Technology is a Greek word derived from the synthesis of two words - Techne, meaning art and Logos, meaning logic or science. Technology thus means the art of logic or the art of scientific discipline. It is the use of science based knowledge to meet a need and acts as a bridge between science and new products.
Though today's pop culture associates technology and techies with computer science and associated technologies, the term is actually covers all aspects of engineering and product development, whether information technology, mechanical technology, civil technology or electrical technology. Technology is all pervasive and has naturally been commercialised. All product developments are nothing but application of technology to solve different problems faced by humans, be it a new type of soap, a new anti biotic or a new communication platform.
Why Manage Technology
Once technology is so closely associated with commerce, the various commercial aspects need to addressed and thus steps in the field of technology management. So why is technology management required?
- Developed and developing economies are distinguished primarily by their ability to effectively manage resources and technological assets. Companies must therefore improve the way they manage technology and Innovation.
- Technological capability, capacity to innovate and the ability to commercialise the technology are key aspects of the organisational knowledge of a firm. This organisational knowledge then helps in developing core competencies and competitive advantage.
Now we need to answer some more questions. The first question that arises is, what are the effects of technology on a business?
- It reduces cost of operation. The use of robots for manufacturing has reduced the cost of operation for manufacturing companies.
- It helps create new products and markets. A good example is the use of technology by Apple to create a smart phone (product) and a whole new market for smart phones.
- It allows businesses to adapt to changes in scale and format of business. Example is the use of assembly line technology by Ford when they wanted to exponentially scale up their operations. Also, Dell used technology to change the format of PC retailing.
- It improves customer service.
Components of Technology Management
The next question , what comprises technology management? The various activities comprising technology management are:-
- Planning the technology strategy - This involves developing a plan that outlines the technology goals and objectives of the company for the next three to five years. The process requires preparation of written documents detailing how the company will meet those goals and objectives.
- Assessing the need of technology - Technology assessment must focus on the firm’s goals. It is also based on business continuity, support and maintenance, security and budgeting. The process needs to assess, how well the company’s existing systems meet its needs? It must also assess, the training provided which is directly related to the performance of functions against any training that may improve individual and organizational performance and assist an agency in achieving its mission and performance goals.
- Transfer and integration of technology - Based on the assessment, "Packaged Technology" may have to be transferred and integrated into the product development process. This technology may be obtained from a partner or from own R&D efforts.
- Technology support - Technology support is a set of structured, clearly defined and standardised procedures. These structured and standardised processes are developed based on years of experience and practice in various industries and business areas. It is noteworthy that the process of Technology-Support is often underestimated by enterprises. Such an act leads to resultant delays in product development process and unexpected costs.
Process of Technology Management
After having understood the need for technology management and its components, the last question is, how to manage technology? Technology management process comprises following activities:-
- Identification of appropriate technology required to overcome the assessed shortcomings.
- Selection of the most appropriate and least costly technology from the various options available.
- Acquisition of the selected technology through either collaboration, purchase, partnership or through developing own new technology.
- Exploitation of the acquired technology for meeting own requirements.
- And most importantly, protection of the technology from infringements and patent/ copyright violations.