What is the SCOC analysis?

The SCOC analysis is an asset-based strategic planning tool focusing on the core strengths of a business, building upon what it claims to be the shortcomings of a traditional SWOT analysis. Indeed, the SCOC analysis claims that the SWOT analysis focuses on threats that might never materialize, thus underweighting potential opportunities.

SCOC AnalysisDescriptionAnalysisImplicationsApplicationsExamples
1. Internal Strengths (S)Internal strengths refer to the positive attributes, capabilities, or resources that the business already possesses or excels at.– Identify and assess the core internal strengths of the business. – Consider what sets the business apart in a positive way.– Recognizes areas of excellence and competitive advantages. – Provides a foundation for strategy development based on existing strengths.– Identifying and leveraging core competencies in product development. – Recognizing strengths in the team to optimize project outcomes.Recognizing a company’s strong brand reputation and loyal customer base. Identifying a team’s expertise in a specific technology.
2. Internal Challenges (C1)Internal challenges involve identifying issues or areas where improvements are needed and how existing strengths can be applied to address them.– Assess internal challenges within the business that require attention. – Explore how internal strengths can be used to solve these challenges.– Encourages problem-solving and innovation using existing strengths. – Promotes efficient use of resources to address internal issues.– Using expertise in process optimization to streamline operations. – Leveraging employee skills to address productivity challenges.Applying advanced technology to improve manufacturing efficiency based on internal expertise. Using marketing strengths to address declining sales in a specific market segment.
3. External Opportunities (O)External opportunities represent favorable conditions or factors in the external environment that align with the strengths of the business.– Identify external opportunities that are well-suited to the strengths of the business. – Consider how strengths can be leveraged to seize these opportunities.– Capitalizes on external conditions that complement the business’s capabilities. – Enhances the business’s competitiveness and market positioning.– Identifying emerging market trends that align with product strengths. – Leveraging technology expertise to enter new markets with high demand.Expanding into a new geographical market where there is a strong demand for the company’s product. Capitalizing on a growing trend that aligns with the business’s expertise.
4. External Challenges (C2)External challenges involve identifying potential obstacles or difficulties in the external environment and maintaining a positive mindset when facing them.– Recognize external challenges or obstacles that the business may encounter. – Emphasize the importance of a positive, open, and creative mindset when addressing challenges.– Encourages a proactive approach to external challenges with a constructive attitude. – Fosters adaptability and resilience in the face of difficulties.– Responding to changes in market regulations with an innovative mindset. – Embracing technological disruptions as opportunities for growth.Adapting to a new regulatory environment with creativity and a solution-oriented mindset. Embracing digital transformation as a chance for business expansion and efficiency improvement.

Understanding the SCOC analysis

The SCOC analysis is a strategic planning tool that was developed to address shortfalls in the traditional SWOT analysis.

In a SWOT analysis, decision-makers tend to spend most of their time repairing weaknesses and speculating about external threats. The end result is that is the positive aspects of a company – strengths and opportunities – are not given the attention they deserve.

Practitioners of the SCOC analysis argue that the SWOT analysis is a deficit-based approach to strategic planning. Businesses end up planning for threats that never materialize and their focus on negative outcomes blinds them to avenues for growth.

The SCOC analysis is a more balanced approach. It does not exaggerate weaknesses and threats, nor does it undervalue strengths and opportunities.

Running a SCOC analysis

A SCOC analysis is an asset-based approach that considers four key areas:

  1. Internal strengths – what is the business already doing well?
  2. Internal challenges – how can these strengths be used to solve current or predicted challenges within the business?
  3. External opportunities – what are the external opportunities most suited to the strengths of the business?
  4. External challenges – how can the business face external challenges with a positive mindset? This is a key differentiator of the SCOC analysis, encouraging decision-makers to maintain an open, curious, and creative mindset when faced with difficulties.

Why is the SCOC analysis important?

As noted in the introduction, businesses that conduct SWOT analyses tend to become preoccupied with identifying and then planning for negative outcomes.

This phenomenon has been extensively studied. Scientific research has found that negative emotions in have approximately three times the impact of positive emotions.

The SCOC analysis is important in helping decision-makers avoiding devoting company resources to problems that may be overstated or worse still, non-existent.

Mindfulness-based strategic awareness

Together with the SOAR and SOPA analysis, the SCOC analysis advocates mindful awareness and leadership principles.

Here, mindfulness is combined with aspects of positive psychology to encourage leaders to adopt a results-oriented focus on business strategy. This gives them the ability to perceive, create, and capitalize on potential opportunities for growth.

Importantly, an awareness of the positive aspects (or strengths) of strategy achieves better outcomes for the business and improves company culture. It also gives the employees within a business the cognitive flexibility to adapt to new challenges.

Key takeaways:

  • The SCOC analysis is an asset-based and solution-focused strategic planning tool.
  • The SCOC analysis was created to address a tendency for decision-makers to become preoccupied with weaknesses and threats in a SWOT analysis. In many cases, this preoccupation blinds the company to strengths and opportunities.
  • The SCOC analysis is one of a host of similar analyses advocating a mindful approach to strategy formulation. This allows decision-makers to combine mindfulness with positive psychology to focus on core strengths and the meeting of challenges with an open mind.

Key Highlights

  • Strategic Planning Tool:
    • The SCOC analysis is a strategic planning tool designed to enhance the traditional SWOT analysis by focusing on core strengths of a business and addressing its shortcomings.
  • Balanced Approach:
    • Unlike the SWOT analysis, which tends to overemphasize weaknesses and threats, the SCOC analysis provides a balanced approach that values strengths and opportunities.
  • Four Key Areas:
    • The SCOC analysis considers four key areas: internal strengths, internal challenges, external opportunities, and external challenges.
  • Internal Strengths and Challenges:
    • Identifies what the business excels at (strengths) and how those strengths can be utilized to address existing or anticipated challenges.
  • External Opportunities and Challenges:
    • Focuses on external opportunities that align with the business’s strengths and approaches external challenges with a positive mindset.
  • Avoiding Overemphasis on Negatives:
    • The SCOC analysis helps prevent the allocation of resources to exaggerated or non-existent problems by shifting the focus to strengths and opportunities.
  • Mindfulness-Based Strategic Awareness:
    • Aligns with mindfulness and positive psychology principles, encouraging leaders to adopt a results-oriented focus and capitalize on growth opportunities.
  • Improved Outcomes and Culture:
    • Promotes better outcomes for the business, improves company culture, and enhances the cognitive flexibility of employees to adapt to new challenges.

Connected Analysis Frameworks

Failure Mode And Effects Analysis

A failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is a structured approach to identifying design failures in a product or process. Developed in the 1950s, the failure mode and effects analysis is one the earliest methodologies of its kind. It enables organizations to anticipate a range of potential failures during the design stage.

Agile Business Analysis

Agile Business Analysis (AgileBA) is certification in the form of guidance and training for business analysts seeking to work in agile environments. To support this shift, AgileBA also helps the business analyst relate Agile projects to a wider organizational mission or strategy. To ensure that analysts have the necessary skills and expertise, AgileBA certification was developed.

Business Valuation

Business valuations involve a formal analysis of the key operational aspects of a business. A business valuation is an analysis used to determine the economic value of a business or company unit. It’s important to note that valuations are one part science and one part art. Analysts use professional judgment to consider the financial performance of a business with respect to local, national, or global economic conditions. They will also consider the total value of assets and liabilities, in addition to patented or proprietary technology.

Paired Comparison Analysis

A paired comparison analysis is used to rate or rank options where evaluation criteria are subjective by nature. The analysis is particularly useful when there is a lack of clear priorities or objective data to base decisions on. A paired comparison analysis evaluates a range of options by comparing them against each other.

Monte Carlo Analysis

The Monte Carlo analysis is a quantitative risk management technique. The Monte Carlo analysis was developed by nuclear scientist Stanislaw Ulam in 1940 as work progressed on the atom bomb. The analysis first considers the impact of certain risks on project management such as time or budgetary constraints. Then, a computerized mathematical output gives businesses a range of possible outcomes and their probability of occurrence.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

A cost-benefit analysis is a process a business can use to analyze decisions according to the costs associated with making that decision. For a cost analysis to be effective it’s important to articulate the project in the simplest terms possible, identify the costs, determine the benefits of project implementation, assess the alternatives.

CATWOE Analysis

The CATWOE analysis is a problem-solving strategy that asks businesses to look at an issue from six different perspectives. The CATWOE analysis is an in-depth and holistic approach to problem-solving because it enables businesses to consider all perspectives. This often forces management out of habitual ways of thinking that would otherwise hinder growth and profitability. Most importantly, the CATWOE analysis allows businesses to combine multiple perspectives into a single, unifying solution.

VTDF Framework

It’s possible to identify the key players that overlap with a company’s business model with a competitor analysis. This overlapping can be analyzed in terms of key customers, technologies, distribution, and financial models. When all those elements are analyzed, it is possible to map all the facets of competition for a tech business model to understand better where a business stands in the marketplace and its possible future developments.

Pareto Analysis

The Pareto Analysis is a statistical analysis used in business decision making that identifies a certain number of input factors that have the greatest impact on income. It is based on the similarly named Pareto Principle, which states that 80% of the effect of something can be attributed to just 20% of the drivers.

Comparable Analysis

A comparable company analysis is a process that enables the identification of similar organizations to be used as a comparison to understand the business and financial performance of the target company. To find comparables you can look at two key profiles: the business and financial profile. From the comparable company analysis it is possible to understand the competitive landscape of the target organization.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT Analysis is a framework used for evaluating the business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It can aid in identifying the problematic areas of your business so that you can maximize your opportunities. It will also alert you to the challenges your organization might face in the future.

PESTEL Analysis

The PESTEL analysis is a framework that can help marketers assess whether macro-economic factors are affecting an organization. This is a critical step that helps organizations identify potential threats and weaknesses that can be used in other frameworks such as SWOT or to gain a broader and better understanding of the overall marketing environment.

Business Analysis

Business analysis is a research discipline that helps driving change within an organization by identifying the key elements and processes that drive value. Business analysis can also be used in Identifying new business opportunities or how to take advantage of existing business opportunities to grow your business in the marketplace.

Financial Structure

In corporate finance, the financial structure is how corporations finance their assets (usually either through debt or equity). For the sake of reverse engineering businesses, we want to look at three critical elements to determine the model used to sustain its assets: cost structure, profitability, and cash flow generation.

Financial Modeling

Financial modeling involves the analysis of accounting, finance, and business data to predict future financial performance. Financial modeling is often used in valuation, which consists of estimating the value in dollar terms of a company based on several parameters. Some of the most common financial models comprise discounted cash flows, the M&A model, and the CCA model.

Value Investing

Value investing is an investment philosophy that looks at companies’ fundamentals, to discover those companies whose intrinsic value is higher than what the market is currently pricing, in short value investing tries to evaluate a business by starting by its fundamentals.

Buffet Indicator

The Buffet Indicator is a measure of the total value of all publicly-traded stocks in a country divided by that country’s GDP. It’s a measure and ratio to evaluate whether a market is undervalued or overvalued. It’s one of Warren Buffet’s favorite measures as a warning that financial markets might be overvalued and riskier.

Financial Analysis

Financial accounting is a subdiscipline within accounting that helps organizations provide reporting related to three critical areas of a business: its assets and liabilities (balance sheet), its revenues and expenses (income statement), and its cash flows (cash flow statement). Together those areas can be used for internal and external purposes.

Post-Mortem Analysis

Post-mortem analyses review projects from start to finish to determine process improvements and ensure that inefficiencies are not repeated in the future. In the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK), this process is referred to as “lessons learned”.

Retrospective Analysis

Retrospective analyses are held after a project to determine what worked well and what did not. They are also conducted at the end of an iteration in Agile project management. Agile practitioners call these meetings retrospectives or retros. They are an effective way to check the pulse of a project team, reflect on the work performed to date, and reach a consensus on how to tackle the next sprint cycle.

Root Cause Analysis

In essence, a root cause analysis involves the identification of problem root causes to devise the most effective solutions. Note that the root cause is an underlying factor that sets the problem in motion or causes a particular situation such as non-conformance.

Blindspot Analysis


Break-even Analysis

A break-even analysis is commonly used to determine the point at which a new product or service will become profitable. The analysis is a financial calculation that tells the business how many products it must sell to cover its production costs.  A break-even analysis is a small business accounting process that tells the business what it needs to do to break even or recoup its initial investment. 

Decision Analysis

Stanford University Professor Ronald A. Howard first defined decision analysis as a profession in 1964. Over the ensuing decades, Howard has supervised many doctoral theses on the subject across topics including nuclear waste disposal, investment planning, hurricane seeding, and research strategy. Decision analysis (DA) is a systematic, visual, and quantitative decision-making approach where all aspects of a decision are evaluated before making an optimal choice.

DESTEP Analysis

A DESTEP analysis is a framework used by businesses to understand their external environment and the issues which may impact them. The DESTEP analysis is an extension of the popular PEST analysis created by Harvard Business School professor Francis J. Aguilar. The DESTEP analysis groups external factors into six categories: demographic, economic, socio-cultural, technological, ecological, and political.

STEEP Analysis

The STEEP analysis is a tool used to map the external factors that impact an organization. STEEP stands for the five key areas on which the analysis focuses: socio-cultural, technological, economic, environmental/ecological, and political. Usually, the STEEP analysis is complementary or alternative to other methods such as SWOT or PESTEL analyses.

STEEPLE Analysis

The STEEPLE analysis is a variation of the STEEP analysis. Where the step analysis comprises socio-cultural, technological, economic, environmental/ecological, and political factors as the base of the analysis. The STEEPLE analysis adds other two factors such as Legal and Ethical.

Activity-Based Management

Activity-based management (ABM) is a framework for determining the profitability of every aspect of a business. The end goal is to maximize organizational strengths while minimizing or eliminating weaknesses. Activity-based management can be described in the following steps: identification and analysis, evaluation and identification of areas of improvement.

PMESII-PT Analysis

PMESII-PT is a tool that helps users organize large amounts of operations information. PMESII-PT is an environmental scanning and monitoring technique, like the SWOT, PESTLE, and QUEST analysis. Developed by the United States Army, used as a way to execute a more complex strategy in foreign countries with a complex and uncertain context to map.

SPACE Analysis

The SPACE (Strategic Position and Action Evaluation) analysis was developed by strategy academics Alan Rowe, Richard Mason, Karl Dickel, Richard Mann, and Robert Mockler. The particular focus of this framework is strategy formation as it relates to the competitive position of an organization. The SPACE analysis is a technique used in strategic management and planning. 

Lotus Diagram

A lotus diagram is a creative tool for ideation and brainstorming. The diagram identifies the key concepts from a broad topic for simple analysis or prioritization.

Functional Decomposition

Functional decomposition is an analysis method where complex processes are examined by dividing them into their constituent parts. According to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK), functional decomposition “helps manage complexity and reduce uncertainty by breaking down processes, systems, functional areas, or deliverables into their simpler constituent parts and allowing each part to be analyzed independently.”

Multi-Criteria Analysis

The multi-criteria analysis provides a systematic approach for ranking adaptation options against multiple decision criteria. These criteria are weighted to reflect their importance relative to other criteria. A multi-criteria analysis (MCA) is a decision-making framework suited to solving problems with many alternative courses of action.

Stakeholder Analysis

A stakeholder analysis is a process where the participation, interest, and influence level of key project stakeholders is identified. A stakeholder analysis is used to leverage the support of key personnel and purposefully align project teams with wider organizational goals. The analysis can also be used to resolve potential sources of conflict before project commencement.

Strategic Analysis

Strategic analysis is a process to understand the organization’s environment and competitive landscape to formulate informed business decisions, to plan for the organizational structure and long-term direction. Strategic planning is also useful to experiment with business model design and assess the fit with the long-term vision of the business.

Related Strategy Concepts: Go-To-Market StrategyMarketing StrategyBusiness ModelsTech Business ModelsJobs-To-Be DoneDesign ThinkingLean Startup CanvasValue ChainValue Proposition CanvasBalanced ScorecardBusiness Model CanvasSWOT AnalysisGrowth HackingBundlingUnbundlingBootstrappingVenture CapitalPorter’s Five ForcesPorter’s Generic StrategiesPorter’s Five ForcesPESTEL AnalysisSWOTPorter’s Diamond ModelAnsoffTechnology Adoption CurveTOWSSOARBalanced ScorecardOKRAgile MethodologyValue PropositionVTDF FrameworkBCG MatrixGE McKinsey MatrixKotter’s 8-Step Change Model.

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