Icicle Group (8429) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources
Strategy / MBA Resources
Introduction to SWOT Analysis
SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Icicle Group (Hong Kong)
Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Icicle Group is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – increasing government debt because of Covid-19 spendings, competitive advantages are harder to sustain because of technology dispersion, digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, cloud computing is disrupting traditional business models, there is backlash against globalization, banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, challanges to central banks by blockchain based private currencies,
increasing household debt because of falling income levels, central banks are concerned over increasing inflation, etc
SWOT stands for an organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats . At Oak Spring University, we believe that Icicle Group can use SWOT analysis as a strategic management tool to assess the current internal strengths and weaknesses of the Icicle Group, and to figure out the opportunities and threats in the macro environment – technological, environmental, political, economic, social, demographic, etc in which Icicle Group operates in.
According to Harvard Business Review, 75% of the managers use SWOT analysis for various purposes such as – evaluating current scenario, strategic planning, new venture feasibility, personal growth goals, new market entry, Go To market strategies, portfolio management and strategic trade-off assessment, organizational restructuring, etc.
SWOT Objectives / Importance of SWOT Analysis and SWOT Matrix
SWOT analysis of Icicle Group can be done for the following purposes –
1. Strategic planning of Icicle Group
2. Improving business portfolio management of Icicle Group
3. Assessing feasibility of the new initiative in Hong Kong
4. Making a Business Services sector specific business decision
5. Set goals for the organization
6. Organizational restructuring of Icicle Group
Strengths of Icicle Group | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Strengths in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis
The strengths of Icicle Group are -
Cross disciplinary teams
– Horizontal connected teams at the Icicle Group are driving operational speed, building greater agility, and keeping the organization nimble to compete with new competitors. It helps are organization to ideate new ideas, and execute them swiftly in the marketplace.
– Icicle Group is putting a lot of focus on utilizing the power of analytics in business decision making. This has put it among the leading players in the Business Services industry. The technology infrastructure of Hong Kong is also helping it to harness the power of analytics for – marketing optimization, demand forecasting, customer relationship management, inventory management, information sharing across the value chain etc.
Ability to lead change in Business Services
– Icicle Group is one of the leading players in the Business Services industry in Hong Kong. Over the years it has not only transformed the business landscape in the Business Services industry in Hong Kong but also across the existing markets. The ability to lead change has enabled Icicle Group in – penetrating new markets, reaching out to new customers, and providing different value propositions to different customers in the international markets.
Sustainable margins compare to other players in Business Services industry
– Icicle Group has clearly differentiated products in the market place. This has enabled Icicle Group to fetch slight price premium compare to the competitors in the Business Services industry. The sustainable margins have also helped Icicle Group to invest into research and development (R&D) and innovation.
Successful track record of launching new products
– Icicle Group has launched numerous new products in last few years, keeping in mind evolving customer preferences and competitive pressures. Icicle Group has effective processes in place that helps in exploring new product needs, doing quick pilot testing, and then launching the products quickly using its extensive distribution network.
Digital Transformation in Business Services industry
- digital transformation varies from industry to industry. For Icicle Group digital transformation journey comprises differing goals based on market maturity, customer technology acceptance, and organizational culture. Icicle Group has successfully integrated the four key components of digital transformation – digital integration in processes, digital integration in marketing and customer relationship management, digital integration into the value chain, and using technology to explore new products and market opportunities.
Diverse revenue streams
– Icicle Group is present in almost all the verticals within the Business Services industry. This has provided Icicle Group a diverse revenue stream that has helped it to survive disruptions such as global pandemic in Covid-19, financial disruption of 2008, and supply chain disruption of 2021.
Training and development
– Icicle Group has one of the best training and development program in Services industry. The effectiveness of the training programs can be measured in – employees retention, in-house promotion, loyalty, new venture initiation, lack of conflict, and high level of both employees and customer engagement.
Ability to recruit top talent
– Icicle Group is one of the leading players in the Business Services industry in Hong Kong. It is in a position to attract the best talent available in Hong Kong. The firm has a robust talent identification program that helps in identifying the brightest.
Superior customer experience
– The customer experience strategy of Icicle Group in Business Services industry is based on four key concepts – personalization, simplification of complex needs, prompt response, and continuous engagement.
– The operational resilience strategy of Icicle Group comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Business Services industry, building diversified operations across different geographies so that disruption in one part of the world doesn’t impact the overall performance of the firm, and integrating the various business operations and processes through its digital transformation drive.
Organizational Resilience of Icicle Group
– The covid-19 pandemic has put organizational resilience at the centre of everthing Icicle Group does. Organizational resilience comprises - Financial Resilience, Operational Resilience, Technological Resilience, Organizational Resilience, Business Model Resilience, and Reputation Resilience.
Weaknesses of Icicle Group | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis
The weaknesses of Icicle Group are -
Employees’ less understanding of Icicle Group strategy
– From the outside it seems that the employees of Icicle Group don’t have comprehensive understanding of the firm’s strategy. This is reflected in number of promotional campaigns over the last few years that had mixed messaging and competing priorities. Some of the strategic activities and services promoted in the promotional campaigns were not consistent with the organization’s strategy.
High dependence on existing supply chain
– The disruption in the global supply chains because of the Covid-19 pandemic and blockage of the Suez Canal illustrated the fragile nature of Icicle Group supply chain. Even after few cautionary changes, Icicle Group is still heavily dependent upon the existing supply chain. The existing supply chain though brings in cost efficiencies but it has left Icicle Group vulnerable to further global disruptions in South East Asia.
Increasing silos among functional specialists
– The organizational structure of Icicle Group is dominated by functional specialists. It is not different from other players in the Business Services industry, but Icicle Group needs to de-silo the office environment to harness the true potential of its workforce. Secondly the de-silo will also help Icicle Group to focus more on services in the Business Services industry rather than just following the product oriented approach.
Products dominated business model
– Even though Icicle Group has some of the most successful models in the Business Services industry, this business model has made each new product launch extremely critical for continuous financial growth of the organization. Icicle Group should strive to include more intangible value offerings along with its core products and services.
Capital Spending Reduction
– Even during the low interest decade, Icicle Group has not been able to do capital spending to the tune of the competition. This has resulted into fewer innovations and company facing stiff competition from both existing competitors and new entrants who are disrupting the Business Services industry using digital technology.
No frontier risks strategy
– From the 10K / annual statement of Icicle Group, it seems that company is thinking out the frontier risks that can impact Business Services industry. But it has very little resources allocation to manage the risks emerging from events such as natural disasters, climate change, melting of permafrost, tacking the rise of artificial intelligence, opportunities and threats emerging from commercialization of space etc.
High dependence on Icicle Group ‘s star products
– The top 2 products and services of Icicle Group still accounts for major business revenue. This dependence on star products in Business Services industry has resulted into insufficient focus on developing new products, even though Icicle Group has relatively successful track record of launching new products.
Slow decision making process
– As mentioned earlier in the report, Icicle Group has a very deliberative decision making approach. This approach has resulted in prudent decisions, but it has also resulted in missing opportunities in the Business Services industry over the last five years. Icicle Group even though has strong showing on digital transformation primary two stages, it has struggled to capitalize the power of digital transformation in marketing efforts and new venture efforts.
Skills based hiring in Business Services industry
– The stress on hiring functional specialists at Icicle Group has created an environment where the organization is dominated by functional specialists rather than management generalist. This has resulted into product oriented approach rather than marketing oriented approach or consumers oriented approach.
Slow to strategic competitive environment developments
– As Icicle Group is one of the leading players in the Business Services industry, it takes time to assess the upcoming competitions. This has led to missing out on atleast 2-3 big opportunities in the Business Services industry in last five years.
Lack of clear differentiation of Icicle Group products
– To increase the profitability and margins on the products, Icicle Group needs to provide more differentiated products than what it is currently offering in the marketplace.
Icicle Group Opportunities | External Strategic Factors
What are Opportunities in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis
The opportunities of Icicle Group are -
Developing new processes and practices
– Icicle Group can develop new processes and procedures in Business Services industry using technology such as automation using artificial intelligence, real time transportation and products tracking, 3D modeling for concept development and new products pilot testing etc.
– Icicle Group has focused on building a highly responsive customer relationship management platform. This platform is built on in-house data and driven by analytics and artificial intelligence. The customer analytics can help the organization to fine tune its loyalty marketing efforts, increase the wallet share of the organization, reduce wastage on mainstream advertising spending, build better pricing strategies using personalization, etc.
Use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies for transactions in Business Services industry
– The popularity of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies as asset class and medium of transaction has opened new opportunities for Icicle Group in the Business Services industry. Now Icicle Group can target international markets with far fewer capital restrictions requirements than the existing system.
Reforming the budgeting process
- By establishing new metrics that will be used to evaluate both existing and potential projects Icicle Group can not only reduce the costs of the project but also help it in integrating the projects with other processes within the organization.
Lowering marketing communication costs
– 5G expansion will open new opportunities for Icicle Group in the field of marketing communication. It will bring down the cost of doing business, provide technology platform to build new products in the Business Services industry, and it will provide faster access to the consumers.
Remote work and new talent hiring opportunities
– The widespread usage of remote working technologies during Covid-19 has opened opportunities for Icicle Group to expand its talent hiring zone. According to McKinsey Global Institute, 20% of the high end workforce in fields such as finance, information technology, can continously work from remote local post Covid-19. This presents a really great opportunity for Icicle Group to hire the very best people irrespective of their geographical location.
Redefining models of collaboration and team work
– As explained in the weaknesses section, Icicle Group is facing challenges because of the dominance of functional experts in the organization. Icicle Group can utilize new technology in the field of Business Services industry to build more coordinated teams and streamline operations and communications using tools such as CAD, Zoom, etc.
Using analytics as competitive advantage
– Icicle Group has spent a significant amount of money and effort to integrate analytics and machine learning into its operations in Business Services sector. This continuous investment in analytics has enabled Icicle Group to build a competitive advantage using analytics. The analytics driven competitive advantage can help Icicle Group to build faster Go To Market strategies, better consumer insights, developing relevant product features, and building a highly efficient supply chain.
Creating value in data economy
– The success of analytics program of Icicle Group has opened avenues for new revenue streams for the organization in Business Services industry. This can help Icicle Group to build a more holistic ecosystem for Icicle Group products in the Business Services industry by providing – data insight services, data privacy related products, data based consulting services, etc.
Learning at scale
– Online learning technologies has now opened space for Icicle Group to conduct training and development for its employees across the world. This will result in not only reducing the cost of training but also help employees in different part of the world to integrate with the headquarter work culture, ethos, and standards.
Better consumer reach
– The expansion of the 5G network will help Icicle Group to increase its market reach. Icicle Group will be able to reach out to new customers. Secondly 5G will also provide technology framework to build new tools and products that can help more immersive consumer experience and faster consumer journey.
Reconfiguring business model
– The expansion of digital payment system, the bringing down of international transactions costs using Bitcoin and other blockchain based currencies, etc can help Icicle Group to reconfigure its entire business model. For example it can used blockchain based technologies to reduce piracy of its products in the big markets such as China. Secondly it can use the popularity of e-commerce in various developing markets to build a Direct to Customer business model rather than the current Channel Heavy distribution network.
– Icicle Group can use the latest technology developments to improve its manufacturing and designing process in Business Services sector. It can use CAD and 3D printing to build a quick prototype and pilot testing products. It can leverage automation using machine learning and artificial intelligence to do faster production at lowers costs, and it can leverage the growth in satellite and tracking technologies to improve inventory management, transportation, and shipping.
Threats Icicle Group External Strategic Factors
What are Threats in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis
The threats of Icicle Group are -
– Icicle Group needs to prepare for regulatory challenges as consumer protection groups and other pressure groups are vigorously advocating for more regulations on big business - to reduce inequality, to create a level playing field, to product data privacy and consumer privacy, to reduce the influence of big money on democratic institutions, etc. This can lead to significant changes in the Business Services industry regulations.
Easy access to finance
– Easy access to finance in Business Services industry will also reduce the barriers to entry in the industry, thus putting downward pressure on the prices because of increasing competition. Icicle Group can utilize it by borrowing at lower rates and invest it into research and development, capital expenditure to fortify its core competitive advantage.
Shortening product life cycle
– it is one of the major threat that Icicle Group is facing in Business Services sector. It can lead to higher research and development costs, higher marketing expenses, lower customer loyalty, etc.
– As the populations of most advanced economies are aging, it will lead to high social security costs, higher savings among population, and lower demand for goods and services in the economy. The household savings in US, France, UK, Germany, and Japan are growing faster than predicted because of uncertainty caused by pandemic.
Capital market disruption
– During the Covid-19, Dow Jones has touched record high. The valuations of a number of companies are way beyond their existing business model potential. This can lead to capital market correction which can put a number of suppliers, collaborators, value chain partners in great financial difficulty. It will directly impact the business of Icicle Group.
Barriers of entry lowering
– As technology is more democratized, the barriers to entry to Business Services industry are lowering. It can presents Icicle Group with greater competitive threats in the near to medium future. Secondly it will also put downward pressure on pricing throughout the Business Services sector.
High level of anxiety and lack of motivation
– the Great Resignation in United States is the sign of broader dissatisfaction among the workforce in United States. Icicle Group needs to understand the core reasons impacting the Business Services industry. This will help it in building a better workplace.
Instability in the European markets
– European Union markets are facing three big challenges post Covid – expanded balance sheets, Brexit related business disruption, and aggressive Russia looking to distract the existing security mechanism. Icicle Group will face different problems in different parts of Europe. For example it will face inflationary pressures in UK, France, and Germany, balance sheet expansion and demand challenges in Southern European countries, and geopolitical instability in the Eastern Europe.
– Icicle Group needs to have a robust strategy against the disruptions arising from climate change and energy requirements. EU has identified it as key priority area and spending 30% of its 880 billion Euros European post Covid-19 recovery funds on green technology. Icicle Group can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Business Services industry.
Learning curve for new practices
– As the technology based on artificial intelligence and machine learning platform is getting complex, Icicle Group may face longer learning curve for training and development of existing employees. This can open space for more nimble competitors in the field of Business Services sector.
Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution
– Icicle Group has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Business Services industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, Icicle Group needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Business Services sector. According to Mckinsey study top managers believe that the adoption of technology in operations, communications is 20-25 times faster than what they planned in the beginning of 2019.
Stagnating economy with rate increase
– Icicle Group can face lack of demand in the market place because of Fed actions to reduce inflation. This can lead to sluggish growth in the economy, lower demands, lower investments, higher borrowing costs, and consolidation in the Business Services industry.
Increasing wage structure of Icicle Group
– Post Covid-19 there is a sharp increase in the wages especially in the jobs that require interaction with people. The increasing wages can put downward pressure on the margins of Icicle Group.
Weighted SWOT Analysis of Icicle Group Template, Example
Not all factors mentioned under the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants in the SWOT Analysis are equal. Managers at Icicle Group needs to zero down on the relative importance of each factor mentioned in the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants.
We can provide the relative importance to each factor by assigning relative weights. Weighted SWOT analysis process is a three stage process –
First stage for doing weighted SWOT analysis of Icicle Group is to rank the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. This will help you to assess the most important strengths and weaknesses of the firm and which one of the strengths and weaknesses mentioned in the initial lists are marginal and can be left out.
Second stage for conducting weighted SWOT analysis of Icicle Group is to give probabilities to the external strategic factors thus better understanding the opportunities and threats arising out of macro environment changes and developments.
Third stage of constructing weighted SWOT analysis of Icicle Group to provide strategic recommendations includes – joining likelihood of external strategic factors such as opportunities and threats to the internal strategic factors – strengths and weaknesses. You should start with external factors as they will provide the direction of the overall industry. Secondly by joining probabilities with internal strategic factors can help the company not only strategic fit but also the most probably strategic trade-off that Icicle Group needs to make to build a sustainable competitive advantage.