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Smartfren Telecom (FREN) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Smartfren Telecom (Indonesia)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Smartfren Telecom is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, central banks are concerned over increasing inflation, increasing inequality as vast percentage of new income is going to the top 1%, increasing transportation and logistics costs, customer relationship management is fast transforming because of increasing concerns over data privacy, supply chains are disrupted by pandemic , increasing energy prices, competitive advantages are harder to sustain because of technology dispersion, increasing commodity prices, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Smartfren Telecom


SWOT stands for an organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats . At Oak Spring University, we believe that Smartfren Telecom can use SWOT analysis as a strategic management tool to assess the current internal strengths and weaknesses of the Smartfren Telecom, and to figure out the opportunities and threats in the macro environment – technological, environmental, political, economic, social, demographic, etc in which Smartfren Telecom 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 Smartfren Telecom can be done for the following purposes –
1. Strategic planning of Smartfren Telecom
2. Improving business portfolio management of Smartfren Telecom
3. Assessing feasibility of the new initiative in Indonesia
4. Making a Communications Services sector specific business decision
5. Set goals for the organization
6. Organizational restructuring of Smartfren Telecom




Strengths of Smartfren Telecom | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Strengths in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The strengths of Smartfren Telecom are -

Organizational Resilience of Smartfren Telecom

– The covid-19 pandemic has put organizational resilience at the centre of everthing Smartfren Telecom does. Organizational resilience comprises - Financial Resilience, Operational Resilience, Technological Resilience, Organizational Resilience, Business Model Resilience, and Reputation Resilience.

Analytics focus

– Smartfren Telecom 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 Communications Services industry. The technology infrastructure of Indonesia 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 recruit top talent

– Smartfren Telecom is one of the leading players in the Communications Services industry in Indonesia. It is in a position to attract the best talent available in Indonesia. The firm has a robust talent identification program that helps in identifying the brightest.

Diverse revenue streams

– Smartfren Telecom is present in almost all the verticals within the Communications Services industry. This has provided Smartfren Telecom 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.

Highly skilled collaborators

– Smartfren Telecom has highly efficient outsourcing and offshoring strategy. It has resulted in greater operational flexibility and bringing down the costs in highly price sensitive Communications Services industry. Secondly the value chain collaborators of Smartfren Telecom have helped the firm to develop new products and bring them quickly to the marketplace.

Sustainable margins compare to other players in Communications Services industry

– Smartfren Telecom has clearly differentiated products in the market place. This has enabled Smartfren Telecom to fetch slight price premium compare to the competitors in the Communications Services industry. The sustainable margins have also helped Smartfren Telecom to invest into research and development (R&D) and innovation.

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

– Smartfren Telecom has innovation driven culture where significant part of the revenues are spent on the research and development activities. This has resulted in – Smartfren Telecom staying ahead in the Communications Services industry in terms of – new product launches, superior customer experience, highly competitive pricing strategies, and great returns to the shareholders.

Training and development

– Smartfren Telecom 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.

Strong track record of project management in the Communications Services industry

– Smartfren Telecom is known for sticking to its project targets. This enables the firm to manage – time, project costs, and have sustainable margins on the projects.

Superior customer experience

– The customer experience strategy of Smartfren Telecom in Communications Services industry is based on four key concepts – personalization, simplification of complex needs, prompt response, and continuous engagement.

High switching costs

– The high switching costs that Smartfren Telecom has built up over years in its products and services combo offer has resulted in high retention of customers, lower marketing costs, and greater ability of the firm to focus on its customers.

High brand equity

– Smartfren Telecom has strong brand awareness and brand recognition among both - the exiting customers and potential new customers. Strong brand equity has enabled Smartfren Telecom to keep acquiring new customers and building profitable relationship with both the new and loyal customers.






Weaknesses of Smartfren Telecom | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of Smartfren Telecom are -

Workers concerns about automation

– As automation is fast increasing in the Communications Services industry, Smartfren Telecom needs to come up with a strategy to reduce the workers concern regarding automation. Without a clear strategy, it could lead to disruption and uncertainty within the organization.

High bargaining power of channel partners in Communications Services industry

– because of the regulatory requirements in Indonesia, Smartfren Telecom is facing high bargaining power of the channel partners. So far it has not able to streamline the operations to reduce the bargaining power of the value chain partners in the Communications Services industry.

High dependence on Smartfren Telecom ‘s star products

– The top 2 products and services of Smartfren Telecom still accounts for major business revenue. This dependence on star products in Communications Services industry has resulted into insufficient focus on developing new products, even though Smartfren Telecom has relatively successful track record of launching new products.

Need for greater diversity

– Smartfren Telecom has taken concrete steps on diversity, equity, and inclusion. But the efforts so far has resulted in limited success. It needs to expand the recruitment and selection process to hire more people from the minorities and underprivileged background.

Skills based hiring in Communications Services industry

– The stress on hiring functional specialists at Smartfren Telecom 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 Smartfren Telecom is one of the leading players in the Communications Services industry, it takes time to assess the upcoming competitions. This has led to missing out on atleast 2-3 big opportunities in the Communications Services industry in last five years.

Capital Spending Reduction

– Even during the low interest decade, Smartfren Telecom 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 Communications Services industry using digital technology.

Increasing silos among functional specialists

– The organizational structure of Smartfren Telecom is dominated by functional specialists. It is not different from other players in the Communications Services industry, but Smartfren Telecom needs to de-silo the office environment to harness the true potential of its workforce. Secondly the de-silo will also help Smartfren Telecom to focus more on services in the Communications Services industry rather than just following the product oriented approach.

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 Smartfren Telecom supply chain. Even after few cautionary changes, Smartfren Telecom is still heavily dependent upon the existing supply chain. The existing supply chain though brings in cost efficiencies but it has left Smartfren Telecom vulnerable to further global disruptions in South East Asia.

Lack of clear differentiation of Smartfren Telecom products

– To increase the profitability and margins on the products, Smartfren Telecom needs to provide more differentiated products than what it is currently offering in the marketplace.

Aligning sales with marketing

– From the outside it seems that Smartfren Telecom needs to have more collaboration between its sales team and marketing team. Sales professionals in the Communications Services industry have deep experience in developing customer relationships. Marketing department at Smartfren Telecom can leverage the sales team experience to cultivate customer relationships as Smartfren Telecom is planning to shift buying processes online.




Smartfren Telecom Opportunities | External Strategic Factors
What are Opportunities in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The opportunities of Smartfren Telecom are -

Lowering marketing communication costs

– 5G expansion will open new opportunities for Smartfren Telecom in the field of marketing communication. It will bring down the cost of doing business, provide technology platform to build new products in the Communications Services industry, and it will provide faster access to the consumers.

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at Smartfren Telecom can make experimentation a productive activity and build a culture of innovation using approaches such as – mining transaction data, A/B testing of websites and selling platforms, engaging potential customers over various needs, and building on small ideas in the Communications Services industry.

Finding new ways to collaborate

– Covid-19 has not only transformed business models of companies in Communications Services industry, but it has also influenced the consumer preferences. Smartfren Telecom can tie-up with other value chain partners to explore new opportunities regarding meeting customer demands and building a rewarding and engaging relationship.

Changes in consumer behavior post Covid-19

– consumer behavior has changed in the Communications Services industry because of Covid-19 restrictions. Some of this behavior will stay once things get back to normal. Smartfren Telecom can take advantage of these changes in consumer behavior to build a far more efficient business model. For example consumer regular ordering of products can reduce both last mile delivery costs and market penetration costs. Smartfren Telecom can further use this consumer data to build better customer loyalty, provide better products and service collection, and improve the value proposition in inflationary times.

Low interest rates

– Even though inflation is raising its head in most developed economies, Smartfren Telecom can still utilize the low interest rates to borrow money for capital investment. Secondly it can also use the increase of government spending in infrastructure projects to get new business.

Better consumer reach

– The expansion of the 5G network will help Smartfren Telecom to increase its market reach. Smartfren Telecom 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.

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

– As the trade war between US and China heats up in the coming years, Smartfren Telecom can build a diversified supply chain model across various countries in - South East Asia, India, and other parts of the world. This reconfiguration of global supply chain can help Smartfren Telecom to buy more products closer to the markets, and it can leverage its size and influence to get better deal from the local markets.

Learning at scale

– Online learning technologies has now opened space for Smartfren Telecom 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.

Remote work and new talent hiring opportunities

– The widespread usage of remote working technologies during Covid-19 has opened opportunities for Smartfren Telecom 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 Smartfren Telecom to hire the very best people irrespective of their geographical location.

Using analytics as competitive advantage

– Smartfren Telecom has spent a significant amount of money and effort to integrate analytics and machine learning into its operations in Communications Services sector. This continuous investment in analytics has enabled Smartfren Telecom to build a competitive advantage using analytics. The analytics driven competitive advantage can help Smartfren Telecom to build faster Go To Market strategies, better consumer insights, developing relevant product features, and building a highly efficient supply chain.

Increase in government spending

– As the United States and other governments are increasing social spending and infrastructure spending to build economies post Covid-19, Smartfren Telecom can use these opportunities to build new business models that can help the communities that Smartfren Telecom operates in. Secondly it can use opportunities from government spending in Communications Services sector.

Leveraging digital technologies

– Smartfren Telecom can leverage digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate the production process, customer analytics to get better insights into consumer behavior, realtime digital dashboards to get better sales tracking, logistics and transportation, product tracking, etc.

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 Smartfren Telecom 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.




Threats Smartfren Telecom External Strategic Factors
What are Threats in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The threats of Smartfren Telecom are -

Aging population

– 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.

High dependence on third party suppliers

– Smartfren Telecom high dependence on third party suppliers can disrupt its processes and delivery mechanism. For example -the current troubles of car makers because of chip shortage is because the chip companies started producing chips for electronic companies rather than car manufacturers.

Easy access to finance

– Easy access to finance in Communications Services industry will also reduce the barriers to entry in the industry, thus putting downward pressure on the prices because of increasing competition. Smartfren Telecom can utilize it by borrowing at lower rates and invest it into research and development, capital expenditure to fortify its core competitive advantage.

Environmental challenges

– Smartfren Telecom 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. Smartfren Telecom can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Communications Services industry.

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. Smartfren Telecom needs to understand the core reasons impacting the Communications 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. Smartfren Telecom 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.

Trade war between China and United States

– The trade war between two of the biggest economies can hugely impact the opportunities for Smartfren Telecom in Communications Services industry. The Communications Services industry is already at various protected from local competition in China, with the rise of trade war the protection levels may go up. This presents a clear threat of current business model in Chinese market.

Consumer confidence and its impact on Smartfren Telecom demand

– There is a high probability of declining consumer confidence, given – high inflammation rate, rise of gig economy, lower job stability, increasing cost of living, higher interest rates, and aging demography. All the factors contribute to people saving higher rate of their income, resulting in lower consumer demand in Communications Services industry and other sectors.

Technology disruption because of hacks, piracy etc

– The colonial pipeline illustrated, how vulnerable modern organization are to international hackers, miscreants, and disruptors. The cyber security interruption, data leaks, etc can seriously jeopardize the future growth of the organization.

Learning curve for new practices

– As the technology based on artificial intelligence and machine learning platform is getting complex, Smartfren Telecom may face longer learning curve for training and development of existing employees. This can open space for more nimble competitors in the field of Communications Services sector.

New competition

– After the dotcom bust of 2001, financial crisis of 2008-09, the business formation in US economy had declined. But in 2020 alone, there are more than 1.5 million new business applications in United States. This can lead to greater competition for Smartfren Telecom in the Communications Services sector and impact the bottomline of the organization.

Regulatory challenges

– Smartfren Telecom 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 Communications Services industry regulations.

Increasing wage structure of Smartfren Telecom

– 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 Smartfren Telecom.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Smartfren Telecom Template, Example


Not all factors mentioned under the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants in the SWOT Analysis are equal. Managers at Smartfren Telecom 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 Smartfren Telecom 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 Smartfren Telecom 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 Smartfren Telecom 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 Smartfren Telecom needs to make to build a sustainable competitive advantage.



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