A turning point in strategic corporate management

We are currently experiencing a turning point, both politically and socially. Previously valid norms and modes of action are being questioned. Yesterday’s common practice is stopped today. But what does that mean for companies? Does corporate leadership need to rethink? Yes, a turnaround in strategic corporate management can already be seen today.

The business environment is changing significantly

Whether it is new spending in the billions on military defence (Capital, 28.2.2022), an acceleration of the energy turnaround (SZ, 28.2.2022), or the strengthening of the semiconductor industry in Europe (EU, 8.2.2022): not all of this comes as a surprise, but we are now challenged to master several challenges simultaneously. In order to achieve this, managers must fundamentally question their actions and adapt them quickly. In short: the corporate world is also facing a turning point. Regardless of whether it is a medium-sized company or a corporate group, corporate management under the yardstick of constant economic growth is a thing of the past.

A turning point in strategic corporate management – What are the triggers?

A turning point in strategic corporate management

Trigger of turning point in strategic corporate management

Some changes and influencing factors have been known for some time, such as demographic change with its effects on the skilled labour situation. The call for sustainable and environmentally conscious management is also not new. What is new, however, is the emphasis on how these changes are now being demanded by politics and society. Awareness of change and its consequences has also increased. This brings opportunities, but also risks. One example: Since COVID-19, the topic of digitalisation has definitely been at the top of companies’ agendas. At the same time, however, the dangers of cyberattacks are also increasing. In many areas, we are only at the beginning of the technological possibilities. Those who lose touch here will lose competitiveness. As of today, we see the main drivers as follows:

  1. Increasing signs of scarcity economy.
  2. Accumulation of problems in the supply chains of many companies.
  3. Increase in global tensions.
  4. Uncertainties in the energy supply in the coming years until the complete conversion from fossil to renewable energy sources.
  5. Ongoing climate change.
  6. Increasing digitalisation is leading to new disruptive technologies in the market.
  7. Short-term establishment of a new hybrid working world.
  8. Ongoing skills shortages require new approaches to dealing with them.

Each of the drivers of the turnaround identified here would in itself have a considerable influence on the orientation of companies. But it is precisely the sum of the influences that will massively change companies.

How can companies and managers respond to this?

Managers are now challenged to strategically question or even reposition their company. A primary goal is to strengthen a company’s resilience in order to cope with temporary shocks in the value chain. Not only internationally active corporations, but also small and medium-sized enterprises now need an adapted strategy for the coming years. And not as an end in itself, but for your employees, customers and investors. This is because a change of era always creates uncertainties among those involved, which are best countered with clear strategic corporate management.

We advise leaders not to waste time. Start strategically repositioning your company now. You don’t need a big throw to do that. It is important that you define the strategic guard rails at the beginning. Based on this, you will develop the corresponding initiatives. So they take an iterative approach instead of just holding a one-off strategy workshop. It is important that you document your strategic work results, because only then will they be concrete, understandable and lived by everyone in the company. Involve your own employees as well. They know your company and the market environment best – even better than some external consultants. They often already have an idea of what concrete solutions and measures could look like. In addition, changes in which the own employees were involved are also supported. You can also read more about this in our blog article Concretising a strategy for successful implementation.

Our detailed white paper on the turning point in strategic corporate management

We have described all the above influences in detail in a white paper. To this end, we have compiled a large number of strategic recommendations for action. Here you can download the document free of charge (German version).

Whitepaper: Changing times for corporate governance

Free whitepaper

If you want to start creating your strategy now, the ConWISE platform can support you with the individual steps. Test the easy-to-use application with a free user account. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The first 100 days: 5 tips for leaders

Whether you are taking on a new leadership role with your current employer or moving to a new employer, the “first 100 days” will be critical to how you are perceived. It would be fatal to let three months pass by without achieving initial successes. So use your first 100 days strategically. The following 5 tips will help you:

  1. Involve as many people as possible around you
  2. Identify the problems but also the opportunities
  3. Work out strategies together
  4. Always proceed in a structured manner
  5. Show concrete results and initiatives

Tip 1: Involve as many people as possible around you

In the first few days and weeks you should mainly listen and take stock. Although the focus is on your “own” employees, you should also involve your superiors and managers from other departments. Ask for feedback on suppliers and external service providers regarding past and future cooperation. The impulses and advice of external management consultants can also be very helpful. But avoid larger consulting engagements and presence in the house. On the one hand, the high costs of consulting work can speak against you as a prudent manager. On the other hand, the involvement of consultants always creates distrust among their own employees as well as questions about their own competence. You should therefore only use external consultants on a selective basis and ideally use digital consulting services for support.

Tip 2: Identify the problems but also the opportunities

You will spend some time analyzing your new environment. Be careful not to focus one-sidedly on the problems and get lost in the details. Instead, always work out the chances and possibilities for the future. This also applies if you received the new management position with the advice to solve the existing problems. Ultimately, it’s a look back and you’ll be appreciated when you’ve fixed the problems, which equates to meeting expectations. However, you will be viewed as a manager with great prospects for the future if you can also show the opportunities for further development. So always pay attention to the weaknesses and strengths, to the risks, but also to the possibilities in your analyses. Combine existing strengths with emerging market opportunities and use methods such as ConWISE’s ‘Competitive Advantage Finder’.

Tip 3: Work out strategies together

After you have analyzed your environment and the current situation, you can develop initial strategies and prepare and make decisions.

It is recommended that you work out these strategies together with your employees. Also include other areas of the company with which there is a dependency. It is also advisable to call in your superiors from time to time. Less as part of the elaboration than as part of a feedback provider and early sponsor of your plans. The occasional use of a consultant in the sense of a sparring partner can also be very revealing. But here, too, the strategy should be developed in-house and not outsourced to a consulting firm. Ultimately, it will be your employees who will then put these strategies into action. You will also get to know your employees even better. You can see which employees have similar ideas as you. And you can see who finds change difficult or easy.

Tip 4: Always proceed in a structured manner

Your procedures and decisions should be clear, transparent and structured. Even if decisions are accompanied by negative consequences, employees should know how they came to the decision. Use structured methods for decision-making. In this way you make it clear that decisions are not made purely from the gut, but that you have dealt with them and taken different perspectives in advance. A good example here is the application of the Six Thinking Hats method. In this way, employees perceive decisions as fair, well-reflected and appropriate. But the development of strategies should also be structured and not the expression of a random product. Incidentally, a large part of the consulting service consists of using a structured process. You can also use these methods for yourself.

Tip 5: Show concrete results and initiatives

Concept papers can make an impression at first glance, but they don’t really get you anywhere if they can’t be implemented. Always pay attention to concrete initiatives, but don’t fall for actionism. You can do this, for example, by always concentrating on the 3 most important activities. Meet qualitative goals and statements with measurable target values, specific deadlines and responsibilities. One likes to hear the arguments “we’ve never done it like this before” or “it doesn’t work”. In these cases, ask for specific improvements or changes that can also be implemented in the short term. Always confront your employees with the question. “What could we specifically start doing or tackling differently tomorrow?”. Enter your projects in roadmaps and set concrete goals for your area and the individual employees. A good approach that supports you is, for example, the OKR method – OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results and is a management system for targeted employee management.

Conclusion: Successful start in a new management position

The 5 tips listed here for a successful start in a new management position are not only relevant at the start, but should form the basis of your daily activities.

You can use the necessary methods immediately on our digital consulting platform. This does not require familiarization with theoretical concepts or participation in workshop series or seminars. ConWISE is practice-oriented, interactive and can be used immediately in a team. Contact us!

AI Strategy: 10 AI Applications You Should Know

A large number of today’s business processes will change through the application of artificial intelligence (AI). Today we only see the tip of the iceberg of the new possibilities. But its use is no longer a vision of the distant future, but is already advanced in many areas and can be used by companies. Managers should therefore already be dealing with how the use of AI will look like in their own company. Which applications are affected and how this can be incorporated into a suitable AI strategy. The following article describes 10 current and concrete AI applications of AI in everyday business. AI applications that can be the first step towards more comprehensive AI use.

Which processes are suitable for AI?

If a business process has at least one of the following 3 characteristics, the use of AI should be examined more closely:

  1. One and the same process / activity is repeated (repetitive processes)
  2. A process occurs very frequently (high-volume processes)
  3. Rule-based processes

Against this background, the use of AI in order processing or data processing is well suited. In many companies, these activities will still be carried out by employees. These tasks are typically repetitive, high-volume, and rule-based processes. This makes the use of artificial intelligence easy to implement and pays for itself within a short time.

10 AI applications with potential

The following 10 AI applications have emerged as of today in corporate use. Most applications can be used regardless of the industry and company size.

(1) AI-powered virtual assistants

AI-powered personal assistants like Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod are examples of virtual assistants that many are already using in their personal lives. However, the systems also unfold their benefits in the corporate sector. Either in use as a management assistant or as additional services for customer assignments. The systems will become increasingly intelligent in the coming years and will be able to perform many daily activities better and better. Against this background, it is already necessary to strategically consider to what extent it makes sense to link your own product world with the usual personal assistants.

(2) AI market research

Various AI-based applications such as IBM’s Watson or Amazon Web Services can conduct extensive research for companies. This also includes competitive analyzes or the creation of detailed reports. In the future, such tools will use companies’ internal data to make amazingly accurate predictions about the success of new products or services.

(3) AI-powered CRM and sales tools

With the help of AI, every step of the sales process can be improved – from generating leads and categorizing them to personalized marketing messages. All major CRM software vendors already integrate AI capabilities into their tools. Today it is no longer a problem to predict customer needs in a timely and targeted manner and to analyze the entire purchasing process in detail. The AI development in this environment is already very advanced and offers companies a good introduction to AI, since data is often available here and the training of the AI system is possible with manageable effort.

(4) AI-generated content for digital marketing campaigns

Virtually every digital marketing activity can be made even better through the use of artificial intelligence. One of the most powerful examples of this is the automated generation of content in text, audio or video form. In the USA and China in particular, sports reports, stock market data or the current weather are created purely by AI. A Chinese news agency has had the news spoken by two virtual employees since the end of 2018 ( see the FAZ report of November 9, 2018 ). For companies, this results in opportunities to have social media posts, press releases and blog articles generated automatically.

(5) AI-powered email marketing tools

When it comes to email marketing, most companies already have a lot of valuable data. This makes the use of artificial intelligence for email marketing campaigns predestined. In doing so, e-mail titles can be analyzed with regard to their opening rate and the optimal length of e-mail texts can be found out. Here, AI is both a measuring instrument and a text generator.

In 2016, Boomerang Respondable was the first AI assistant to help create perfect business emails. The software uses machine learning algorithms trained on hundreds of millions of messages.

(6) AI-based customer service

For many companies, it is a goal to constantly improve customer service. Many service departments have been working with chatbots for quite some time. For example, they can automate interactions with users, support business processes, obtain information or even perform tasks of a personal assistant. But only in recent years have they gained popularity among users and businesses. This is also due to advances in artificial intelligence and the popularity of messaging apps. Many companies today are still using chatbots that are “rules-based” and work without AI, but in the future most of them will be AI-powered and even voice-controlled.

(7) AI-driven accounting

Robot-supported process automation will change the number-heavy business areas in particular. This includes financial management, accounting and controlling. Since most of the day-to-day work of accountants is repetitive and rule-based, most of it can and will be automated by AI. But it will also affect the interfaces to external service providers. Tasks for which tax consultants and auditors are still needed today will then be covered to a large extent.

(8) AI-powered recruitment

One of the areas where the use of AI has been criticized the most is in human resources and recruitment. Although the use of various AI technologies can save time and resources in the hiring process, critics argue that many of them are biased and unethical. Despite the skepticism, however, it is obvious that AI can be very useful in the pre-selection of applicants in several respects. From analyzes of written application documents, social media posts to language evaluations. As people develop in life, current interests and future desires for change must be taken into account equally.

(9) AI-enabled legal activities

As with accounting, many of the activities performed by lawyers are repetitive and rule-based. When reviewing contracts, AI can show very high accuracy rates, and at a fraction of the time it would take a human. The legal platform LawGeex, for example, uses AI to review and revise contracts based on given legal guidelines. Changes in the law can be taken into account promptly and their consequences can be shown. This proves to be particularly advantageous for companies that operate in the international market.

(10) Robotic process automation

Similar to AI, the basic idea of robotic process automation is to identify high-volume, repetitive tasks. An example of this is the processing of orders. Most robotic process automations are currently still rule-based, meaning they do not contain AI. However, it is expected that most software programs of this type will be AI-powered in the future.


It is not a question of whether AI will be used, but when and in what form. The possible uses are already diverse and the applications are increasing day by day. Regardless of whether a company wants to address its customers more precisely, deliver better service or streamline internal processes, the use of AI cannot be avoided. External pressure will also increase to make greater use of the possibilities offered by artificial intelligence.

Managers today have to think intensively about the structured and targeted use of AI in their company. For this purpose, ConWISE offers an AI strategy framework that can be used to easily plan the use of AI for the future.

The ConWISE team will be happy to show you exactly how this works during a non-binding appointment.

Contact us!

How do you find the right management consultancy?

All management consultants ultimately offer a service. And as with all services, the difficulty at the beginning is not knowing exactly what the end result will be. It is this uncertainty that worries many executives when it comes to hiring a management consultancy, especially since the usual fee rates often add up to five to six-digit amounts in the end. So what to do? How do you find the right management consultancy for you? We see several possibilities, which we will consider in more detail below.

Personal recommendations

The personal network

Address the personal network

One of the most common ways you can go is to ask your personal environment for recommendations for good management consulting. In Germany alone there were almost 200,000 consultants working in more than 15,000 consulting firms in 2020 (according to BDU – Bund Deutscher Unternehmensberater in 2020). There is a high probability of finding someone who has already made contact with one or the other consultant.

It is best to ask colleagues who are in a similar position to you or who have already had a comparable task. Describe your project as precisely as possible, because there are corresponding experts for every topic. If you ask people you know, they can also assess whether a consultant fits their own personality or not. A special tip: maybe you know or have had contact with a valued management consultant from the past. Even if this is out of the question for the assignment in question, they usually have a network of colleagues who they can assess well. Last but not least, it is also important to him/her to help you and thus to be commissioned as a consultant again next time.

Use of the big players

A large, well-known management consultancy such as McKinsey or BCG is usually expensive, but a few arguments reduce the risk when making a selection. The number of consultants who work there. If a consultant doesn’t fit, they can usually be changed overnight without having to terminate contracts. In principle, however, it is also the case that the selection process in management consulting for new colleagues is based on certain similarities. While this is not always desirable in terms of divergence, it does allow service delivery to level off at a consistent level. The tools and the thought patterns of the consultants employed in the company are similar. And finally, the large consulting firms also have extensive knowledge and case studies. Many problems have arisen in one of the global consulting units. If, for various reasons, a large management consultancy is not an option for you, but you are looking for independent and freelance management consultants or technical experts, the following two ways are possible alternatives.

Selection via portals

Digital professional networks such as LinkedIn or XING have proven to be suitable for marketing, especially for freelancers and self-employed consultants. Xing also offers its own project postings for freelancers. But how are you supposed to separate the wheat from the chaff here? Well, on the one hand, there are recommendations for certain expert knowledge. Unfortunately, this is only of limited significance. On the one hand, it is usually close contacts who recommend one and on the other hand, “the knowledge” is very different. Also, pure specialist knowledge is not the decisive criterion as to whether someone is a good consultant or not. But what you can definitely do is check if the candidate is connected to someone who is connected to you. In this way, an existing contact can be asked for an honest assessment. The risk remains high, however, because despite flexible contracts, a few days as a consultant quickly accumulate before you can get a real impression of the actual work. The following last option could help here to find experts and consultants via a digital consulting platform and to get an idea of the content in advance without generating large consulting costs.

Contact via a digital consulting platform

A digital consulting platform such as ConWISE.de is breaking new ground when it comes to finding and integrating management consultants.

Digital consulting platform

Use of a digital consulting platform such as ConWISE.de

Accompanying consulting services such as impulses, ideas and practical examples are offered by the platform partly using artificial intelligence (AI). Such a platform also already specifies a step-by-step method sequence and automatically creates reports on the results. This already eliminates or reduces the consultant expenses for administrative and structural tasks and the risk of high consultant costs is significantly reduced. The need for advice is therefore concentrated on technical and company-specific support. In this case, ConWISE, for example, offers the option of contacting a consultant or expert directly and hiring them for limited-time tasks. This can be, for example, a review of the strategy development or the selective moderation of an online workshop. In this way you get to know the skills and personality of a consultant directly and can then conclude further contracts directly with the desired person.


The old adage “Those who have the choice are spoiled for choice” also applies to the selection of a suitable management consultancy. Nevertheless, digitization is creating new opportunities here as well.

The new digital consulting platform ConWISE is a good example of this. On the one hand, it reduces the use of consultants by digitizing consulting processes and enabling your own employees to work out structured concepts and solutions. On the other hand, the digital approach enables consultants to be called in when required and simply at the push of a button. The risk of encountering an unsuitable consultant is minimized and the effort is kept small. If, based on the support provided on the digital platform, you come to the conclusion that the chemistry is right and the expertise is there, then you have found the right management consultant for you. The ConWISE team will be happy to show you exactly how this works in a free demo presentation. Contact us!

New Normal: how has Corona changed your company?

Corona with two lockdowns has hit every company worldwide. There were crisis winners, but also companies that had to file for bankruptcy. A pandemic like Corona has a significant impact on companies. Nothing will be the same afterwards, even if many are calling for a “back to normal”. So there will be a new normal after Corona for companies. But what will this look like in your company? What lessons do you draw from the past few months? What opportunities arise in the longer term and what risks should one be prepared for? Now is a good time to do a business analysis. Using a New Normal analysis , the main influences of the Corona Pandemic can be easily evaluated for your company.

A simple method is enough

In order to determine how well your company is prepared for the changes caused by Corona, you do not need complex analyzes or even a team of consultants. A simply structured method such as the SWOT analysis that you carry out with your employees is sufficient. Strengths and weaknesses are always taken in direct relation to the company and in comparison to the competition. In other words, insights that are homemade and influenced by the company itself. Strengths and weaknesses classifications are aimed at the nearer past or present. It answers the question of how the company has been positioned in recent months or how it would currently react. Chances (opportunities) and risks (threats), on the other hand, are future-oriented and are brought to the company from outside.

The SWOT analysis is one of the most popular strategic management tools and can be developed quickly and easily in a team. The general SWOT method is used here as a focus analysis, in that the evaluation is always seen in connection with the influences of Corona. These influencing factors and concrete changes are considered and their effects on the company are described.

The New Normal – Home office and remote work

For many employees and employers, working from home will remain an integral part of the work culture in the future, regardless of what the political regulations will be. So how was it during the lockdown period?

Assign the following factors as either strengths or weaknesses . In writing, you should evaluate each of these points in relation to your situation:

  • Employee management and communication online
  • Working remotely in a team
  • Use of technical tools such as video conferences, online collaboration platforms
  • Process flows in the company
  • speed of decision making
  • Equipped with high-performance hardware and software
  • Technical infrastructure of employees at home
  • Implementation of corporate changes (new organization, processes, new products, services, etc.)

Think about the opportunities that will open up for your company in the future:

  • Reduction of office space / shared office concepts
  • New options when choosing a location
  • Reappointment of managerial positions
  • ways of motivating employees
  • Attractiveness in filling vacancies

But also think about the possible risks:

  • Incipient employee turnover
  • Long-term contracts (rental space, hardware and software)
  • Generation conflicts in working methods

The New Normal – Corporate Health Management

One’s own health is perceived more consciously as the greatest good. Companies that have already done something for the health of their employees in the past were also perceived as attractive employers. Younger generations will place even more value on healthy living and working.

Health at work

Health at work

Rate the following aspects to determine whether you are perceived as a strength or weakness in the company:

  • Implementation of the hygiene concepts
  • General health offers
  • Company vaccination option
  • Communication on hygiene
  • Compliance with hygiene regulations
  • Health care measures

Here, too, it is important to think about the opportunities that arise for your company:

  • attractiveness as an employer
  • reduce sick leave
  • Work-life balance support
  • Reorganize premises (rest room, health room, etc.)

On the other hand, there may also be specific risks:

  • Increasing legal requirements
  • health care costs

The New Normal – degree of digitization

Among the winners of the Corona restrictions were companies that have relied extensively on digitization. Online purchases and services were in high demand. This trend was not new, but it became more and more important to us. The entire value chain must be considered, from the automated purchase of goods to digital asset management and cashless payment systems.

What strengths and weaknesses does your company have in the area of digitization:

  • Degree of digitization in the value chain
  • Availability and access of data online
  • communication with customers
  • online sales
  • process automation
  • Use of artificial intelligence (AI)

Think about the opportunities that digitization opens up for your company:

  • New business model
  • Additional revenue streams / new products / new services
  • competitive advantages
  • Increased efficiency through automation
  • Individualization of the offers

Also assess the possible risks:

  • security risks
  • Dependencies on IT service providers or know-how carriers
  • Growing employee demands

The New Normal – Acting in global markets

With the global corona pandemic, there were also delivery bottlenecks or shortages of goods in some cases. There are many reasons for this, from the dependency of global manufacturers to extreme demand for individual raw materials and goods. This is based on the idea of a globally networked economy. The consequences of this became clear with Corona: a lack of medical products, restrictions in transit traffic, a lack of unskilled workers or rising prices for certain raw materials.

Consider the strengths and weaknesses that emerged against the background of globalization:

  • supplier management
  • vertical integration
  • Resources and Dependencies
  • product range
  • Adaptation of production / services
  • storage capacities
  • Flexibility in employee deployment
  • scalability of services

Also think of the opportunities that arise from the consequences of the global corona restrictions:

  • Insourcing of critical products and services
  • diversification
  • site selection
  • material development
  • regionality
  • sustainable production

What are the risks when looking back at behavior in the globalized markets:

  • isolation of states
  • regulations
  • monopolies


We have limited ourselves to four major changes that were observed during the lockdown times and that will also concern us in the future. With a simple methodology such as the SWOT analysis, a company can form its own picture and position itself strategically. It is crucial that you focus, like here on Corona and the effects on the economy. This works very simply with the help of a digital consulting platform such as ConWISE. All of the factors listed flow directly into the analysis and thus provide a picture of the new normality in your company. Use this uncomplicated New Normal analysis from ConWISE

The ConWISE team will be happy to show you exactly how this works during a non-binding appointment. Contact us!

Do you know the 5 most common mistakes in a SWOT analysis?

SWOT is the abbreviation for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats. In German: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It is one of the best-known and most frequently used management methods. Its strength lies in its simple application for many topics in the company. A simple 4-field matrix represents the grid for the SWOT analysis. Despite this simple application, errors can creep into the application. You should know and avoid these. Only then does the SWOT analysis unfold its huge potential in everyday business life.

The SWOT analysis and its importance

The SWOT analysis was developed in the 1960s at Harvard Business School for use in companies.

Even today, the SWOT analysis is one of the best-known and most frequently used methods in the context of strategic planning. The abbreviation SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

With the help of the SWOT analysis, strengths and weaknesses of a company, a department, of processes or of products and services can be found out. This corresponds to an internal company analysis. The method also compares the opportunities and risks in relation to the environment and the competition ( see also the definition of a SWOT analysis ). At the same time, it covers an external environmental or environment analysis. Both analysis types are mapped in a 2×2 matrix. See also the figure below:

SWOT Template

The classic SWOT analysis

Incorrect application of the SWOT analysis

In the end, the success of a management method is measured by concrete and goal-oriented measures. In contrast, the SWOT analysis first of all describes conditions inside and outside the company. The success of a SWOT analysis can only be seen in the consequences and strategies derived from it, or their implementation. See also our article ” Successful specification of a strategy “.

When using the actual SWOT analysis, you often come across the following 5 errors:

  1. Lack of comparison with the competition
  2. Unstructured derivation of consequences
  3. Unilateral focus during analysis
  4. Lack of topic and goal orientation
  5. Incorrect order of application

In the following, we will go into more detail about these errors and show how they can be prevented.

Lack of comparison with the competition

When analyzing strengths and weaknesses, this should always be done in direct comparison with the competition. A strength or a weakness that also applies to all competitors at the same time can be neglected. The easiest way to proceed is to ask yourself the question: “What are the concrete strengths or weaknesses compared to the 3 main competitors?”. Make sure that not only direct competitors are considered, but also potential new market entry candidates are relevant. For example, an insurance company should not only keep an eye on its direct competitors, but also on platform providers such as Amazon, Alibaba, etc. These have already proven several times that they can expand their market power to related company fields (example: Amazon discovers the insurance business of n-tv, 2021).

Unstructured derivation of consequences

As mentioned, the analysis results of the four SWOT fields only describe a state. For successful management, the derived consequences are now decisive. Avoid the mistake of only looking at the weaknesses one-sidedly or using the opportunities immediately as a strategic guideline. In practice, a structured approach called the TOWS matrix has proven to be advantageous here (see also the TOWS method description ).

The TOWS Matrix is based on a classic SWOT analysis. The results of the company’s strengths and weaknesses and the resulting opportunities and risks are compared in a matrix. Each combination of SWOT fields results in a specific strategic thrust:

  • S trengths & Opportunities result in measures aimed at maximum success .
  • W eaknesses & Opportunities lead to activities that make it possible to catch up with the competition .
  • S trengths & Threats lead to actions to defend the achieved success .
  • W eaknesses & Threats derive actions to secure existence .
From SWOT Analysis to TOWS Matrix

From the SWOT analysis to the TOWS matrix

Unilateral focus during analysis

Distortions in the analysis often occur, especially when a well-trained team or department gets together to carry out a SWOT analysis. In doing so, individual fields of the SWOT matrix are focused one-sidedly by basking in the strengths or, in the case of weaknesses, by targeting those that come from others. Again and again one finds that a previously formulated hypothesis should be supported by the results of the analysis. The view of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and risks is therefore perceived to be very limited.

This distortion of results can also creep in if superiors with strong opinions or patriarchal managers are actively involved in the elaboration. The participants then often orientate themselves on their statements in order to avoid any contradictions or resentment.

How can this be prevented?

The group of participants should be as heterogeneous as possible. So they come from different areas and/or belong to different hierarchies. Women and men should also deliberately participate in the analysis together, since their perspectives on things can be different. It often also helps when outsiders such as consultants or suppliers who are able to express independent opinions are involved. Even an independent and anonymous implementation of the SWOT analysis, as made possible by the digital consulting platform from ConWISE, leads to open and unbiased results.

Lack of topic and goal orientation

“Let’s do a quick SWOT analysis!” Managers can be heard shouting. And the flipchart or whiteboard is divided into a 4-field matrix and off you go. Then a confused collection of points takes place. Although a lot of content comes together, the consequences derived from it are not satisfactory in the long term. The problem with this is that the measures follow no recognizable direction. This can be prevented by narrowing down the subject area for the SWOT analysis at the beginning and writing it down. The topic must always be visible or visible to every participant.

The topic can include a specific product, service or process. Make sure that the description is as specific as possible. Example: instead of “SWOT analysis in the service area”, it should read “SWOT analysis for the introduction of a new service in the after-sales area”.

The specific naming of the topic or goal also helps you to carry out the environment analysis, i.e. to record the opportunities and risks. This is because the influencing factors to be considered can be almost infinite. There is a multitude of political, economic, social and technological developments. The solution is simple: focus on the influences that are gaining in importance because of the named topic/goal.

Incorrect order of application

We recommend that you start with the internal analysis – the company – and thus go into the strengths and weaknesses first. These can usually be formulated and described very specifically. You get fast results in the analysis and are then motivated to dedicate yourself to the external analysis – the environment. It also helps you to limit the external influencing factors if necessary, in that the strengths and weaknesses that have already been recorded serve as a guide.

In the area of chances (opportunities), these are often described as concrete options for action. However, this derivation of strategic options should only take place in the next step of the SWOT analysis. During the analysis, the observations of the environment are in the foreground. Example: “Participation in a startup to develop a new AI application” (specific option for action) versus “Many new startups in the field of AI” (general description of the market environment with potential opportunities).

In a broader sense, an incorrect order of application can also apply to the timing of the SWOT analysis. This should always serve as a starting point for an actual strategy development and not vice versa. Otherwise, the analysis would take on an alibi role in order to legitimize a predetermined strategic direction. This also applies to activities that have already been carried out and whose justification is only provided by a subsequent SWOT analysis.


Although the SWOT analysis has been used in almost every company worldwide for decades, errors can still creep in today. At first glance, this is often not even recognizable, because the SWOT analysis usually brings up a large number of points. In terms of quantity, the management and the participants can usually be very satisfied. Mistakes in the application of methods are noticeable: when it comes to the qualitative implementation of the findings. The results fall short of expectations. This becomes particularly clear when the results are re-evaluated after some time has passed.

If those responsible and initiators of the analysis know the errors shown here and avoid them accordingly, the SWOT analysis is and remains one of the most effective tools in strategic planning. A simple way of preventing the errors listed from creeping in in the first place is to use the respective SWOT and TOWS frameworks on ConWISE’s digital consulting platform.

The ConWISE team will be happy to show you exactly how this works during a non-binding appointment. Contact us!

Successfully develop an AI strategy

Do companies actually need an AI strategy? It is probably less a question of “if” and more of the question of when it is too late to deal with AI. Developments in this area are rapid. In every company there are activities that can be automated and are based on an “if – then” logic. The fields of application of artificial intelligence range from data analysis and chatbots to new services, products and business models.

So, an AI strategy is essential to ensure your business is using AI strategically – in a way that ties directly to business goals. Developing an AI strategy means identifying how your company can best use AI. It is irrelevant whether the result represents an independent AI strategy or whether the findings are incorporated into the corporate strategy. It is important that companies think carefully about the use of artificial intelligence in their company.

Below you will learn what elements an AI strategy includes and how best to proceed to develop an AI strategy for your company.

The development of an AI strategy in the company

Below you will learn what elements an AI strategy includes and how best to proceed to develop an AI strategy for your company.

AI strategy for companies

Development of an AI strategy with ConWISE

Step 1: Set AI goals and define use cases

As a first step, you should think about what goals you want to pursue with the use of artificial intelligence in the company. And what benefits the company should derive from AI. The result is an AI prioritization and the definition of concrete use cases for the company.

Possible AI goals could include:

  • Develop new intelligent products or services
  • Make business processes smarter
  • Automate repetitive business tasks
  • Automate manufacturing processes

The above goals are often implemented in the context of the following AI application fields:

  • Use of sensors for the “Internet of Things (IoT)”
  • Predicting Outcomes
  • Decision Support / Augmented Intelligence
  • Pattern recognition by highlighting non-obvious data relationships
  • Personalized customer interaction
  • Job and task automation
  • Big Data Analytics
  • behavioral analysis
  • Visual recognition and classification
  • Speech recognition and natural language processing

Step 2: Prioritize use cases

Experience has shown that a large number of possible applications emerge from the first step above. These now need to be prioritized. You should concentrate on the top 3 applications. In addition, you can already identify so-called quick-win initiatives in this step. These are short-term AI projects that can help you demonstrate the value of AI in a relatively quick, easy, and inexpensive way.

Step 3: Identify requirements

Next, take on the core AI requirements. AI use cases usually have some common themes that need to be considered or that must be met as a prerequisite. Your task is to identify the challenges in order to close any gaps in the company.

The following topics are to be considered in particular when creating an AI strategy:

  • Data management
  • Technology and infrastructure
  • AI know-how
  • Change management aspects when introducing AI.

The following questions must be answered for each topic:


  • What data will you need to realize the selected AI initiatives?
  • How will you get the data you need?
  • Do you have all internal data available?
  • Do you need external data sources?
  • How structured is the available data?

Technology and infrastructure:

  • What are the software and hardware requirements for your AI initiatives?
  • To what extent does the existing IT help in collecting, storing and processing data?
  • How is data currently provided?
  • How are results from data analyzes communicated?

AI know-how:

  • What are the skill and capacity requirements involved in your AI initiatives?
  • What can be covered within the company itself and what AI know-how must be purchased from outside?

Change Management:

  • What are possible prejudices and fears about the use of AI?
  • What effects does the introduction of AI solutions have on the specific workplace and work processes?

Step 4: Close gaps

After the requirements are clearly outlined and you have identified the gaps, you can start thinking about possible activities. What does it take to correct the respective grievances? They proceed in the same way as the main topics of the AI listed above. As a result, you receive a list of initiatives that you categorize in the next step.

Step 5: Create an AI roadmap

Not all initiatives are created equal. Also, some projects can be implemented quickly, while others take longer. Finally, there may also be dependencies between initiatives that you need to be aware of. A roadmap will help you with this, in which you can arrange the individual projects in terms of time. From short-term to medium and long-term AI projects.

Conclusion when creating an AI strategy

The way shown here to create an AI strategy is certainly only the first step in strategically dealing with AI. It at least provides the framework for how you want to use AI and what conditions are to be created where. In particular, developments in the field of artificial intelligence are progressing so quickly that the results should be checked regularly and adjusted if necessary. In this environment in particular, an agile approach is advisable.

The digital consulting platform from ConWISE is ideal for drafting initial concepts for the AI strategy together in the company. You will work out the results step-by-step along the development path shown above. New AI applications can also be quickly taken into account and incorporated into the AI strategy.

The ConWISE team will be happy to show you exactly how this works during a non-binding appointment. Contact us!