veille technologique définition

What is technology scanning? Definition and challenges

Tracy S

Tracy S

3 min

If there is one thing that many sectors of activity share, it is the speed of evolution of the professions. It is becoming essential to keep up with innovations and advances capable of having an impact on the future of the business. This is what we call technology watch. In this article, we come back to the definition as well as the different objectives of this technological watch.

Definition of technology scanning

For Steven C., technology watch is Wheelwright – former professor emeritus at Harvard University – “consists of all the techniques aimed at systematically organizing the collection, analysis and dissemination of technical information useful for the safeguarding and growth of companies”. 

The technological scanning must warn and alert any person in charge of a change, a novelty or an innovation, whether technical or scientific. As soon as it can modify the landscape or make loss/gain an economic advantage, the watch becomes critical and must intervene as soon as possible. 

Technological watch is carried out and is divided into 3 stages:

1 – acquisition of information: awareness, detection & access to sources 
2- transmission & storage: internal management
3- synthesis of the collected information 
Two choices are available to a company wishing to set up a technology watch policy. Either the company chooses a passive collection when the watch is perhaps less critical or an active research. 

Each department concerned – R&D, finance, sales, etc… must participate in the information research process. 

Flexibility is the watchword when technology watch is desired. Impossible to be static and refuse change: everything must circulate transversally within the company. 

In order for the watch to be efficient and relevant, it is necessary to develop a participative management model. All hierarchical levels must feel concerned and motivated.  Active, human and even financial support from the company’s executive and the research & development department is also vital to ensure that the monitoring is carried out to good effect. From then on, creating a team of animation reveals the order of the obligatory in order to animate this watch. 

Finally, a clear and concise definition of the process and goals of this monitoring is crucial to ensure that the information is transmitted to all concerned.

Objectives of technology scanning

To summarize the objectives of technology scanning, it helps the company’s strategic decisions through the search for useful information and the demand for weak signals. 

For ENSAM specialists, the basis of technological watch in terms of products revolves around four poles:

1st pole: “benchmark“, based on the analysis of the competition. This analysis consists in identifying potential competitors, evaluating their products and analyzing their strategies and development poles so that they cannot take them by surprise. 


2nd pole: “technological” which evaluates current leading technologies by analyzing their conditions of access, their growth rates and their potential for future progress.


3rd pole: “strategy” which evaluates the company’s strategy and each of its sectors/departments. Based on an in-depth analytical study of competitors’ strategies, it identifies companies acting with comparable strategies or methods


4th pole: “product“, which must inquire about potential future products in their added value and function.

Actors of the technological scanning

Technology watch is carried out by different actors who either act passively and can be brought up to date with new trends, or those who will actively look for new technological factors.

More generally, we can distinguish 5 different types of watchers:

  • Warrior: particularly active, he invests and is permanently in research. Unfortunately, too few French companies use such profiles.
  • Offensive: very active especially when competition is tough in a field. This is the case of many specialists who become guardians, particularly in relation to foreign countries.
  • Active: research is not their main business but is part of their tasks, very much practiced in France.
  • Reactive : the watchman: has the task of reacting to the introduction of an external attack. 
  • Sleeper: weighs each attack and judges whether the competition is dangerous or not. 

In any case, at DataScientest we are actors of the technological watch, especially in advanced domains. We regularly disseminate innovations in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence likely to affect our daily lives through our articles and dossiers prepared by our data scientists. 

If you wish to receive a summary of information in Data Science and AI on a regular basis and thus carry out your technology watch, our newsletter is made for you! 

Finally, our internal Research & Development laboratory allows us to develop specialized tracks to ensure training that is always as close as possible to innovations.