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Master of Business Administration MBA Semester IV MI0040-Technology Management

Q.1 Define the term technology. Write a short note on evolution and growth of technology. Ans. Technology is derived from the Greek word technologia in which techne means craft and logia means saying. On the whole, technology means having the knowledge of making something. The term technology refers to knowledge, processes or products of technological activities, according to the context in which it is used, and the term management refers to the act of getting people together to achieve a specific goal. Management refers to the process of planning, organising, staffing, directing, and controlling the activities in an organisation. Thus, we can say that management of technology/technology management includes the factor of technology in all the activities like planning, organising, resourcing and leading the organisation.

Evolution and Growth of Technology

In the previous section, we learnt about the concept and meaning of technology. Now, we will discuss about the evolution of technology, before going to the other topics about technology. The history of technology dates back to the time when humans were able to prepare some simple tools with easily available natural resources. History indicates that the advancement in technology had a major leap with the invention of the wheel. From the invention of the wheel, much usage of the technology has started. The technology in all the fields has grown to a larger extent and now we can see the technology involved in almost all the things we use in our daily life. We know that there are some advanced technologies at present which include the printing press, telephone and Internet which have helped us to communicate all over the globe. Till now we have mainly concentrated on technology management in general. Now let us learn about technology management in India.

Technology management in India The Government of India is mainly focusing on the development of science and technology in the present world. The Indian industries are operating under the controlled and regulated economy. The technology management is generally lacking at the enterprise level except a few enterprises. There are many Indian companies which are able to develop and produce the internationally competitive products. The companies which use different kinds of technologies, and are excelling today, in India are the Punjab tractors, tata automobiles, amul food and certain drug and chemical industries. In the same way, there are many Research and Development (R&D) institutions which have developed and commercialised the technologies in the areas of drugs, chemicals, food technology, and computer software. The productivity of the Indian industries largely depends on the technologies that are imported. Most of the technologies that are used in the Indian industries are cost effective.

In July 1991, government of India introduced the new industrial policy that mainly focussed on international competitiveness, quality, efficiency and exports. This helped in the change in operating environment of the Indian industry. Because of this, very well planned technologies were developed at the enterprise level. These days, the companies are paying more attention on technology in order to be more competitive in the business market. It is not only the large scale industries that require the technology management; even the small scale industries also need a technology management to face the competitive world of today.

Q2. Citing an example, state and explain the reasons that compel a company to go for the new technology.

Ans. The use of new technologies plays an important role in the industry. Whenever a company wants to adapt the new technologies, it has to make decisions related to the acquisition of the technology. The company has to see the experience of its R&D for the actual need of acquiring the knowledge. The acquisition of technology becomes critical when the market lead time and competition is more. The following explains the reasons that compel the company for technology acquisition.

Technology acquisition helps to bridge the gap in technology, in the developing countries like India. The fastest way of bridging the technology gap is through collaborations. Acquiring the technology from outside company is more costly than acquiring technology from the R&D of the same company. It will be better, if we develop the new technologies from the in-house R&D. The dependence of the company on the collaboration is bad and we should have the selfreliance in the company every time.

Technology acquisition depends on the policy environment. Sometimes the economic policies do not allow the foreign countries to sell their goods and services in the domestic market. In such times, the foreign companies can get the financial returns only through the collaboration and selling the raw materials and components.

Technology acquisition is the process by which a company acquires the rights to use and exploit a technology for the purpose of improving or renewing processes, products or services. It does not include retailed or mass market off the shelf software which is generally governed by non-negotiable "shrink wrapped" licenses.

Technology acquisition is mainly designed for business-to-business technology acquisition. In few cases, technology comes from a university or research organization. The origin of the technology can take place in any area but it has to be tested, proven and ready to use.

Technology acquisition helps for enhancing the productivity of an organization. The company planning for technology acquisition has to make the agreement between the two companies and even the details of the costs are also present as part of the application.

Q.3 Explain Technology Generation. Explain Technology Development. Discuss the importance Technology Generation and Development. Ans. Technology Generation: Technology generation and development is often identical with the term Research and Development (R&D). However, technology generation involves R&D efforts, while technology development involves further stages of translating R&D efforts into marketable products, processes and services. Basically, we can consider the R&D process as having four distinct stages.

Stages of R & D Process The development includes creation, design and production and marketing of the generated idea. Through the entire process, its ideas and knowledge which are being followed, and the process is not complete, until the new idea is converted into a marketable product or service, which can be a hardware or software intensive technology. Corporate R & D and R&D Projects: Corporate research and development is the principal corporate asset for long-term technological competitiveness. We can classify corporate research activities by the purpose of the research: To support current businesses. To provide new business enterprise. To explore possible new technology basis. The R&D projects tend to go through the following stages: Basic research and invention. Applied research and functional prototype. Engineering prototype and testing. Production prototype and pilot production. Product testing and modification. Initial production and sales.

Process: As we are discussing about the technology generation, let us now discuss about the process of technology generation. Let us have a look at an illustration of the various inputs required for generation of technologies in Figure Process of Technology Generation criteria and resource allocation are some of the inputs to R&D, the output of which is technology. The input resources into R&D organisations are the traditional inputs such as money, materials, facilities, energy, labour and management, and the intelligencebased inputs such as science, knowledge, skills, information and existing technologies. The effectiveness of any R&D is determined in terms of the usefulness of the technologies it produces with respect to the overall objectives of the corporation Besides these factors, the R&D or technology generation involves many other aspects such as, monitoring and evaluation of R&D projects, funding of R&D, training and development, resource personnel, interactions at all levels, management policies and support, the availability of support structures and incentives at government level, timely collection and interpretation of technical and other information. The quality of resource leadership and commitment of the top management for research is extremely important. In Indian industry or corporate sector, it is generally observed that the research personnel occupy secondary place to finance, marketing and production personnel, and are not given due importance in decision-making at corporate level. Sometimes, inefficient personnel from other departments are posted or transferred to R&D department, thereby indicating a complete neglect of R&D concept. Such management attitudes need to be changed in the overall interest of the company. Importance Technology Generation and Development: In-house R&D: Technology development activities are generally carried out through setting up of separate in-house R&D units within the business, managed and headed by a well-qualified and experienced chief, directly reporting to the top management. However, this unit has close interactions with other departments within the company and there could even be exchange of personnel among different departments. The strength and facilities in the in-house R&D unit would depend upon the technology policy of the company and the nature of the business. In large companies, there are sometime R&D labs for each department and a central R&D lab for major R&D projects. Industrial R&D is mostly product or process oriented with specific objectives and time schedule; and not basic research. Incremental developmental efforts or import substitution efforts are generally common in most of the industries in developing countries including India, while

emphasis is on new technologies or new applications of technologies in advanced countries. Co-operative R&D: A group of companies in a particular industrial sector promotes an R&D centre as a society or a non-profit making company. The R&D is funded by the participating companies and the government. This R&D centre undertakes R&D as per the requirements of the companies in their larger interest, and sets up expertise and facilities of common nature and which are usually expensive. A company can also support specific projects to this centre. Cooperative research facilities are normally utilized for the projects which are not of cautious nature from the business point of view. Otherwise, most important part of the R&D can be done at the center and the remaining part involving finer details or critical technological aspects affecting the competitiveness is done at the in-house R&D division of the company. Contract research: A company may contract components of technology development to suitable R&D organizations, academic institutions, or consultants or experts. The inhouse R&D unit may coordinate the progress of the activities, to develop the desired technologies. This approach usually requires considerable internal technological and managerial capabilities coupled with a strong Science and Technology (S&T) information base.

R&D collaboration: A company may collaborate with another company in areas of common interest, if costs of development are high. Such inter-firm collaborative R&D efforts are becoming common in developed countries mainly due to high costs and shorter technology life cycles. It is found in areas such as micro-electronics, materials, information technologies, bio-technologies, and so on. A firm may also collaborate with the public funded or privately funded R&D institutions on case-to-case basis, where R&D results are shared mutually, and so are the expenses. A company in India may even collaborate with another company or R&D institution abroad, on mutually agreed terms. Research societies: Large corporations or industrial houses may set up independent research societies, in addition to their in-house R&D units. Such societies may undertake R&D activities mostly relating to the broad interests of the promoting companies in line with the national interests. They will also take advantage of those facilities for the activities and programmes in their in-house R&D unit. Governments usually encourage such societies and provide several tax concessions and financial incentives. Research companies: Large firms of technology innovative industrialists may support research companies, specifically for conducting research and development of technologies for others on commercial basis. The development costs and reasonable

profits are recovered from the sale and transfer of technologies. Such a concept is common in USA, and other developed countries while it is yet to gain recognition in developing countries such as India. A company may adopt any of the approaches or a combination of the approaches depending on its needs and resources.

Q3. Describe some characteristics of technology forecasting. Explain in brief about the six phases in technology forecasting process. Ans. Characteristics of technology forecasting Generally, there are some characteristics that are associated with technology forecasting. We will now discuss them briefly. A technological forecast relates to certain characteristics such as levels of technical performance (e.g., technical specifications including energy efficiency, emission levels, speed, power, safety, temperature, so on), rate of technological advances (introduction of paperless office, picture phone, new materials, costs, so on).

A technological forecast also relates to useful machines, procedures, or Techniques. In particular, this is intended to exclude the items intended for pleasure or amusement from the domain of technological forecasting, since they depend more on personal tastes rather than on technological capability. A technology forecast can be for short-term, medium-term, and long-term.

Let us now briefly explain these six phases. Identification of needs: This is the first phase in technology forecasting process. After identifying the expected outputs and the objectives of the future, thorough analysis is done in order to make sure the relevance of technology fore casting. This phase ends with a decision of technology forecast.

Prepare project: This is the second phase in technology forecasting process. In this phase, the forecasting activities that are planned and resources are allocated. The roles of each human resource are carefully prepared and explained. There are three human resources, clients, core tem and external participants. The client includes both customer and user of technology forecast. The core team performs the activities like defining references, writing documents, creating the structure of the forecast and filling it. The core team co-ordinates the efforts of experts from team, external participants and clients which help to develop an entire forecast. The external participants help in providing data, information and experience. The major sources of information and data are identified in this phase.

Define objectives: This is the third phase in technology forecasting. This phase once again goes through the objectives that are defined in the first and second phases. This phase decides the dimensions of the forecast. This includes both the normative and exploratory forecast. We use normative forecast, when the desirable future is seen and the normative forecast focus on finding the path, from the present to the desirable state.