How to conduct a technology assessment: Key data sources and steps for analysis

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In order to keep up with technology changes, companies must first make sense of it. Technology assessments provide this understanding to guide technology strategy formulation and R&D planning.

What does technology assessment mean?

A technology assessment provides foresight into futuristic technologies, thereby helping organizations decide whether to implement them or not. Technology assessments are carried out to understand the potential of new technology by evaluating its effect on the firm and the environment in which it operates. Besides revealing its wide-reaching implications, with all its opportunities, possibilities, challenges, and threats, it acts as a starting point for formulating R&D roadmaps.

The data sources that a technology assessment leverages:

  • Proof of concept and prototype specifications
  • Inventor, assignee or founding team members and composition
  • Patent publications
  • Company announcements
  • Scientific research papers
  • Market incidence, growth, and penetration data
  • Market opportunity and outlook estimates
  • Customer segmentation, profiling, and journeys
  • Customer wants, needs, and demand-mapping
  • Touchpoints, pain points, and gain-points

Steps to conduct a technology assessment

1. Technology discovery

This step evaluates the technical merits of the technology. It moves beyond the novelty to determine its ability to provide a competitive advantage or meet a need.

2. Compare with alternative technologies

This step addresses the question of whether the technology does the job better, cheaper, or faster than alternative technologies. This step is crucial, as it not only offers competitive insight but also reveals a technology’s disruptive capabilities and ability to displace existing solutions.

In most cases, where innovations are category-defining and lacking precedent, a more thorough analysis of the prospects, suspects, and willingness to pay among potential customers should be conducted. Moreover, it highlights whitespaces that could eventually lead to red-ocean or blue-ocean strategies to realize the commercial opportunity linked to the novel invention and/or solution developed.

This step concentrates on exploring the utility of the technology for a specific purpose, allowing firms to identify technology potential areas, technical progress, and innovative activity.

Which industries are primed to benefit from the technology the most? What value, benefits, complexities, and peculiarities are known to be experienced by its adoption? These are some of the questions that this step of a technology assessment addresses.

Besides helping the firm in gain an outside-in perspective of the technological developments within an industry, this step also reveals the strategic directions being taken based on patent analysis and qualitative and quantitative research.

4. Future application forecasting

What is the future of this technology? How is it likely to develop? These are some of the broader questions that this step addresses.

There is a vast amount of information on vertical integration, related diversification, unrelated diversification, and moves towards digitization or international forays that can be unearthed just by tracking the technology.

5. Market analysis

This step helps gauge the market conditions for a certain technology. For example, organizations can determine how likely the market is to accept the technology by considering its efficacy and the problems that can be ameliorated by its application.

In addition to determining the market readiness for a technology, a market analysis also uncovers market saturation, potential adoption, penetration, and the expected top-line growth and the bottom-line impact that is usually not evident. These details also reveal the product and technology life cycles and the obstacles linked to market entry.

As a result, companies can take measures to overcome potential barriers and develop better go-to-market strategies for both innovative as well as established products, technologies, and solutions.

6. Organizational fit

This step answers how a particular technology integrates with the organization. What steps will the firm need to take to utilize the technology best? How will it impact employees and existing offerings?

Analysts evaluate the fitness of the technology in terms of the value it can create, the uniqueness of its value proposition, and the impact of the technology when combined with existing resources and the readiness of the organization, to create a lucid roadmap for its implementation.

Next steps

A technology assessment is typically followed by a feasibility study to determine the viability of implementing a new technology. This study reveals complementary technologies that are needed to make a technology practical or more effective and wider in scope.

For example, the development of wearable medical devices depends critically upon semiconductor and electronic technologies, engineering and design capabilities, and materials development. The scope of wearables that we use today can be tremendously impacted as well as extended using technologies like 5G, developments linked to RFFE, and satellite communication, among others.

Read more: Technology assessment of wearable AR systems

As part of its innovation research solution, Netscribes conducts technology assessments to support some of the world’s most innovative companies in the application and improvement of futuristic technologies. Contact us to know more.

Related reading: Technology commercialization: 10 questions to guide your go-to-market strategy

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