Monday, September 30, 2013

Data SWOT’ing

A SWOT analysis is a structured planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture [wikipedia]. I probably share the view with many by stating that it is useful in assessing many situations (business or otherwise), by helping you focus on the different aspects of your environment and your relative position to them. This in turn helps you decide what you should do next to progress towards your chosen goals.

A Data SWOT is really about looking at your data assets. Instead of asking how your business is positioned in its environment, we take a specific angle of asking what is the relative position of your data compared to the same type of data in your environment.

For example: If you have a strong and up-to-date customer information set in your newspaper delivery business, you might come to realize an opportunity to sell your updated data to other local vendors. You could sell the updates for a fee, and let other service providers (who are entitled to this information) reduce their cost in updating their customer information. You can also take this one level further, and build an agreement with (almost) all the providers, and agree on a process to mutually update each other when customer information changes. This might reduce all vendors’ individual costs and will make the customers happy as well, since they will only need to update their details once.

This is of course nothing new! Risk management information providers have been using this model for quite some time, sharing data about customer credit rating and so forth.
The point is this: With a Data SWOT analysis you can identify ways to increase the value realization of your data, or plug holes in poor quality data.

Now taking this one step further: what other business tools, or management methodologies / models etc. can / do you use to create an information-centric perspective on your business?

And until then - happy SWOT’ing…

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