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First Data SWOT Analysis / Matrix
Essays, Term Papers & Research Papers
SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that can be used by First Data managers to do a situational analysis of the organization . It is a useful technique to understand the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) First Data is facing in its current business environment.
The First Data is one of the leading firms in its industry. First Data maintains its dominant position in market by carefully analyzing and reviewing the SWOT analysis. SWOT analysis a highly interactive process and requires effective coordination among various departments within the company such as – marketing, finance, operations, management information systems and strategic planning.
The SWOT Analysis framework facilitates an organization to identify the internal strategic factors such as -strengths and weaknesses, & external strategic factors such as - opportunities and threats. It leads to a 2X2 matrix – also called SWOT Matrix.
The Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) Analysis / Matrix enables the managers of the First Data to develop four types of strategies:
- SO (strengths-opportunities) Strategies
- WO (weaknesses-opportunities) Strategies
- ST (strengths-threats) Strategies
- WT (weaknesses-threats) Strategies
SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective
The central purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that a company can utilize to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect First Data strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.
Step by Step Guide to First Data SWOT Analysis
Strengths of First Data – Internal Strategic Factors
As one of the leading firms in its industry, First Data has numerous strengths that enable it to thrive in the market place. These strengths not only help it to protect the market share in existing markets but also help in penetrating new markets. Based on Fern Fort University extensive research – some of the strengths of First Data are –
- Automation of activities brought consistency of quality to First Data products and has enabled the company to scale up and scale down based on the demand conditions in the market.
- Highly successful at Go To Market strategies for its products.
- Successful track record of developing new products – product innovation.
- High level of customer satisfaction – the company with its dedicated customer relationship management department has able to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction among present customers and good brand equity among the potential customers.
- Reliable suppliers – It has a strong base of reliable supplier of raw material thus enabling the company to overcome any supply chain bottlenecks.
- Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – First Data is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.
- Successful track record of integrating complimentary firms through mergers & acquisition. It has successfully integrated number of technology companies in the past few years to streamline its operations and to build a reliable supply chain.
- Superb Performance in New Markets – First Data has built expertise at entering new markets and making success of them. The expansion has helped the organization to build new revenue stream and diversify the economic cycle risk in the markets it operates in.
Weakness of First Data – Internal Strategic Factors
Weakness are the areas where First Data can improve upon. Strategy is about making choices and weakness are the areas where a firm can improve using SWOT analysis and build on its competitive advantage and strategic positioning.
- There are gaps in the product range sold by the company. This lack of choice can give a new competitor a foothold in the market.
- Limited success outside core business – Even though First Data is one of the leading organizations in its industry it has faced challenges in moving to other product segments with its present culture.
- The company has not being able to tackle the challenges present by the new entrants in the segment and has lost small market share in the niche categories. First Data has to build internal feedback mechanism directly from sales team on ground to counter these challenges.
- High attrition rate in work force – compare to other organizations in the industry First Data has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.
- Financial planning is not done properly and efficiently. The current asset ratio and liquid asset ratios suggest that the company can use the cash more efficiently than what it is doing at present.
- Need more investment in new technologies. Given the scale of expansion and different geographies the company is planning to expand into, First Data needs to put more money in technology to integrate the processes across the board. Right now the investment in technologies is not at par with the vision of the company.
- The marketing of the products left a lot to be desired. Even though the product is a success in terms of sale but its positioning and unique selling proposition is not clearly defined which can lead to the attacks in this segment from the competitors.
Opportunities for First Data – External Strategic Factors
- The new taxation policy can significantly impact the way of doing business and can open new opportunity for established players such as First Data to increase its profitability.
- New customers from online channel – Over the past few years the company has invested vast sum of money into the online platform. This investment has opened new sales channel for First Data. In the next few years the company can leverage this opportunity by knowing its customer better and serving their needs using big data analytics.
- New trends in the consumer behavior can open up new market for the First Data . It provides a great opportunity for the organization to build new revenue streams and diversify into new product categories too.
- New environmental policies – The new opportunities will create a level playing field for all the players in the industry. It represent a great opportunity for First Data to drive home its advantage in new technology and gain market share in the new product category.
- The new technology provides an opportunity to First Data to practices differentiated pricing strategy in the new market. It will enable the firm to maintain its loyal customers with great service and lure new customers through other value oriented propositions.
- Lower inflation rate – The low inflation rate bring more stability in the market, enable credit at lower interest rate to the customers of First Data.
- Organization’s core competencies can be a success in similar other products field. A comparative example could be - GE healthcare research helped it in developing better Oil drilling machines.
- Economic uptick and increase in customer spending, after years of recession and slow growth rate in the industry, is an opportunity for First Data to capture new customers and increase its market share.
Threats First Data Facing - External Strategic Factors
- Shortage of skilled workforce in certain global market represents a threat to steady growth of profits for First Data in those markets.
- Liability laws in different countries are different and First Data may be exposed to various liability claims given change in policies in those markets.
- Intense competition – Stable profitability has increased the number of players in the industry over last two years which has put downward pressure on not only profitability but also on overall sales.
- Imitation of the counterfeit and low quality product is also a threat to First Data’s product especially in the emerging markets and low income markets.
- Growing strengths of local distributors also presents a threat in some markets as the competition is paying higher margins to the local distributors.
- New environment regulations under Paris agreement (2016) could be a threat to certain existing product categories .
- Changing consumer buying behavior from online channel could be a threat to the existing physical infrastructure driven supply chain model.
- Rising raw material can pose a threat to the First Data profitability.
Limitations of SWOT Analysis for First Data
Although the SWOT analysis is widely used as a strategic planning tool, the analysis does have its share of limitations.
- Certain capabilities or factors of an organization can be both a strength and weakness at the same time. This is one of the major limitations of SWOT analysis . For example changing environmental regulations can be both a threat to company it can also be an opportunity in a sense that it will enable the company to be on a level playing field or at advantage to competitors if it able to develop the products faster than the competitors.
- SWOT does not show how to achieve a competitive advantage, so it must not be an end in itself.
- The matrix is only a starting point for a discussion on how proposed strategies could be implemented. It provided an evaluation window but not an implementation plan based on strategic competitiveness of First Data
- SWOT is a static assessment - analysis of status quo with few prospective changes. As circumstances, capabilities, threats, and strategies change, the dynamics of a competitive environment may not be revealed in a single matrix.
- SWOT analysis may lead the firm to overemphasize a single internal or external factor in formulating strategies. There are interrelationships among the key internal and external factors that SWOT does not reveal that may be important in devising strategies.
Weighted SWOT Analysis of First Data
In light of the above mentioned limitations of the SWOT analysis / matrix, corporate managers decided to provide weightage to each internal strength and weakness of the firm. Organizations also assess the likelihood of events taking place in the coming future and how strong their impact could be on company's performance.
This method is called Weighted SWOT analysis. It is better than doing simplistic SWOT analysis because with Weighted SWOT Analysis First Data managers can focus on the most critical factors and discount the non-important one. It also solves the long list problem where organizations ends up making a long list but none of the factors deemed too critical.
Limitation of Weighted SWOT analysis of First Data
This approach also suffers from one major drawback - it focus on individual importance of factor rather than how they are collectively important and impact the business holistically.
Example of Weighted SWOT Analysis
You can email us to get an example document of Weighted SWOT analysis.
SWOT Worksheet & Template
If you like to do your own SWOT analysis or want to make your own Weighted SWOT SWOT matrix then feel free to download Fern Fort University SWOT Analysis Template.
References / Citations & Bibliography
- M. E. Porter, Competitive Strategy(New York: Free Press, 1980)
- A. D. Chandler, Strategy and Structure (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1962)
- O. E. Williamson, Markets and Hierarchies(New York: Free Press, 1975);
- L. Wrigley, Divisional Autonomy and Diversification (PhD, Harvard Business School, 1970)
- R. E. White, Generic Business Strategies, Organizational Context and Performance: An Empirical Investigation, Strategic Management Journal7 (1986)
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