Plans evolve from the patterns of the past and are about intended patterns for the future. Position is about locating products in particular markets to achieve competitive advantage. Perspective is about an organisation's culture - its way of doing things. Finally, ploy is a specific manoeuvre intended to outwit a competitor. The different strategic planning models provide constructs which enable an organisation's past, present and future activities to be analysed in the context of its industry, competitors, geography, organisational structure and culture, and its available resources including know-how, products, personnel and finance. They provide formal structures, which can be followed systematically to identify the strategic position and the available strategic choices which lead strategy into action.
The strategic position is concerned with the impact of strategy of the external environment, internal resources and competencies, and the expectation and influences of shareholders. It is from this point that an organisation can assess its strategic choices and formulate its proposed actions. There are a number of models that can assist in this analysis. The starting point is the SWOT analysis. Analysis of strengths and weaknesses concentrates on the internal factors that influence the organisation's performance and opportunities and threats looks at the external factors that are influencing a business.
The external analysis can be expanded further to formulate a PEST(LE) (Political, economic, societal, technological, legal and environmental) analysis. The external analysis should included competitive, supply and market changes. Planning tools assist in these analysis. SWOT analysis can be undertaken at the corporate level as well as at the strategic business unit (SBU) level. A similar presentation is used for a PEST analysis. There are models available such as Porter's V forces model which enable the market analysis to be undertaken for inclusion within the PEST(LE).
Every organisation is a collection of activities that are intended to design, produce, market deliver and support its product. Porter describes a generic model of the value chain which can be used in defining the organisation's own value chain. The different stages in the process of bringing a product to the customer can be identified and aids the analysis of costs and resources that are being used. An industry is the sum of the individual value chains that comprise that industry. An organisation can place itself and its competitors within that value chain, which may suggest opportunities to integrate vertically, either forwards or backwards, or points where a rival organisation's activities can be attacked.
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