The world today is changing faster than ever before. Technological developments, financial constraints, expanding markets, restructuring and mergers, new philosophies and government legislation are all putting pressure on organisations to change and stay dynamic (Davenport et al,1990; Aijo et al, 1996). It is said that if organisations do not pay attention to environmental changes, they may not survive at all (Fahey et al, 1986).
This paper defines the external environment Deutsche Bank AG is facing in its German retail branch unit. According to Farnham, (1999) the PESTEL analysis and Porter’s (1980) five forces model provide a useful start for analysing the external environment and providing a crucial set of inputs for strategic development and implementation. Building up on the information gathered it will be discussed what key challenges the organisation is facing, the significance of these challenges and how they might be overcome. Finally, strategic implications are suggested.
Deutsche Bank AG
Deutsche Bank AG is one of the worlds leading financial institutions, operating in more than 70 countries with over 13 Million customers. The core markets for the company are Germany with 700 Finance centres and Europe with additional 600 centres which are part of the “Private & Business Clients” division. The other two main divisions are “Corporate & Investment Bank” and “Corporate Investments”.
The “Private & Business Clients” (PBC) division which includes the German retail branch unit was formed due to the process of restructuring the former areas of Personal Banking and Private Banking into one division in October 2002.
In 1995 Deutsche Bank established Bank 24, an independent specialized on-line bank, as a subsidiary. Throughout the year, Bank 24 provided financial services 24 hours a day using only the telephone, fax and Internet. On September 1, 1999, Deutsche Bank merged its retail and private banking division with Bank 24, thereby forming Deutsche Bank 24.
The online-broker MAXBLUE, founded in April 2001 and in the beginning operating internationally also belongs to this division. In December 2002 the online broker closed its international activities and focuses now only on the home market where it is a dominant player.
Deutsche Bank AG alone is too small to make its mark as a global player. DB AG only has 8.5 Million private customers, representing 7% of the German market share. This compared to other major banks in Europe which have up to 20% market share.
Nevertheless, Deutsche Bank AG achieved an excellent quarterly result in Private and Business Clients (PBC). This shows that Deutsche Bank’s intense focus on the private clients is paying off. (Deutsche Bank, 2004a)
Environmental Analysis and Significance of Challenges
The PESTEL-Analysis is a common approach for examining the general business environment in order to manage the future opportunities and threats from probable changes in the environment (Mullins, 2002; Farnham, 1999). This tool offers a checklist which divides the environment into six Categories: Political, Economic, Socio-Cultural, T echnological, Environmental and Legal (Johnson and Scholes, 2002). McMillan and Tampoe, (2000) state that the PESTEL framework represents a guide to the general environment but is based only historical data and the past, but it refers to forces of changes in the environment and can be used to forecast the future. In other words, understanding changes taking place currently is an important guide to anticipating the future (Fahey, 1986).
The analysis results provide organisations with lead time to identify, understand, and adapt to external issues, to anticipate the consequences of environmental trends, and to develop well thought out positions and policies. In addition, lead time enables organizations to convert emerging issues from threats to opportunities. (Bower et al., 1988)
The Political character of a government and the potential for change can have important implications for businesses, both nationally and internationally. Political factors include government regulations and legal issues and define both formal and informal rules under which the firm must operate. According to Clark, (2000) tax policy, employment laws, environmental regulations, trade restrictions, tariffs and political stability are some examples which have to be considered in environmental analysis. The political aspect is probably the most turbulent force in the environment (Fahey and Narayanan, 1986).The political system based on the political ideology, which is the set of beliefs, theories and principles within a society. The political ideology can often be linked to economic ideology and both help to explain the national economic policy of a country. Environmental issues enable companies to build strong relationships with consumers by enhancing the company’s reputation.
- Public policy priorities have shifted towards enhancing banking efficiency through competition
- Public policy has become less protective of the banking industry
- Relaxation of the Glass-Steagall Act in the United States and a similar process of deregulation in Germany (Basel II) are forcing Deutsche Bank AG to dedicate growing attention to market risk management and liquidity risk management.
- Freeing up some regulatory constraints (such as restrictions of the use of electronic signatures)
- Government is cutting expenditures of old-age benefits
- “Product safety” in terms of a depositor's guarantee fund are becoming more strict
The economic environment covers all aspects of economic behaviour at an aggregate level and includes government economic policy. Clearly, factors such as the level and rate of growth in incomes will have important implications for the level of consumer spending. Often, it is not sufficient to consider individual economic variables by themselves, as the interaction between variables can be important (Ennew, 1999). For instance if there is a decline in internal economic activity restrictions against foreign investment to strengthen the domestic economy.(Hibbert, 1997) Thus governments play a key role and politics becomes linked to economic influences directly the economic environment by their main politic instruments the fiscal and monetary policy. Economic factors do not automatically indicate consumers’ buying preferences, why these need to be analysed and an effort put into attracting customers (Ngobo, 2004), before strategic goals are set.
- Increasing local and global competition in terms of both markets (geographic diversification) and products.
- Contamination among different industries due to progressive relaxation of regulations an huge inter-industry acquisitions
- Increase of importance of private pensions, mutual funds and private banking operations
- Worldwide consolidation and consequent restructuring affects German retail sector
- Product and process innovations affect the existing price and margin structures