Factor analysis, also known as environmental scanning, is a method to analyze the environment in which a business operates. Environmental scanning mainly focuses on the macro environment of a business and personal factors. Whereas context analysis considers the entire environment of a business, its internal and external environment. This is an important aspect of a strategic planning process as we enter the social networking space.
An older method of context analysis, called SWOT analysis, allows the business to gain an insight into their strengths and weaknesses and also the opportunities and threats posed by the market within which they operate.The older method of SWOT analysis does not apply to the context analysis of social networks because of the systemic dynamics of an ever-changing market brought on by the social networking medium.
This alteration in the process requires research and analysis of current and future likely factors of the emerging space and said analysis put into context accordingly. In conducting research on the driving factors that influence the social networking market in light of current and future conditions, many significant factors of influence emerged. When evaluating the first 20 of these factors, the use of an interrelationship and affinity diagram enables us to sort through the collective meaning of the factors and then categorize them—meaning determine and rank how the categories relate to or influence each other.
The question of relationship between the categories is one of “which drives the other most to least” with subsequent outcomes being out/in arrows. The category with the most out arrows is determined as having the greatest influence on the collective factor outcomes. The analysis is likely to produce different outcomes by individual, organizations or institution in context to their opportunities to leverage their objectives within the emerging space.
This exercise is an example of what each individual, organization, institution and government should be doing as it relates to The Emergence of The Relationship Economy.
Each segment may produce different results based on the context of “What can we do to leverage social media to our advantage?” That question establishes the direction of the above example by shaping the context for analysis. Subsequently the outcomes of these exercises provides the roadmap for prioritization of initiatives, actions or investments aimed at accomplishing the objectives.
However, before an organization or individual can properly define their strategic use of all this social stuff they must first understand what it means to be social. Get it?
What say you?