How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis For Digital Transformation
Initiating a digital workplace transformation can yield plenty of benefits, including a better employee experience, stronger talent acquisition and more efficient operations.
It’s not surprising, then, that digital transformation is a top priority for over two-thirds of enterprise and small-medium companies, according to a recent TechTarget survey.
So how do you map out a plan for digital transformation? The first step is to conduct a SWOT analysis.
What Is A SWOT Analysis?
A SWOT (which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis is a strategic planning tool companies use when they are considering making a major change, such as pursuing new business models or undergoing a digital transformation. Conducting a SWOT analysis usually involves creating a two-by-two grid and then placing strengths and weaknesses in the first row and opportunities and threats in the bottom squares.
A SWOT analysis enables decision-makers to gain comprehensive insight into all factors that can affect the outcome of the proposed action. It also requires organizations to base decisions on data analytics, rather than hypotheses and assumptions. A SWOT analysis helps decision-makers evaluate their company from all angles and consider different perspectives.
How To Conduct A SWOT Analysis For Your Digital Workplace
Conducting a SWOT analysis involves evaluating the four main areas in the context of your digital workplace and reflecting on your answers.
Strengths are the positive attributes of your company that allow you to operate efficiently, generate revenue and achieve business goals. This includes tangible aspects, like well-managed facilities and the latest workplace technology, and intangible aspects, such as your reputation and the skills of your workforce. Strengths are anything that gives you a competitive advantage.
When it comes to digital transformation, where is your company performing exceptionally well? For instance:
- Our workplace technology has been updated within the past year
- We have a highly skilled and innovative IT team
Weaknesses are the aspects of your company that hurt the perceived and actual value or prevent you from outperforming your competition. Examples of weaknesses hindering your digital transformation strategy include manual processes that could be automated, outdated workplace technology or difficulty managing your workplace data.
Weaknesses can also be assets, resources or attributes your company is missing. For instance:
- Employees have to navigate between too many different workplace apps throughout the day
- We don’t have an easy way to manage conference room scheduling
While strengths and weaknesses are considered internal factors, opportunities and threats are external elements that can influence the success of the change or initiative. Opportunities are factors your company can leverage to gain an advantage over competitors, such as market shifts, new cultural trends, changes to the industry or upcoming tech launches.
Within the context of a digital transformation, your greatest opportunities might be:
- Moving to cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications
- Consolidating multiple applications into one to simplify our technology stack
Threats include anything outside the organization that could negatively impact your ability to implement a digital transformation strategy. These are the elements that are out of your control. Examples of threats are new competitors entering the marketplace, service providers increasing prices, changes in the economy and new government regulations.
Examples might include:
- New data security regulations could impact our IT department
- A greater reliance on contractors in the gig economy will make it more difficult for us to predict our future office space needs
10 Questions To Guide Your SWOT Analysis
In the context of undertaking a digital transformation, here are 10 questions you can ask to help you determine where your company’s strengths and weaknesses lie:
- Is our company’s data remotely accessible to the appropriate individuals but also protected by user-level permissions?
- How flexible and scalable is our current IT infrastructure? (In other words, how easily can existing solutions be integrated with new platforms?)
- Are our core business systems hosted on premise or in the cloud?
- Do our processes and technological investments support the mobility and agility of the workforce?
- Is our company’s data secure from external and internal threats such as cybercrime and employee theft?
- Do employees appreciate the processes and technologies in the workplace or do they find them to be frustrating?
- How many different software platforms does the average employee have to use throughout the day?
- Do our primary software solutions communicate with each other?
- Does our existing technology stack enable data-driven decision-making?
- How easily can we update our workplace technology to meet our changing needs?
To identify opportunities and threats, you’ll need to conduct thorough, unbiased research about your organization, industry and market. It’s important to be honest when assessing your company’s current position and performance. Viewing your organization through rose-colored glasses will only hinder your digital transformation strategy. It’s also critical to be realistic about the possible impact of the factors you identify as threats. In other words, don’t underestimate or overestimate their potential effect.
Once you’ve decided your workplace is in need of a digital transformation, a SWOT analysis is an excellent way to guarantee you start on the right foot. Be sure your SWOT team consists of a variety of individuals across the organization, including mid-level employees as well as members of the executive team. More diverse knowledge and experience will help ensure you don’t overlook anything and increases your chances of success.
Want a shortcut to identifying your workplace technology needs? Check out our agile workplace blueprint.