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Biogen (BIIB34) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Biogen (Brazil)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Biogen is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – increasing government debt because of Covid-19 spendings, geopolitical disruptions, increasing energy prices, challanges to central banks by blockchain based private currencies, wage bills are increasing, competitive advantages are harder to sustain because of technology dispersion, digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, customer relationship management is fast transforming because of increasing concerns over data privacy, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Biogen


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




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

The strengths of Biogen are -

Digital Transformation in industry

- digital transformation varies from industry to industry. For Biogen digital transformation journey comprises differing goals based on market maturity, customer technology acceptance, and organizational culture. Biogen 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

– Biogen is present in almost all the verticals within the industry. This has provided Biogen 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.

Cross disciplinary teams

– Horizontal connected teams at the Biogen 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.

Ability to lead change in

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

Successful track record of launching new products

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

Sustainable margins compare to other players in industry

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

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

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

High brand equity

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

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of Biogen comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the 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.

Ability to recruit top talent

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

Organizational Resilience of Biogen

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

Strong track record of project management in the industry

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






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

The weaknesses of Biogen are -

Skills based hiring in industry

– The stress on hiring functional specialists at Biogen 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.

Capital Spending Reduction

– Even during the low interest decade, Biogen 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 industry using digital technology.

No frontier risks strategy

– From the 10K / annual statement of Biogen, it seems that company is thinking out the frontier risks that can impact 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.

Slow to strategic competitive environment developments

– As Biogen is one of the leading players in the industry, it takes time to assess the upcoming competitions. This has led to missing out on atleast 2-3 big opportunities in the industry in last five years.

High cash cycle compare to competitors

Biogen has a high cash cycle compare to other players in the industry. It needs to shorten the cash cycle by 12% to be more competitive in the marketplace, reduce inventory costs, and be more profitable.

Ability to respond to the competition

– As the decision making is very deliberative at Biogen, in the dynamic environment of industry it has struggled to respond to the nimble upstart competition. Biogen has reasonably good record with similar level competitors but it has struggled with new entrants taking away niches of its business.

Lack of clear differentiation of Biogen products

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

Slow decision making process

– As mentioned earlier in the report, Biogen has a very deliberative decision making approach. This approach has resulted in prudent decisions, but it has also resulted in missing opportunities in the industry over the last five years. Biogen 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.

Low market penetration in new markets

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

Employees’ less understanding of Biogen strategy

– From the outside it seems that the employees of Biogen 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 Biogen supply chain. Even after few cautionary changes, Biogen is still heavily dependent upon the existing supply chain. The existing supply chain though brings in cost efficiencies but it has left Biogen vulnerable to further global disruptions in South East Asia.




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


The opportunities of Biogen are -

Low interest rates

– Even though inflation is raising its head in most developed economies, Biogen 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.

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 Biogen 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.

Changes in consumer behavior post Covid-19

– consumer behavior has changed in the industry because of Covid-19 restrictions. Some of this behavior will stay once things get back to normal. Biogen 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. Biogen 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.

Manufacturing automation

– Biogen can use the latest technology developments to improve its manufacturing and designing process in 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.

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

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

Learning at scale

– Online learning technologies has now opened space for Biogen 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.

Using analytics as competitive advantage

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

Reforming the budgeting process

- By establishing new metrics that will be used to evaluate both existing and potential projects Biogen can not only reduce the costs of the project but also help it in integrating the projects with other processes within the organization.

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at Biogen 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 industry.

Developing new processes and practices

– Biogen can develop new processes and procedures in 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.

Finding new ways to collaborate

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

Lowering marketing communication costs

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

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

– As the trade war between US and China heats up in the coming years, Biogen 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 Biogen to buy more products closer to the markets, and it can leverage its size and influence to get better deal from the local markets.




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


The threats of Biogen are -

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. Biogen 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.

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 Biogen in the sector and impact the bottomline of the organization.

Easy access to finance

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

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.

Environmental challenges

– Biogen 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. Biogen can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the industry.

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

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

Trade war between China and United States

– The trade war between two of the biggest economies can hugely impact the opportunities for Biogen in industry. The 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.

Increasing wage structure of Biogen

– 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 Biogen.

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. Biogen needs to understand the core reasons impacting the industry. This will help it in building a better workplace.

Learning curve for new practices

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

Barriers of entry lowering

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

Regulatory challenges

– Biogen 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 industry regulations.

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 Biogen.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Biogen Template, Example


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



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