Identifying and leveraging technology trends

Date:   Monday , September 03, 2007

Identifying and leveraging technology trends is an interesting exercise and is a must for all technology-based companies to stay in the industry. How it is done varies from company to company and also depends on the technology leader’s mind that is driving it.

Any company that is a ‘product solutions’ and ’service provider’ in the niche areas will have to be in tune with the industry technology trends and look out for service and solution offerings around it, and at the same time build the skills of the team on new technologies. This is a great task that needs to be addressed if you have to compete and stay in business.

There are various approaches and each and every one will have their own way, but here are some good approaches that would help:

1. Being active members of International bodies for technology standards and hooking to the network of right minded community:

One can look at being technology contributors by being active members of the technical committees where the network standards are drafted based on the new changes in the market and driven by the technology leaders who put them into effect in their products and services.

This, by itself, helps you to be current with the industry developments and the market through having early specifications that will help in early adoption of the same.

For example, some of the industry standards one can think of are IEEE, FDT, OPC and SAE. based on ones area of specialization.

Merely becoming members wouldn’t help unless one really gets to contribute by being a volunteer and spending extra effort on this.

2. Networking with industry analysts:

The technology trends can also be identified by reading industry analyses and market research reports. Of course, we may have to pay for this. We can also goggle and get some insights into market research reports that are easily accessible.

Niche technology oriented companies always have to watch these reports to figure out what’s happening in their areas and benefit from them. Association with leading industry analysts helps to be in tune with market and also helps identify the relevant technology the industry is looking for: (Industry analysts like ARC and Frost and Sullivan are good sources.)

3. Active participation in international technical seminars/conferences/events/fairs

We also could tune into technical conferences or seminars relevant to a particular industry that will help us to know what is going on and stay abreast with the new technologies that are being implemented.

Companies should encourage their technical experts to participate and present papers at international technical conferences and demonstrate their products at major events.

4. Technology association with educational /research institutes:

Partner with educationaland research institutes of repute to cooperate on the new technology innovations. This may include funding a particular research program, providing apprenticeship, and taking up consultancy services for the institutes. Encourage the in-house teams to participate in these programs.

5. Technology partnerships to leverage on the identified technologies:

Looking at technical cooperation with leading players in the industry who have complimentary skills will help to leverage and effectively implement the technologies. Finding the best fit here is the key.

6. Building knowledge of the team on the technologies identified:

This is a key activity that involves being in the know of how the knowledge building happens for the technical team that would be leveraging on the technology that we identify. It is a challenge for every company, I guess, and one can do it by identifying a technical expert who will champion the standards and volunteer to do the knowledge transfer to the team and help the team acquire the knowledge and skills on the technologies identified to develop new solutions.

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