Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Opportunity or Threat?

I was sent an advert for a pdf recently. The document is called a "Social Networking Guide for IT Managers". It came from a company selling Web security services and I thought it sounded interesting because it was advertised as: "7-Steps to Controlling Social Networking Use in Your Business". Hmm! So, it's all about control?

opportunity knocks
Originally uploaded by whyswomen
Is it still trendy to do SWOT analyses? To look at Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats? This report concentrated almost exclusively on the threat to businesses, for example "cyber-slacking". I'm not saying the advice in the document was bad as some some of it made good sense, for example, "Have a comprehensive Acceptable Use Policy in place. Ensure that employees are aware of it. Review and update it often". However, by concentrating exclusively on the threats there is a danger that opportunities will be missed.

Although this document was pitched at businesses, there are many in education dealing with similar issues. ...And the dangers are real - just today in the news there was an item about an Ofcom report which highlights some of the risks to children who use social networking sites. The report presents some useful statistics (for example, "Two-thirds of parents claim to set rules on their child’s use of social networking sites, although only 53% of children said that their parents set such rules."), but perhaps it also focuses too closely on Weaknesses and Threats. However, I need to read the full report more carefully. Maybe the Strengths and Opportunities are in there too.

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islayian said...

I think the SWOT analysis is still valid so long as each component is given equal weighting but most IT guy's (and its the industry I am originally from)work on the FUD system - Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.
Most IT guys have taken on the persona of a mechanic or a plumber. They look at you and instantly start to take a sharp intake of breath through there teeth

David said...

Thanks for the response Ian. I suspect there was much FUD about when the UMPC project started in Islay. Was there much opposition when you were trying to get it off the ground? And where are you now? Are the Weaknesses and Threats of the UMPC balanced by the Strengths and Opportunities?