Technology is the
practical application of knowledge to the development and application of
products, processes, operations and services.
value to a company’s activities primarily in two ways:
By providing better products and
services and more effective processes
By allowing the company the company to
focus on doing the right things.
More value is to be gained by developing the best
products than by the best development process. The key to competitive
success is hence to develop a system for identifying areas where
technological leadership adds value to the activities of customers in the
company’s marketplace. At the same time the company needs to be watchful
for areas where competitors see they can gain a customer’s business.
Technology in Perspective
Technology provides a
route to long term growth in the organisation through allowing the company
Differentiate products and develop new products
Develop new business opportunities
Reduce costs of its operations
Facilitate strategic change
The technology which
is used to further growth is sometimes clearly visible as a characteristic
or component of a product or service. Sometimes technology may be more
subtle, for example the system a company uses to manage its knowledge
about its current and desired future customers and their use, needs and
planned use of products and services the company provides, or, indeed the
system the company uses to manage and present information about its own
products and services.
technology areas support a company's business, aligned in turn with the "value disciplines" (Treacey,
Wiersema, HBR Jan 1993):
and relationship technologies are focused outside the business
towards dealings with customers and suppliers.
technologies, as the name suggests, are concerned with the way the company
works internally. Few customers have any real interest in the company’s
internal processes in themselves yet they have a strong interest in the
company being able to deliver results the performance of which is based on
the effectiveness of internal processes. The externally focussed
technologies have little value unless the internal processes are
effective. Imbalanced attention towards externally focused technologies
can be detrimental to a company’s business, for example where a company
fails to deliver the world's product against its required order date.
technologies include the knowledge and
application of knowledge which is put towards developing new products, new
markets and new business for the company to engage in. Particular
processes which support development technologies include the company’s
opportunity capture and analysis process, the product development process
and the company’s market opportunity analysis system. The key aspect here
is picking the right technology to be developing rather than the system
technologies are the systems a company
uses to liaise and to communicate with its external trading partners: its customers and
suppliers. Relationship technologies include the order taking and
invoicing process, the external product and service delivery process, the
customer knowledge management system. Relationship technologies build upon
the company's internal process capabilities and take that operational
excellence capability out into the trading marketplace.
Once the technology
focus is agreed the company needs to make sure it has systems that will
deliver the expected results. In short, it needs to do its things
right. The way to do that is through effective project and process
Sounds conceptual ? Probably. No apologies! You can't
fly to the moon if you don't know physics! A clear conceptual basis
provides the framework to plan strategically.
Clermiston has the tools and methodologies to convert
these concepts into actions that will give you effective results.
Customer input is
critical to the commercial success of your chosen technology strategy.
This input needs to be gained systematically, for example using a
strategic positioning survey (click on
the link for a sample pdf file). The results of this survey highlight gaps
where your company can make a measurable improvement relative to your
Just to get back
"down to earth" try these technology relevant questions: