The environment around an organization consists of influences, conditions and circumstances that can affect its ability to reach key objectives. Environmental scanning is a method of gathering and monitoring information about an organizations internal and external environment. By collating factual and subjective information about the environment, early signs of opportunities and threats can be detected.
Environmental scanning can be used to:
- Detect economic, technical, social, political and scientific trends and events that may be important to the organization.
- Define potential threats or changes implied by those trends and events.
- Support strategic decision making and planning when entering a new market or looking to improve one’s position in a current market.
- Alert management to trends that are converging, diverging, speeding up, or slowing down.
- Build up protective responses to evade surprises.
There are three standard frequencies for environmental scanning:
Ad Hoc: these are short term, infrequent examinations that are typically crisis initiated. This system is used when a client requires information for planning assumptions in response to an event and for that purpose only.
Periodic: this system is used for periodic updates on an existing scan. This may be conducted on an annual or quarterly basis, or in preparation for a new planning cycle.
Continuous: this involves continuous data collection, processing and reporting on a broad range of factors intended to inform the strategic planning function of an organization. It is best used when there is vague, scattered, or imprecise data coming from a host of sources that signal critical influences within the environment.
Using environmental scanning we are able to provide our clients with comprehensive reporting that enhances their ability to interpret and respond to changes in the environment.