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Featured image: 10 Factors to Help You Evaluate a New Technology

10 Factors to Help You Evaluate a New Technology

Imagine the scenario: you’ve heard about a great new technology promising huge benefits. Before you convince your team and make an investment decision, take a step back and consider the tech evaluation criteria that affect your ability to implement it as well as the external landscape in which it will need to succeed.

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10 factors to consider for evaluating technologies

1. Adoption cost

Before choosing a technology, assess the costs and workload required to implement it. The expected benefits need to compensate for the costs. Since there is often limited funding for innovation projects, the investment must be justified.

Rating criteria for new technologiesIt’s difficult to make an accurate assessment of an untested technology on your own. That is why it helps to draw on the combined expertise of colleagues. Our software tool ITONICS Radar offers a Rating feature that helps teams to evaluate technologies collaboratively.

We recommend rating technologies on criteria such as “Internal Know-How” and “Business Potential”. With our Element Configuration, you can also create new Rating criteria, for example, “Cost” for your particular purpose. Similarly, in ITONICS Portfolio, rate the potential impact of the technology against attractiveness, complexity, and internal know-how. That way, you can balance technology adoption with internal capabilities. 

If the assessment phase reveals that there is insufficient internal know-how to implement the technology, the alternative is to acquire the needed skills through partnerships or investing in a relevant startup. With the ITONICS software, you can also scout for partner companies or startups using the Insights tool. Capitalizing on the established abilities of an existing business can decrease the risk of an investment and decrease time to market and cost in the long run. 

2. Threat

New technologies come with risks. Unanticipated outcomes can impact society and ruin a business. What may seem like a breakthrough innovation could carry health, environmental, legal, and privacy risks. That’s why it’s necessary to understand where a particular technology is heading, and where it is now.

ITONICS Insights lets you scan millions of verified sources, gathering research from news, patents, and publications. The software also offers features that allow you to examine the evolution of technology in specific regions or over a certain time period and anticipate its future impact.

3. Capability

What does the technology enable your company to do? It might unlock new capabilities to deliver products and services. Or, its potential to benefit the business may actually be small. Think this through with your team, and rate technologies together on these relevant criteria: “Business Potential”, “Application Scope”, and “Potential Impact”.

The ITONICS Academy offers a free course on Strategic Foresight that provides advice about aligning your organization’s capabilities with emerging technologies. Complete the course to gain skills and earn recognition with an innovation certificate from ITONICS.

4. Usability

New technology might have tremendous disruptive potential, but if its implementation is not easy for people to use, it won’t likely be adopted. Usability is how effectively and efficiently consumers can use a product. It is important for a company to understand user needs.

The ITONICS Insights tool allows you to research drivers of change and trends in consumer expectations. Using it for environmental scanning helps you adapt to an ever-evolving landscape of user needs. Usability can be subjective and affected by skill level. A good way to get diverse perspectives internally and externally is by involving participants in ideation campaigns on how a new technology can be used.

5. Interoperability

Adopting new technologies must advance the company’s competitive advantage. The new technology has to complement other existing technologies or be able to replace outdated technologies while still maintaining interoperability. The market success of a device, for instance, is affected by how it complements and connects with consumers’ other devices.

In its lifespan, a product may be expected to synchronize with other products that have not yet entered the market. It is therefore smart to do scouting to stay ahead of technology, trend, and startup developments. Understand the level of interoperability between existing technologies and a growing trend. The ITONICS Innovation OS has a set of features that aid you in doing this, such as the Network Graph visualization that shows connections between Elements:

It allows you to establish logical connections between trends and technologies. The size of the dots indicates the number of relations to other Elements. The bigger the dot, the more relations a technology or trend has and the more important it is for you.

Network Graph visualization to identify relationships between technologies

Understanding how these forces interact, equip you to innovate better. The ideal is to build interoperability and synergies into your company’s innovations.

6. Integration

Consider the difficulty of integrating a new technology into existing IT systems. When the aspiration is to incorporate a new technology into a company’s service offering, the ideal is that it can integrate seamlessly into existing systems and processes. Let knowledgeable colleagues assess the complexity of a technology and how easy it will be to integrate.

7. Application

Analyze whether the technology’s ecosystem is expanding or shrinking. Leading companies offer a set of services that interconnect with their own and those of complementary companies. Analyze the existing pilot projects or proof of concepts leveraging the technology. Ask your colleagues to evaluate and rate the application scope of technologies on your platform, in order to achieve a crowdsourced consensus.

8. Legal compliance

The unanticipated legal implications of new technologies may instill caution, and delay innovation. A company that anticipates and understands the implications is equipped to make a bold leap and gain an advantage against cautious competitors. It is, therefore, necessary to scan the regulatory and compliance requirements linked to implementing the technology. ITONICS Insights helps you to do environmental scanning, finding scientific research and patents relevant to the technology. The Power Search function in ITONICS Insights allows you to filter specifically for legal issues.

9. Security and privacy

While increasing connectivity and easier access to digital services have broadly benefited consumers, these developments come with increased security and privacy risks. Hacks and data thefts, enabled by weak security, cost companies millions in fines and ransom payments. Even the best internal teams may have blind spots in seeing flaws in their system security. It is prudent to get input from external security experts through open innovation. Companies can tap into a wider pool of talent, leading to more successful and robust products and services.

Tip: Open Innovation is an effective way to involve external experts from niche knowledge areas. On the ITONICS Platform, you can configure custom ratings to assess specific security criteria of new technologies. Our Campaigns tool encourages contributors to submit concepts to the platform and then rate and discuss submissions collaboratively.

10. Social and cultural

New technologies can alter the behavior and operation of society. Consider the potential social and cultural impact of the technology you plan to implement. Is there a risk that it will be met by push-back from consumers? People often reject new technologies when it is perceived as a threat to our humanity. A societal trend may even emerge that purposefully rejects your product or service. If you want to track how society is responding to a particular technology, the ITONICS software allows you to find relevant news by narrowing down the topic in terms of time and geography and makes it easier to understand how a trend has evolved over time. It enables you to anticipate society’s response to your innovative product or service.

Investing in new technology requires you to consider the wide range of factors that may influence its success. Dedicate enough time to this, and involve a wide set of perspectives in the evaluating process. Despite the attraction to acting fast and getting the product to market, a company that diligently assesses the risks and opportunities will have a better chance of succeeding.

Best practice in technology scouting: Cisco Technology Radar

A best practice example for efficient and effective technology management is Cisco. The leading provider of information and communication technology was able to speed up its existing technology foresight process by implementing and customizing the ITONICS Radar. Cisco was looking for a powerful tool to optimize its existing methodology.

Read the full success story of how Cisco established a seamless process to identify technology-related threats and opportunities earlier than the competition!

Effectively identify and evaluate technologies with ITONICS

Identifying the most relevant technologies for your business requires expert knowledge and diverse perspectives. Bringing together this collective knowledge can be challenging, especially when you're dealing with multiple projects, teams, and stakeholders.

Ready to radically upgrade your technology scouting process? The ITONICS Innovation OS is designed to systemize all activities from strategy to execution, at scale. Our innovation management software has tons of features to streamline your efforts, including:

  • Real-time signals feed from patents, news, scientific publications, and reports to stay on top of change and disruption
  • Collaboratively rate trends, technologies, risks, startups, and other drivers of change with other teams and experts
  • Customizable Radar views to understand the potential impact of drivers of change at a glance
  • Analyst-curated, industry-specific trend and technology content to kickstart your foresight journey
  • Customizable ideation campaign templates to get started quickly
  • Capture, evaluate, and prioritize ideas from internal and external sources
  • Manage innovation projects, portfolios, and roadmaps
  • Monitor and track project progress and performance
  • Reports on innovation metrics and KPIs

Don't leave your organization's innovation success up to chance (or spreadsheets). Focus on what really matters: driving innovation and growth for your business.