Strategy Tools: SWOT, tech stack, and value chain

As with anything else, it is easier to build a solid digital strategy if you have good tools. This final section of the Digital Strategy Guide will introduce you to three tools and discuss how they fit together.

The first tool, which you’re probably familiar with is the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analytical framework. For the purposes of a digital strategy, SWOT analyzes how digital technology impacts purpose and customer value.

The second tool is the value chain, which is a way to think about and visualize the activities involved in creating customer value. The value chain can also be applied to entire communities. Since value is simply defined as “benefits minus costs,” the value chain is really just a way to identify where benefits and costs are generated within an organization. SWOT analysis fits with the value chain because strengths and weaknesses relate to practices and processes within the organization, while opportunities and threats exist outside the organization.

The third tool is the technology stack, which should be familiar to any technologist because it is similar to a protocol stack or solution stack. This version of the stack is extended to include practices/processes and capabilities (abilities, knowledge, skills, etc.). Extending the stack makes it possible to (a) relate it to the value chain and (b) identify the impacts of digital technology on workforce. Each layer of the stack relates to external and internal assets/liabilities that fit into the SWOT analysis.

Use these worksheets to assess the technology stack for all parts of your value chain as strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.