Technology Assessment – An Important Part of Strategic Planning

In developing our strategic plan, we spend significant time analyzing our market segments and our competition.

Technology

Technology

There are other important factors which can affect our strategies, even our ability to continue in business as usual. Most organizations will have most or all of these factors.  However, there will be some which are not present or are minimally present in some companies. This depends on the type of business activities which add up to the complete company profile. This article will be the first of a short series of articles on the “other factors” we analyze in our strategic planning.  The first area of these other factors is: Technology Assessment.

We include three sections in this analysis. The first is Process Technology: How we use technology to actually produce the products or deliver the services we sell. We look at the current state of the technology to determine whether we are close to the most current technology. We will look at the others in another article.

How effective is our technology in delivering the desired products or services we produce for our customers?

Are we using highly automated high production volume equipment to produce our product? Are we using more manually operated machinery and technology to produce what we sell?  There usually is no right or wrong answer to this question, just an assessment of where we are.  Is our service delivery technology up to date?

Next, we look at the cost effectiveness of our technology

Does using the equipment we have produce our products at a cost level which will allow us to be competitive?  We also look at the costs of replacing or upgrading our equipment. Why would we want to replace a machine? For example, to lower our production costs might be one reason. If we have a serious malfunction might be another. If so, what will be the costs of doing so? How long might it take?  What impact might it have on our ability to produce until the replacement is installed?

Following this, we try to assess how long each machine will be economically effective. What is its useful life? When will production on the machine cease to be at a low enough cost to continue to justify keeping it?

Next, can we determine, or reasonably estimate, the state of the art of similar equipment at our competitors? Do they have an advantage or disadvantage in their technology? This might be in the cost of production, or in the ability of the technology to perform certain tasks effectively.  Admittedly, getting a realistic assessment of a competitor’s situation may be anywhere from difficult to impossible.

Once we have determined the current state of our technology, we need to look to the future

What will be our future needs for technology to do what we need going forward? Much the same analyses as above will have to be made looking forward. We will have to take into account on what path our strategies will take us. We will have to determine what our future needs will be, and how best to meet them. I’ve used machinery as my example, but the technologies could be scientific instruments, computers, communications or other specialized technologies. The process is essentially the same for all.

In short, planning how we will produce and deliver our products and services will take attention and integration with our strategic plan. If you need help in making these analyses, or with your complete strategic plan, call or email me.  My contact information is: Dana Baldwin 616-575-3193 and baldwin@cssp.com.

Does your organization include technology assessment in your strategic plan?  Attend the Simplified Strategic Planning Seminar to learn more about this and other aspects of Simplified Strategic Planning.

Author, M. Dana Baldwin

Author, M. Dana Baldwin

M. Dana Baldwin is a Senior Consultant with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached by email at: baldwin@cssp.com

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