VersaBank (VB) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for VersaBank (Canada)

Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , VersaBank is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – increasing household debt because of falling income levels, cloud computing is disrupting traditional business models, competitive advantages are harder to sustain because of technology dispersion, increasing inequality as vast percentage of new income is going to the top 1%, there is backlash against globalization, increasing transportation and logistics costs, there is increasing trade war between United States & China, banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, talent flight as more people leaving formal jobs, etc

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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of VersaBank

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

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

The strengths of VersaBank are -

Ability to recruit top talent

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

High switching costs

– The high switching costs that VersaBank 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.

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of VersaBank comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Money Center Banks 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.

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

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

Training and development

– VersaBank 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

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

Ability to lead change in Money Center Banks

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

Analytics focus

– VersaBank 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 Money Center Banks industry. The technology infrastructure of Canada 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.

Organizational Resilience of VersaBank

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

Highly skilled collaborators

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

Superior customer experience

– The customer experience strategy of VersaBank in Money Center Banks industry is based on four key concepts – personalization, simplification of complex needs, prompt response, and continuous engagement.

Low bargaining power of suppliers

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

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

The weaknesses of VersaBank are -

High dependence on VersaBank ‘s star products

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

Interest costs

– Compare to the competition, VersaBank 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.

Workers concerns about automation

– As automation is fast increasing in the Money Center Banks industry, VersaBank 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.

Increasing silos among functional specialists

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

Ability to respond to the competition

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

No frontier risks strategy

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

Aligning sales with marketing

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

High bargaining power of channel partners in Money Center Banks industry

– because of the regulatory requirements in Canada, VersaBank 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 Money Center Banks industry.

Slow decision making process

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

Lack of clear differentiation of VersaBank products

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

Compensation and incentives

– The revenue per employee of VersaBank is just above the Money Center 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.

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

The opportunities of VersaBank are -

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

– The popularity of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies as asset class and medium of transaction has opened new opportunities for VersaBank in the Money Center Banks industry. Now VersaBank 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, VersaBank can use these opportunities to build new business models that can help the communities that VersaBank operates in. Secondly it can use opportunities from government spending in Money Center Banks sector.

Low interest rates

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

Reforming the budgeting process

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

Finding new ways to collaborate

– Covid-19 has not only transformed business models of companies in Money Center Banks industry, but it has also influenced the consumer preferences. VersaBank 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 VersaBank has opened avenues for new revenue streams for the organization in Money Center Banks industry. This can help VersaBank to build a more holistic ecosystem for VersaBank products in the Money Center Banks industry by providing – data insight services, data privacy related products, data based consulting services, etc.

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

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at VersaBank 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 Money Center Banks industry.

Manufacturing automation

– VersaBank can use the latest technology developments to improve its manufacturing and designing process in Money Center Banks 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.

Using analytics as competitive advantage

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

Learning at scale

– Online learning technologies has now opened space for VersaBank 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.

Leveraging digital technologies

– VersaBank 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.

Buying journey improvements

– VersaBank can improve the customer journey of consumers in the Money Center Banks industry by using analytics and artificial intelligence. It can provide automated chats to help consumers solve their own problems, provide online suggestions to get maximum out of the products and services, and help consumers to build a community where they can interact with each other to develop new features and uses.

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

The threats of VersaBank are -

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 VersaBank in the Money Center Banks sector and impact the bottomline of the organization.

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.

Environmental challenges

– VersaBank 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. VersaBank can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Money Center Banks industry.

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

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

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 VersaBank.

Shortening product life cycle

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

High dependence on third party suppliers

– VersaBank 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.

Trade war between China and United States

– The trade war between two of the biggest economies can hugely impact the opportunities for VersaBank in Money Center Banks industry. The Money Center Banks 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.

Learning curve for new practices

– As the technology based on artificial intelligence and machine learning platform is getting complex, VersaBank may face longer learning curve for training and development of existing employees. This can open space for more nimble competitors in the field of Money Center Banks 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. VersaBank needs to understand the core reasons impacting the Money Center Banks industry. This will help it in building a better workplace.

Increasing wage structure of VersaBank

– 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 VersaBank.

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 VersaBank business can come under increasing regulations regarding data privacy, data security, etc.

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. VersaBank 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.

Weighted SWOT Analysis of VersaBank Template, Example

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

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