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Student Essay

3934 words - 16 pages

Topic Gateway Series

Strategic Analysis Tools

Strategic Analysis Tools
Topic Gateway Series No. 34

Prepared by Jim Downey and Technical Information Service

1 October 2007

Topic Gateway Series

Strategic Analysis Tools

About Topic Gateways
Topic Gateways are intended as a refresher or introduction to topics of interest to CIMA members. They include a basic definition, a brief overview and a fuller explanation of practical application. Finally they signpost some further resources for detailed understanding and research. Topic Gateways are available electronically to CIMA Members only in the CPD Centre on the CIMA website, along with a number of electronic resources.

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’ Professor Les Worrall, Wolverhampton Business School Definitions of strategic analysis often differ, but the following attributes are commonly associated with it: 1. Identification and evaluation of data relevant to strategy formulation. 2. Definition of the external and internal environment to be analysed. 3. A range of analytical methods that can be employed in the analysis. Examples of analytical methods used in strategic analysis include: • • • • • • • SWOT analysis PEST analysis Porter’s five forces analysis four corner’s analysis value chain analysis early warning scans war gaming.

An overview of these strategic analysis tools will be provided in this topic gateway.

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Topic Gateway Series

Strategic Analysis Tools

Context
In the current CIMA syllabus, students will study and may be examined on strategic analysis tools as part of the Management Level Paper 5, Integrated Management. In addition, the tools are commonly used in many organisations for strategic decision making. It is therefore an advantage to develop good strategic analytical skills at an early stage.

Related concepts
Strategic planning; strategic management; business analysis; benchmarking; balanced scorecard; competitor analysis; CIMA Strategic Scorecard™.

Application
Analytical methods and tools are key to ensuring that consistency and an appropriate level of rigour is applied to the analysis. There are a number of important considerations to be aware of when using analytical tools: 1. The tool must help to answer the question that the organisation has asked. 2. The expected benefit of using the tool needs to be defined and it must be actionable. The more clearly the tool has been defined, the more likely the analysis will be successful. 3. Many tools benefit from input and collaboration with other people, functions or even organisations. There should be sufficient time for collaboration and advance warning given so that people can accommodate the analysis. 4. Proper use of analytical tools may be time consuming. It is important to ensure that key stakeholders, for example, the board, senior directors and company departments are aware of this. Otherwise they may not be able to provide the necessary commitment to complete the analysis. The aim of the analytical tool is to sharpen the focus of the analysis and to ensure a methodical, balanced approach. All analytical tools rely on historical, backward looking data to extrapolate future assumptions. It is important to exercise caution when interpreting strategic analysis results. Otherwise the analysis may be unduly influenced by preconceptions or pressures within the organisation which seek to validate a particular strategic assumption.

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Topic Gateway Series

Strategic Analysis Tools

One of the key skills of a strategic analyst is in understanding which analytical tools or techniques are most appropriate to the objectives of the analysis. Below is an overview of some of the more commonly...

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