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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 – technology disruption, wage bills are increasing, there is increasing trade war between United States & China, banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, increasing transportation and logistics costs, talent flight as more people leaving formal jobs, there is backlash against globalization, increasing energy 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 -

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.

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.

Successful track record of launching new products

– Smartfren Telecom has launched numerous new products in last few years, keeping in mind evolving customer preferences and competitive pressures. Smartfren Telecom 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.

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.

Learning organization

- Smartfren Telecom is a learning organization. It has inculcated three key characters of learning organization in its processes and operations – exploration, creativity, and expansiveness. The work place at Smartfren Telecom is open place that encourages instructiveness, ideation, open minded discussions, and creativity. Employees and leaders at Smartfren Telecom emphasize – knowledge, initiative, and innovation.

Ability to lead change in Communications Services

– Smartfren Telecom is one of the leading players in the Communications Services industry in Indonesia. Over the years it has not only transformed the business landscape in the Communications Services industry in Indonesia but also across the existing markets. The ability to lead change has enabled Smartfren Telecom in – penetrating new markets, reaching out to new customers, and providing different value propositions to different customers in the international markets.

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.

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of Smartfren Telecom comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Communications 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.

Low bargaining power of suppliers

– Suppliers of Smartfren Telecom in the Services sector have low bargaining power. Smartfren Telecom has further diversified its suppliers portfolio by building a robust supply chain across various countries. This helps Smartfren Telecom to manage not only supply disruptions but also source products at highly competitive prices.

Cross disciplinary teams

– Horizontal connected teams at the Smartfren Telecom 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.

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.

Innovation driven organization

– Smartfren Telecom is one of the most innovative firm in Communications Services sector.






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

The weaknesses of Smartfren Telecom are -

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.

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.

Low market penetration in new markets

– Outside its home market of Indonesia, Smartfren Telecom needs to spend more promotional, marketing, and advertising efforts to penetrate international markets.

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.

Interest costs

– Compare to the competition, Smartfren Telecom has borrowed money from the capital market at higher rates. It needs to restructure the interest payment and costs so that it can compete better and improve profitability.

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.

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.

Slow to harness new channels of communication

– Even though competitors are using new communication channels such as Instagram, Tiktok, and Snap, Smartfren Telecom is slow explore the new channels of communication. These new channels of communication can help Smartfren Telecom to provide better information regarding Communications Services products and services. It can also build an online community to further reach out to potential customers.

Products dominated business model

– Even though Smartfren Telecom has some of the most successful models in the Communications Services industry, this business model has made each new product launch extremely critical for continuous financial growth of the organization. Smartfren Telecom should strive to include more intangible value offerings along with its core products and services.

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.




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


The opportunities of Smartfren Telecom are -

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.

Loyalty marketing

– Smartfren Telecom 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.

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.

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.

Creating value in data economy

– The success of analytics program of Smartfren Telecom has opened avenues for new revenue streams for the organization in Communications Services industry. This can help Smartfren Telecom to build a more holistic ecosystem for Smartfren Telecom products in the Communications Services industry by providing – data insight services, data privacy related products, data based consulting services, etc.

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.

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.

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.

Use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies for transactions in Communications Services industry

– The popularity of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies as asset class and medium of transaction has opened new opportunities for Smartfren Telecom in the Communications Services industry. Now Smartfren Telecom can target international markets with far fewer capital restrictions requirements than the existing system.

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.

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.

Identify volunteer opportunities

– Covid-19 has impacted working population in two ways – it has led to people soul searching about their professional choices, resulting in mass resignation. Secondly it has encouraged people to do things that they are passionate about. This has opened opportunities for businesses to build volunteer oriented socially driven projects. Smartfren Telecom can explore opportunities that can attract volunteers and are consistent with its mission and vision.

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

– As explained in the weaknesses section, Smartfren Telecom is facing challenges because of the dominance of functional experts in the organization. Smartfren Telecom can utilize new technology in the field of Communications Services industry to build more coordinated teams and streamline operations and communications using tools such as CAD, Zoom, etc.




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


The threats of Smartfren Telecom are -

Shortening product life cycle

– it is one of the major threat that Smartfren Telecom is facing in Communications Services sector. It can lead to higher research and development costs, higher marketing expenses, lower customer loyalty, etc.

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.

Barriers of entry lowering

– As technology is more democratized, the barriers to entry to Communications Services industry are lowering. It can presents Smartfren Telecom with greater competitive threats in the near to medium future. Secondly it will also put downward pressure on pricing throughout the Communications Services sector.

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.

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.

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 Smartfren Telecom.

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.

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.

Increasing international competition and downward pressure on margins

– Apart from technology driven competitive advantage dilution, Smartfren Telecom can face downward pressure on margins from increasing competition from international players. The international players have stable revenue in their home market and can use those resources to penetrate Smartfren Telecom prominent markets.

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.

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

– Smartfren Telecom has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Communications Services industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, Smartfren Telecom needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Communications 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

– Smartfren Telecom 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 Communications Services industry.




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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