A Holistic Approach to Technology Management

Management of technology links engineering, science, and management disciplines to address the planning, development, and implementation of technological capabilities to shape and accomplish the strategic and operational objectives of an organization. Refer to the definition of technology management, it requires collaboration of the R&D, manufacturing, service and operation function, marketing, finance, and HR function in the company. Thus a holistic approach needs to be taken to manage technology in the company. It will be divided to several reasons to explain in below paragraph and what are the benefits.

Firstly, technology management involves multi-functions within the organization. In a company, not only engineering department or R&D department is responsible for technology management, all the functions within the organization are more or less related to technology. Thus technology management requires a system of integration within the organization. For example, the product development and design process has been considered as a traditional technical activity. Engineers and designers can work individually towards the goals. However, this kind of isolated work can result an unsatisfied output. The engineering department may complain the marketing department for the poor data; the production department may complain engineering department for design need rework. Without crosscutting functions, it will not only raise the cost but also cause the friction between departments.

Secondly, technology management requires broad knowledge within the organization as business strategy, marketing, customers, competitors, existing product and service, SWOT, etc. Thus it is important to understand the overall sense to manage technology effectively. Furthermore, it is important to consider technology relative issues with the internal information and external information: how technology may influence the operation within the business; how the limitations and requirements of the business may affect the technical decision. If the technology management can’t achieve the system integration, it may lead to products can’t meet the market’s requirements and customer’s expectation since the technology management hasn’t been associated with marketing activities; project may last for long time with back and forth process because necessary technical information hasn’t been input; as well as cost will be increased; company may response to the market slower. Consequently the company may gain fewer profit compare to it could gain.

Thirdly, technology is not the isolated content within technology management. The key elements in technology management are management of innovation process, development of technology, technology utilization to obtain profit. The activities of technology management include development and research; design; manufacturing and operation; organizational learning; technology transfer, etc. Based on this perspective, technology management is not only a process to be applied in R&D but in a broad range of functional area. All the activities within technology management are used to align the technology strategy with company strategy. The company structure and business strategy are the important factors to determine the technology strategy. The technology strategy may be set to align with company’s long-term profitable project or short-term project to compete with other companies on the market. The technology management would consider all the parts inside of the organization to ensure it can align with business strategy.

Fourthly, Technology is a method instead of objective. Technology can only be applied through a fundamental structure instead of existing alone. Alternatively, the technology has to be implemented to enable the firm’s profitability and growth. The process to utilize technology is insisted of a set of cross function activities. Thus the technology would not be existed isolated or developed without business objectives.

As above analysis, it can ensure the maximum profitable though a holistic approach in technology management. For example, the operation management aims to drive the whole processes as quick as possible while eliminating mistakes, delays, etc. The effective operation management not only requires the output can satisfy customers but also generates profits to company. A proper technology strategy here can enable the operation processes to proceed faster and effective by avoiding unsuitable product strategy has been processed. Holistic approach can also ensure the output is marketable by avoid the lack of external information, which cause high risk to fail in the market. The holistic approach also can ensure the technology strategy to align with the overall business strategy. Furthermore, it also helps the company to identify the proper way and pace to adopt the technology.

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