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UOB (UOBH) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for UOB (Singapore)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , UOB is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – increasing inequality as vast percentage of new income is going to the top 1%, increasing government debt because of Covid-19 spendings, supply chains are disrupted by pandemic , customer relationship management is fast transforming because of increasing concerns over data privacy, increasing transportation and logistics costs, increasing energy prices, banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, increasing household debt because of falling income levels, central banks are concerned over increasing inflation, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of UOB


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




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

The strengths of UOB are -

High brand equity

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

Analytics focus

– UOB 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 Regional Banks industry. The technology infrastructure of Singapore 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 Regional Banks

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

Training and development

– UOB has one of the best training and development program in Financial 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.

Successful track record of launching new products

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

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

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

Ability to recruit top talent

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

Digital Transformation in Regional Banks industry

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

Innovation driven organization

– UOB is one of the most innovative firm in Regional Banks sector.

High switching costs

– The high switching costs that UOB 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.

Cross disciplinary teams

– Horizontal connected teams at the UOB 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.

Strong track record of project management in the Regional Banks industry

– UOB 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 UOB | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of UOB are -

No frontier risks strategy

– From the 10K / annual statement of UOB, it seems that company is thinking out the frontier risks that can impact Regional Banks 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 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 UOB supply chain. Even after few cautionary changes, UOB is still heavily dependent upon the existing supply chain. The existing supply chain though brings in cost efficiencies but it has left UOB vulnerable to further global disruptions in South East Asia.

Workers concerns about automation

– As automation is fast increasing in the Regional Banks industry, UOB 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.

Slow to harness new channels of communication

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

Employees’ less understanding of UOB strategy

– From the outside it seems that the employees of UOB 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.

Slow decision making process

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

Aligning sales with marketing

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

Compensation and incentives

– The revenue per employee of UOB is just above the Regional Banks industry average. It needs to redesign the compensation structure and incentives to increase the revenue per employees. Some of the steps that it can take are – hiring more specialists on project basis, etc.

Interest costs

– Compare to the competition, UOB 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.

Ability to respond to the competition

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

Skills based hiring in Regional Banks industry

– The stress on hiring functional specialists at UOB 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.




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


The opportunities of UOB are -

Use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies for transactions in Regional Banks industry

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

Finding new ways to collaborate

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

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

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

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. UOB can explore opportunities that can attract volunteers and are consistent with its mission and vision.

Developing new processes and practices

– UOB can develop new processes and procedures in Regional Banks 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.

Changes in consumer behavior post Covid-19

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

Leveraging digital technologies

– UOB 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.

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

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

Creating value in data economy

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

Reforming the budgeting process

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

Loyalty marketing

– UOB 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.

Remote work and new talent hiring opportunities

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

Better consumer reach

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




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


The threats of UOB 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.

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

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

Barriers of entry lowering

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

Increasing wage structure of UOB

– 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 UOB.

Shortening product life cycle

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

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 UOB in the Regional Banks sector and impact the bottomline of the organization.

High dependence on third party suppliers

– UOB 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.

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 UOB.

Learning curve for new practices

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

Easy access to finance

– Easy access to finance in Regional Banks industry will also reduce the barriers to entry in the industry, thus putting downward pressure on the prices because of increasing competition. UOB 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.

Backlash against dominant players

– US Congress and other legislative arms of the government are getting tough on big business especially technology companies. The digital arm of UOB business can come under increasing regulations regarding data privacy, data security, etc.

Increasing international competition and downward pressure on margins

– Apart from technology driven competitive advantage dilution, UOB 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 UOB prominent markets.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of UOB Template, Example


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



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