A SWOT analysis is a tool to determine project strategy. A SWOT analysis of software can be vital in helping to determine how the software will be developed, what its function will be, what limitations it may have, and how to market it. SWOT is an acronym: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The first portion, strengths and weaknesses, consists of internal analyses, while the opportunities and threats refer to external factors that affect the subject of the analysis.
An executive summary is not necessary if you are doing an internal SWOT. You include the executive summary if you are going to publish the material, or if you plan to submit it to upper management, a client, or other parties for review. The executive summary provides a summary of the findings of the SWOT analysis. It provides a road map of the analysis, and gives a quick and dirty account of the findings.
The strengths portion of a SWOT analysis of software address the following questions: What does it bring to the table in terms of functionality, ease of use, and relevance? Is it user friendly? What is its competitive advantage? What target market will it reach? How innovative is it? Does it offer something new, that has not been done before? Does it make a task easier to complete? Regarding price, is it a good value for the money? Does the quality of the software justify its price? Does it provide a function that your clients or others have expressed a desire or need to have? This part of the SWOT should give you a clear picture of how good, functional, and relevant your software is.
In product development, weaknesses come with the territory. A good SWOT analysis of software should uncover weaknesses in the product as well as the strengths. These internal weaknesses of the software may refer to its ease of use, its marketability, and production costs. Does it lack competitive strength? Is it like other software that is currently on the market, offering little, if any, new functions? Is it expensive to produce or very time consuming to create? Does the software have many system requirements that could make it cumbersome and impractical for most users? Is it user friendly, at least for the target market? Is it well received or anticipated by top players in the industry? Does the company developing or marketing the software have a good reputation in the industry? Take a good, hard look at your product and record any weaknesses that it may have.
When reviewing the opportunities portion of you SWOT analysis, you want to focus on external factors that may affect the product. One area to look at is technology development and innovation as a whole. What is happening in the industry currently and does that open any doors for your software? Are there any niche target markets that can be identified for further marketing? What is the buzz in the industry? Have there been any breakthroughs, issues, or events that would make your software a stand-out product that is timely and relevant? What are your competitors' vulnerabilities? What trends are developing in the industry or in the lifestyles of the public? How does your software fit in with those trends?
Any external factors that may impede the progress or marketability of your software should be recorded in this section. These threats can come from political, legislative, social, or environmental areas. Your SWOT analysis of software should consider IT developments in the industry as a whole as well as in your target market. Demand is a factor that could threaten the success of your product. Your analysis should include relevant and current data on the demographics of your target market. A threat of loss of financial backing or key staff could also cripple your project. Review all of the obstacles that your software may face so that your analysis is complete and accurate.
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