise’s validity. SWOT is a useful tool, but it’s nearly always done wrong.

Quick and dirty

Remember SWOT Analysis looks at an organisation’s current situation. It’s challenging to make SWOT look to the future. Businesses should already know where they now. And in our experience analysis is always done without any actual Competitive Intelligence.

So we end up trying to predict the future based on your current landscape. Without actually looking at future trends, the disruptive technologies and future-looking competitor intelligence profiles. Insight derived from managers experience. And anecdotal snippets from what Georgina was told by the sales manager who got it from his client Mike in the pub. (Remember them!)

Vague internal opinions

Before taking a pen out to write “Strengths” on the whiteboard, look at the competitive landscape. In terms of strategic trends and expert forecasts. Systems, products and services on offer, future technology changes. Understand what the implications will have on a business. And then build possible future scenarios.

STEEP Analysis

Look at what’s happening within the macroeconomic environment. Build market assessments of the areas they currently work in and want to expand into.

Now they have all this Intelligence by their side. How can they make SWOT analysis work for them? If they follow the following seven steps, and they will create a more helpful and living document.

Encourage self-criticism

Recognise there are two distinct parts. The SW part of SWOT is like looking through a microscope at the organisation itself. The OT part of SWOT is looking through a telescope at the outside world. Make sure people think in these terms when doing the brainstorming.

Don’t settle for the obvious

Break into groups. Rather than having the entire team do the full SWOT brainstorm, set out four tables. And work in small teams to generate the information. If you wish, have the teams rotate to different tables to view the other groups’ work and add to it.

Cognitive bias

Clearly document the SWOT along with any required actions. Do not hide the finished work. Use it to create the strategy, and then use the items to track progress. A SWOT should be considered a living document with items changing all the time. Don’t think of it as a clay tablet for the archives.

Have some fun. If you really want people to get creative, combine the SWOT with fun activities. So the work seems satisfying and playful rather than a tedious chore that must be done.


About Octopus Intelligence

We understand we live in an uncertain, competitive and ever-shifting world. And what you need is an active real-world business development strategy.

The UK based Competitive Analysis consultants with a global client base. Offering Competitive intelligence-based growth-focused actions. To answer the what and the how for the now and the next.

We help you beat competitors, increase sales and be disruptive. Enter new markets and make decisions based on greater certainty — not guesswork or assumption. As Competitor Analysis and Market Intelligence consultants, we offer Strategic Intelligence. Competitive Intelligence and background checking.

We are Octopus, the global Competitive Intelligence company.

We help you beat your competitors, increase revenue, protect equity investments, reduce uncertainty and risk with Competitive Intelligence & Due Diligence

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