Strategic Technology Management & Business Today

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

Expert power in corporate entities vary with time and space. Today’s corporate entity cannot do much without technology. Due to this, Strategic Technology Management (STM) has taken on a central role in steering corporate entity. This article examines the key elements of Strategic Technology Management in the corporate world and how to make the best from it.

Different strategic business units take on several levels of importance in the corporate world. Some strategic business units like the “employee relations” department was essential when labor was considered as a mere factor of productive and a transactional cost to companies. However, the employee relations unit was replaced by the human resource department when the concept of human capital became a vital element of business.

In the late 20th Century, the marketing department was the most important strategic business unit in most companies. This is because companies had to find ways of selling their products. Businesses were run on the basis of production projections and the need to reach the consumer to get them to purchase these products. In the 1990s, companies moved towards understanding the client and consumption patterns. This made the marketing department indispensable to most companies.

Indeed, it was common for the CEO of most companies to be taken from the marketing department of companies. The main driver of this trend was the fact that firms through the early 21st Century could only survive through an emergent strategy that was responsive to the changing needs of consumers. Thus, product design and sales channels had to be a reflection of what the consumer wanted.

As the world evolved to a more tech-oriented system, the role of technology became significant. Technology came to change several things in the corporate world:

1. Communication in all directions

2. Product design

3. Product delivery

4. Product consumption

The consumer after 2010 has a completely different view of time. When a person sends an email to a company in the morning and get no response by mid-morning, they begin to question the company’s commitment to its client. Products are now digitalized and their delivery and consumption are all tied to the changing technological space.

Technology management is therefore central to a company’s survival and growth in the 2020s and beyond. This is a central function that brings together all technological resources of a company and link it to the corporate strategy.

Strategic Technology Management versus IT Department

The IT department is mainly tasked with the technical elements of information systems. They are responsible for creating, deploying and maintaining systems in an organization. This includes the functional affairs of ICT including systems operations, security and several other things.

Strategic Technology Management (STM) on the other hand, refers to how to create value from the information systems. This blends the different elements of technology cycle through creation, monitoring, assessment, transfer, acceptance, utilization, maturity and decline.

The Strategic Technology Management unit is linked to the senior management and directors of a company and they have the task of translating corporate strategy to effective methods of designing and utilizing technology to achieve this value. This is premised on the fact that the firm’s capital needs to be utilized in the most efficient, effective and profitable manner.

The strategic function of technology management is not technical. While the IT department can provide valuable advice, a strategic unit might be necessary. Such a unit will be run by an interdisciplinary approach which requires a blend of finance, strategic planning, consumer behavior and many others.

IT professionals can do this. However, a specialized function dedicated to strategic technology planning can focus on:

1. Forecasting

2. Technology Design

3. Profitability indices

4. Strategic alignment of technology

5. Monitoring and evaluation.

Corporate law requires these roles to be played by the directors of a company. Therefore, getting a specialized Strategic Technology Management team that understands technology and transcend the generational gaps can be useful.

Key Drivers of Strategic Technology Management

First, there is the trend of unending innovation as a source of competitive advantage. This makes it a strategic function that every firm that hopes to survive and grow needs to take seriously. To do this, there must be a personnel in charge of the evaluation and analysis of trends in technology and its deployment.

Secondly, radical innovation is key to the handling of change in any organization. This is due to the need for companies to undertake major shifts in technological structures periodically (usually 3 to 5 years). Such trends demand monitoring and forecasting trends in the industry and technological improvement.

The key elements of technology management include:

1. Imagination

2. Strategic Choice

3. Action

These are things that most IT personnel might not have the time to handle. The IT department typically have more things to do than anyone in the organization. Relying on an IT unit for imagination and strategy formulation will be extremely demanding.

Key Functions of Strategic Technology Management

Technology management is driven by several pointers that come together to explain important ideas including:

1. Road-mapping

2. Technology intelligence &

3. Technology evaluation

Road-mapping is about building a portfolio for technological projects and systems that can be used to define the technologies and projects a firm will pursue.

Technology intelligence is about proactively gaining information and applying it to existing projects.

Technology evaluation is about checking options and possibilities in order to identify where the firm is and where it is going to.

Strategic Implications

The 21st Century organization cannot survive without technology. The growth of exponential technologies mean the average corporate entity has to treat technology as a vital strategic resource. Therefore, firms need to have strategic technology management teams who will play a role in mobilizing the technological resources of the company and develop it continuously. Such a unit will be the bridge between the directors and Information Technology unit. Strategic Technology Management is becoming so central that its use in companies today has overtaking operations and marketing. It must therefore be observed closely by every organization that hopes to survive and grow.

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