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SWOT’s Corner An interactive tutorial on SWOT analysis.

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1 SWOT’s Corner An interactive tutorial on SWOT analysis

2 So we all know what SWOT is? Right! We all know that a SWOT analysis is a scan of the internal and external environment as part of the strategic planning process and that SWOT stands for Strengths Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. But actually! Most people miss the important second half of the process which involves transforming the initial analysis into change strategies AND not everyone appreciates that Strengths-Weaknesses relate to the Internal environment and Opportunities-Threats to the External environment

3 A SWOT Analysis answers: 1.“What are the key issues that face us today?” 2.“How do we address these issues?” Most people use SWOT for question 1 but it is often overlooked for question 2.

4 Let us demonstrate! You are Library Services Manager for Glamchester NHS Trust. Your mission (whether or not you chose to accept it!) is to positively contribute to the health of the community by providing current, comprehensive, quality, accessible, timely information for all Trust healthcare professionals and their customers. The Trust Library serves all employees of the Trust and staff of local general practices. By addressing professional practice, education and research, the Library fits within the mission of the Glamchester NHS Trust which is to provide modern high quality health care for the people of Glamchester. To fulfil this mission, the Library must prioritise the needs of its user community. This community comprises disparate groups with very different interests, requiring diverse services. Such services must be provided within a cost-effective framework.

5 Key Strategic Objectives To improve library services for non-medical professional groups To foster co-operative initiatives with other library services within Glamchestershire and within the Acme, Glamchestershire and Northern Wellshire Education Purchasing Consortium To promote Trust-wide awareness of library services and resources To collaborate with other NHS library managers to plan effectively for countywide changes to library services To deliver value-added services to the desktop and to assist in transition to the virtual library To develop a needs-led staff development programme

6 The SWOT analysis STRENGTHSWEAKNESSES OPPORTUNITIESTHREATS

7 We start by analysing our Strengths

8 Strengths - 24 hour access to specialist resources - Expertise and experience of Library staff - Strong links with other departments within the Trust - Enhanced IT facilities - Wide-ranging support for the Library from various professional groups - Networked resources enabling home and work-based access to evidence - Well-used Library web site - Co-operative links with other health librarians in the county, consortium area, region and UK - Sharing and mutual support through library networks - Pleasant, comfortable environment for staff and users

9 Then we turn attention to our weaknesses

10 Weaknesses Complex funding mechanisms Lack of funding to support nurses and PAMs Underdeveloped skills amongst library staff Poorly maintained and out-of-date stock Low awareness of services across potential user base Staff-intensive manual systems Inequalities in service provision Lack of user involvement in service development

11 Note: Our weaknesses may be linked to our strengths So, for example, we have expertise and experience of library staff but we also find that there are underdeveloped skills amongst library staff

12 That completes our scan of our INTERNAL environment We now turn our attention outwards to the EXTERNAL environment to see how our organisation is positioned with regard to current developments and initiatives

13 Our EXTERNAL Environment You will notice that our STEP/PEST analysis has already identified these external factors. What we are adding here is to turn these from factors to which we passively respond into active stimulants on our service. We therefore add a value according to whether they are potentially positive or negative. Negative aspects of PEST become THREATS Positive aspects of PEST become OPPORTUNITIES

14 Now consider our Threats

15 Note: There is no dogmatic reason why you have to look at your Threats before your Opportunities. However we find it helpful to conclude on a positive note* and thus allow thinking on Opportunities to be stimulated by the results of the other three cells. * Python, M. “Always look on the bright side of life”

16 Threats –Internet and IT enable potential users to bypass the Library –Competition from Higher Education libraries and other service providers –Low profile and low credibility of libraries in general –Size and complexity of catchment area –Rising costs of resources, in particular, journals –Lack of protected time for users to search for information and to use the Library during opening hours –Underdeveloped IT infrastructure within the NHS

17 Finally - let us consider our Opportunities

18 Opportunities Acme, Glamchestershire & Northern Wellshire Education Purchasing Consortium Library Review project Reorganisation of NHS services within Glamchestershire Information for Health and resulting initiatives e.g. National Electronic Library for Health Investors in People and NHSU Focus on clinical governance and evidence-based practice Developing knowledge base within nursing and allied health professions Training opportunities for library staff New technology and the information revolution Regional working group on library management software

19 Note: The Opportunities cell will comprise both macro level (national) trends and micro level (regional and local) initiatives

20 Finally the piece that everyone misses out – the TOWS analysis: StrengthsWeaknesses OpportunitiesS-O strategies [pursue opportunities that are a good fit to strengths] W-O strategies [overcome weaknesses to pursue opportunities] ThreatsS-T strategies [use strengths to reduce vulnerability to external threats] W-T strategies [establish defensive plan to prevent weaknesses susceptible to external threats ]

21 Example: S-O strategy Strength: Range of networked resources enabling access to evidence from home and from the workplace Opportunity: Focus on clinical governance and evidence- based practice Strategy: Why don’t we package together those electronic resources that we already hold that support evidence-based practice and market them as a specialised service (evidence gateway) to home and workplace users?

22 Example W-O strategy Weakness: Manual systems are staff- intensive Opportunity: Regional working group on library management software Strategy: Why don’t we use the results of the working group’s report to help us prioritise purchases for library automation?

23 Example: S-T strategy Strength: Well-used Library web site Threat: Internet and IT enabling potential users to bypass the Library Strategy: Why don’t we develop a Library portal as an access point for users to access external resources?

24 Example: W-T strategy Weakness: Lack of user involvement in service development Threat: Rising costs of resources, in particular, journals Strategy: Why don’t we involve our users in selecting and endorsing the Library’s choice of electronic journals?

25 Now you have a go! Choose a pair of characteristics from the S-O, W-O, S-T, W-T cells of the matrix and suggest a resulting strategy

26 What we have covered The meaning and true purpose of the SWOT analysis Its application to a “factionalised” NHS Trust Library Typical factors influencing change in a Trust setting Four types of strategy to effect change

27 That’s all folks


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