Finding what matters – not just more information

SWOT analysis business strategy management process concept diagram illustration

We’re drowning in information. It pours into our email inbox, and, thanks to Google and other DIY search tools, the answers to our questions are just a few clicks away. Or are they?

What happens after we finish our search? Sometimes a collection of “answers” isn’t what we need. What we really crave is meaning – insights into what matters in the information. What’s important to you or your clients? What decisions can be made or actions taken based on your findings?

Analyzing the information we pull from the internet or through interviews is a big task. Fortunately, there are tools that can help. Analysis frameworks such as SWOT and PEST elevate your findings from data dump to actionable information.

If your job involves information analysis, I highly recommend these two resources for learning about the different frameworks and to guide you through the process:

Strategic Analysis Tools: Topic Gateway Series No. 34, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants – A quick overview of seven analytical methods, this covers the basics and some of the pitfalls of each.

Business and Competitive Analysis: Effective Application of New and Classical Methods, by Craig Fleisher & Babette Bensoussan – This one digs deeper and includes how to select the right analysis tool and, for each, clear descriptions, context, rationales, strengths/weaknesses, step-by-step instructions, worksheets, and more.

Any others?

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