Discover Financial Services SWOT Analysis / Matrix

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SWOT analysis is a vital strategic planning tool that can be used by Discover Financial Services managers to do a situational analysis of the organization . It is an important technique to evalauate the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) Discover Financial Services is facing in its current business environment.

The Discover Financial Services is one of the leading organizatations in its industry. Discover Financial Services maintains its dominant position in market by critically 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 enables 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 helps the managers of the Discover Financial Services to develop four types of strategies:

  • SO (strengths-opportunities) Strategies
  • WO (weaknesses-opportunities) Strategies
  • ST (strengths-threats) Strategies
  •  WT (weaknesses-threats) Strategies
Discover Financial Services swot analysis / matrix

SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective

The main purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that an organization can utilize to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect Discover Financial Services strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.

Step by Step Guide to Discover Financial Services SWOT Analysis

Strengths of Discover Financial Services – Internal Strategic Factors

As one of the leading companies in its industry, Discover Financial Services has numerous strengths that help 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 Discover Financial Services are –

  • Successful track record of developing new products – product innovation.
  • 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.
  • Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – Discover Financial Services is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.
  • Highly skilled workforce through successful training and learning programs. Discover Financial Services is investing huge resources in training and development of its employees resulting in a workforce that is not only highly skilled but also motivated to achieve more.
  • Superb Performance in New Markets – Discover Financial Services 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.
  • Highly successful at Go To Market strategies for its products.
  • 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.
  • Strong dealer community – It has built a culture among distributor & dealers where the dealers not only promote company’s products but also invest in training the sales team to explain to the customer how he/she can extract the maximum benefits out of the products.

Weakness of Discover Financial Services – Internal Strategic Factors

Weakness are the areas where Discover Financial Services 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.

  • Limited success outside core business – Even though Discover Financial Services is one of the leading organizations in its industry it has faced challenges in moving to other product segments with its present culture.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • High attrition rate in work force – compare to other organizations in the industry Discover Financial Services has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.
  • Days inventory is high compare to the competitors – making the company raise more capital to invest in the channel. This can impact the long term growth of Discover Financial Services
  • Investment in Research and Development is below the fastest growing players in the industry. Even though Discover Financial Services is spending above the industry average on Research and Development, it has not been able to compete with the leading players in the industry in terms of innovation. It has come across as a mature firm looking forward to bring out products based on tested features in the market.

Opportunities for Discover Financial Services – External Strategic Factors

  • Government green drive also opens an opportunity for procurement of Discover Financial Services products by the state as well as federal government contractors.
  • Stable free cash flow provides opportunities to invest in adjacent product segments. With more cash in bank the company can invest in new technologies as well as in new products segments. This should open a window of opportunity for Discover Financial Services in other product categories.
  • 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 Discover Financial Services. In the next few years the company can leverage this opportunity by knowing its customer better and serving their needs using big data analytics.
  • The new technology provides an opportunity to Discover Financial Services 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.
  • Decreasing cost of transportation because of lower shipping prices can also bring down the cost of Discover Financial Services’s products thus providing an opportunity to the company - either to boost its profitability or pass on the benefits to the customers to gain market share.
  • The new taxation policy can significantly impact the way of doing business and can open new opportunity for established players such as Discover Financial Services to increase its profitability.
  • The market development will lead to dilution of competitor’s advantage and enable Discover Financial Services to increase its competitiveness compare to the other competitors.
  • 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.

Threats Discover Financial Services Facing - External Strategic Factors

  • Imitation of the counterfeit and low quality product is also a threat to Discover Financial Services’s product especially in the emerging markets and low income markets.
  • No regular supply of innovative products – Over the years the company has developed numerous products but those are often response to the development by other players. Secondly the supply of new products is not regular thus leading to high and low swings in the sales number over period of time.
  • New technologies developed by the competitor or market disruptor could be a serious threat to the industry in medium to long term future.
  • Increasing trend toward isolationism in the American economy can lead to similar reaction from other government thus negatively impacting the international sales.
  • Liability laws in different countries are different and Discover Financial Services may be exposed to various liability claims given change in policies in those markets.
  • The demand of the highly profitable products is seasonal in nature and any unlikely event during the peak season may impact the profitability of the company in short to medium term.
  • Changing consumer buying behavior from online channel could be a threat to the existing physical infrastructure driven supply chain model.
  • The company can face lawsuits in various markets given - different laws and continuous fluctuations regarding product standards in those markets.

Limitations of SWOT Analysis for Discover Financial Services

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 Discover Financial Services
  • 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 Discover Financial Services

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 Discover Financial Services 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 Discover Financial Services

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.

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Example of Weighted SWOT Analysis

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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)