The SWOT analysis is a useful tool to determine S
pportunities and T
hreats of an institution, group, department, etc. The internal aspects of the organization are addressed in Strengths and Weaknesses. Areas to explore include staffing, finances, processes, technology, etc. Meanwhile, Opportunities and Threats address external forces beyond the organization’s control, such as changing demographics, state or federal legislation, trends, etc. In an integrated planning process, the SWOT analysis is often used as part of the development of the plan to set goals and objectives. However, it can also be utilized in the evaluation of the planning process itself, as the plan moves through each component of the IP Model
. Using a SWOT analysis in this manner affords the institution a “snapshot” of the planning process as it is happening. Some colleges may already have a similar evaluation process in place, although it may not be specifically a SWOT analysis. Since a planning cycle spans many years, the people tasked with evaluating the planning process at the end of the cycle may not all be the same group of people who were involved in the development of the plan. A snapshot SWOT analysis provides background for the new people, while refreshing the memories of those who were present at the beginning of the process.