Community Bank System, Inc. SWOT Analysis / Matrix

Business Essays, Term Papers & Research Papers

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

The Community Bank System, Inc. is one of the leading organizatations in its industry. Community Bank System, Inc. 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 firm such as – marketing, finance, operations, management information systems and strategic planning.


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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 helps the managers of the Community Bank System, Inc. to develop four types of strategies:

  • SO (strengths-opportunities) Strategies
  • WO (weaknesses-opportunities) Strategies
  • ST (strengths-threats) Strategies
  •  WT (weaknesses-threats) Strategies
Community Bank System, Inc. swot analysis / matrix

SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective

The central purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that a firm can utilize to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect Community Bank System, Inc. strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.

Step by Step Guide to Community Bank System, Inc. SWOT Analysis

Strengths of Community Bank System, Inc. – Internal Strategic Factors


As one of the leading organizations in its industry, Community Bank System, Inc. 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 Community Bank System, Inc. are –


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  • Strong Free Cash Flow – Community Bank System, Inc. has strong free cash flows that provide resources in the hand of the company to expand into new projects.
  • Reliable suppliers – It has a strong base of reliable supplier of raw material thus enabling the company to overcome any supply chain bottlenecks.
  • Strong Brand Portfolio – Over the years Community Bank System, Inc. has invested in building a strong brand portfolio. The SWOT analysis of Community Bank System, Inc. just underlines this fact. This brand portfolio can be extremely useful if the organization wants to expand into new product categories.
  • Automation of activities brought consistency of quality to Community Bank System, Inc. 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.
  • Strong distribution network – Over the years Community Bank System, Inc. has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential market.
  • 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.


Weakness of Community Bank System, Inc. – Internal Strategic Factors


Weakness are the areas where Community Bank System, Inc. can improve upon. Strategy is about making choices and weakness are the areas where a company can improve using SWOT analysis and build on its competitive advantage and strategic positioning.


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  • Not very good at product demand forecasting leading to higher rate of missed opportunities compare to its competitors. One of the reason why the days inventory is high compare to its competitors is that Community Bank System, Inc. is not very good at demand forecasting thus end up keeping higher inventory both in-house and in channel.
  • 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.
  • Organization structure is only compatible with present business model thus limiting expansion in adjacent product segments.
  • Not highly successful at integrating firms with different work culture. As mentioned earlier even though Community Bank System, Inc. is successful at integrating small companies it has its share of failure to merge firms that have different work 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.
  • High attrition rate in work force – compare to other organizations in the industry Community Bank System, Inc. has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.

Opportunities for Community Bank System, Inc. – External Strategic Factors


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  • Economic uptick and increase in customer spending, after years of recession and slow growth rate in the industry, is an opportunity for Community Bank System, Inc. to capture new customers and increase its market share.
  • 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 Community Bank System, Inc. in other product categories.
  • The new taxation policy can significantly impact the way of doing business and can open new opportunity for established players such as Community Bank System, Inc. to increase its profitability.
  • Opening up of new markets because of government agreement – the adoption of new technology standard and government free trade agreement has provided Community Bank System, Inc. an opportunity to enter a new emerging market.
  • The market development will lead to dilution of competitor’s advantage and enable Community Bank System, Inc. to increase its competitiveness compare to the other competitors.
  • New trends in the consumer behavior can open up new market for the Community Bank System, Inc. . It provides a great opportunity for the organization to build new revenue streams and diversify into new product categories too.
  • Decreasing cost of transportation because of lower shipping prices can also bring down the cost of Community Bank System, Inc.’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 technology provides an opportunity to Community Bank System, Inc. 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.

Threats Community Bank System, Inc. Facing - External Strategic Factors

  • Growing strengths of local distributors also presents a threat in some markets as the competition is paying higher margins to the local distributors.
  • Rising pay level especially movements such as $15 an hour and increasing prices in the China can lead to serious pressure on profitability of Community Bank System, Inc.
  • Imitation of the counterfeit and low quality product is also a threat to Community Bank System, Inc.’s product especially in the emerging markets and low income markets.
  • Liability laws in different countries are different and Community Bank System, Inc. 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.
  • Increasing trend toward isolationism in the American economy can lead to similar reaction from other government thus negatively impacting the international sales.
  • Shortage of skilled workforce in certain global market represents a threat to steady growth of profits for Community Bank System, Inc.   in those markets.
  • Rising raw material can pose a threat to the Community Bank System, Inc. profitability.

Limitations of SWOT Analysis for Community Bank System, Inc.

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 Community Bank System, Inc.
  • 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.

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Weighted SWOT Analysis of Community Bank System, Inc.

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 Community Bank System, Inc. 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 Community Bank System, Inc.

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)