Technology globalisation and R&D management.

Concepts and fundamentals of technology monitoring and intelligence systems for better R&D management in an organisation.

The strategic management of scientific and technological information is becoming more and more important to innovate and survive in a complex and changing world. Nowadays, society is characterised by technology globalisation and the constant need for innovation. Therefore, Technology monitoring and Competitive Intelligence (CI) are fundamental keys in the technological management process and R&D in an organisation. In this manner, they are useful to identify technology innovation opportunities and new ideas that provide process, products and services improvement within the organisation.

A broadly agreed definition for technology monitoring can be the Standard UNE 166006:2018 “R&D management: monitoring and Intelligence System”. It is understood as an organised, selective and permanent process of collection, storage, structuring, processing, and dissemination of information data within an organization. It intends to generate new knowledge in order to make decisions with lower risks so to be able to anticipate changes. Competitive Intelligence focuses more or less on the same process but it is more complete from two points of view: on the one hand, it processes all kind of information about the competitive environment, not only the technological information. On the other hand, it lengthens the process until decision-making.

Therefore, intelligence is shown by making decisions from the analysis of what happens in the environment. Both concepts share the idea of the organized process, that is to say, the existence of a group of people having a shared strategy who must coordinate themselves in the systematic research, picking up, leakage, analysis, value contribution and communication of the information obtained from several sources. This process must be automated and supported by a computer system in order to be carried out in a practical way in any organisation. All companies must understand the importance of this process because they are subject to this dynamic.

The difficulties emerge when companies want to put this process into practice and they face the usual restrictions: the organisation is not prepared; the habits must be changed; there are not enough material and human sources and there is no time for emergencies on a day-to-day dynamic. Putting this process into practice is not trivial, it requires to reflect, explain and organise a team of people and improve their information management skills, which are usually poor for supporting the setting up of a technology monitoring and intelligence system in the organisation. Therefore, regardless of the comparative situation where we are, the important point is to try to move forward as much as we can in every moment and encourage companies to implement this process, since it has only good consequences: to make better decisions, to innovate in a more accurate way, to diversify businesses or markets in the future and, to sum up, to get adapted to environment changes before the others do. The profits are enormous.

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