Strategy Library

Soft data (qualitative data)

Soft (qualitative) data is data that is difficult or impossible to measure, quantify and express in key figures. They are subjective and usually require interpretation.

Description of soft data

Soft (qualitative) data is data that is difficult or impossible to measure, quantify and express in key figures. They are subjective and usually require interpretation. This often makes soft data less reliable than hard data. Soft data is descriptive and unstructured in textual or pictorial form. Examples of soft data are opinions, assessments, impressions, assumptions, rumors, expectations, ideas, experiences and knowledge. As part of the strategic planning process, soft data is mainly used in competitive analysis, trend research and market description.

Soft data plays a key role in strategic planning by providing subjective opinions about the business environment and predicting likely future developments, contributing to strategic early education, and promoting creativity in the strategy development phase.

Soft data can be made usable by converting the verbal phrases into metrics. These can then be linked with hard data and correlated, i.e. correlated. This, in turn, can be graphically represented in the form of diagrams.

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