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Decoding the SWOT: A Guide to Proof Insights Analysis
Decoding the SWOT: A Guide to Proof Insights Analysis

How to read and interpret the Proof Insights SWOT analysis

Updated over a week ago

In the world of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) and impact, SWOT analyses are a fundamental tool used to evaluate the internal and external factors that can impact an organization's performance. SWOT, which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, is a systematic framework for assessing an organization’s current position and its future prospects.

SWOT Definitions

The SWOT analysis, part of Proof’s Insights and Outcomes pages, is intended to be a launch pad to help your organization pinpoint where you are overperforming or underperforming relative to the Proof system benchmarks. The Proof system benchmarks are derived from other organizations who submit data into the Proof platform.

In the Proof SWOT analysis, the metrics that appear under Strengths are those that are in the 75th percentile or higher compared to the Proof system benchmark. The metrics that appear under Weaknesses are those that are in the 25th percentile or lower. The metrics under Opportunities are those between the 25th and 75th percentile. And the metrics under Threats are those where data was not submitted or where the Proof system benchmarks don’t yet exist.

Screenshot of the SWOT Analysis flagged metrics on the Proof Insights page.

Box and Whisker Plots

If you click on any of the metrics in the SWOT analysis, you will see box and whisker plots appear. In the box and whisker plots, the grey circular “box” is divided into two parts: the lower edge of the box corresponds to the 25th percentile of reported values, and the upper edge corresponds to the 75th percentile. These percentiles define the boundaries of the interquartile range, capturing the central portion of the data distribution. The central figure inside the box represents the median, which is the 50th percentile of your responses. The ‘whiskers’ extend from the edges of the box to show the minimum and maximum reported values within the range of values reported by your data submitters in the Proof platform.

Screenshot of the SWOT Analysis Box and Whiskers plot on the Proof Insights page.

As an example, for the Percent Female Board Members metric, the median value is 45 percent - this is the 50th percentile of reported values in this group of data submitters. The lower end of the grey bar is the 25th percentile (or in this case, 30 percent), and the upper end the 75th percentile (or in this case, 65 percent). The figures outside of the box, 0 percent on the lower end and 100 percent on the higher end, represent the ‘whiskers’, or the minimum and maximum reported values.

The blue line represents the median performance from other organizations using the Proof platform. You can use the blue bar as an additional insight to help you set context for where and how much you want to improve your performance, or to determine how far ahead you are relative to other organizations.

How to Engage with a SWOT Analysis

Interpreting a SWOT analysis is critical for making informed decisions. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Leverage Strengths: Showcase your strengths to your stakeholders to maximize your organization’s advantage for marketing, sales, and capital raise purposes.

  2. Address Weaknesses: Develop strategies to improve on weaknesses, enhance your organization’s internal operational capabilities, and communicate improvement plans with stakeholders.

  3. Monitor Opportunities: Develop strategies to harness opportunities that can contribute to growth and success. Prioritize accordingly by weighing the relative importance of focusing on weaknesses first before moving onto opportunities.

  4. Address Threats: Given that threats represent metrics where data is lacking or benchmarks don’t yet exist in the Proof system, be sure to develop plans for how your organization will increase response rates to improve data completeness, provide your data submitters with technical assistance, or determine how you may assess your performance relative to other industry standards.

Engaging with this analysis involves leveraging strengths for marketing advantage, addressing weaknesses through concrete actions, monitoring opportunities for growth, and developing plans to enhance data completeness and analytic capabilities. The continuous integration of data-driven, benchmark-based analysis into your sustainability planning will help ensure you are up to date with the latest insights to inform your decision-making and drive sustained financial success.

Having trouble? Send us an email at [email protected], and we’ll be happy to help.

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