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Technology watch : Definition, challenges, main actors

- Reading Time: 3 minutes
veille technologique définition

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 a “technology watch”. In this article, we come back to the definition as well as the different objectives of this technological watch.

How to define technology watch ?

“Technology watchconsists of all the techniques aimed at systematically organizing the collection, analysis and dissemination of technical information useful for the safeguarding and growth of companies.”
Steven C Wheelwright, former professor at Harvard University

The technological watch 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 technological watch becomes critical and must intervene as soon as possible. 

Technological watch is divided into 3 stages:

  1. Data sampling: 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 of a company is concerned, and must participate in the information research process.

Flexibility is mandatory when technology watch is wished. Impossible to be static and refuse changes: everything must circulate transversally within the company. 

In order to have an efficient and relevant watch, it is necessary to develop a participative management model. All hierarchical levels must feel concerned and motivated in the process. An active human support and even financial support from the company’s executive is needed. The participation from the research & development department is also vital to ensure that the monitoring is carried out to good effect. In fact, creating a team to focus on the monitoring and animation around this initiative has become mandatory in companies. 

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

What are the goals of this approach?

To summarize the objectives of technology watch are to support the company’s strategic decisions through the search for useful information.

According to specialists, the basis of technological watch in terms of products revolves around four poles:

  1. 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. 
  2. Technological: Evaluates current leading technologies by analyzing their conditions of access, their growth rates and their potential for future progress.
  3. 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
  4. Product: Must inquire about potential future products in their added value and function.

Who are the actors of the technological watch?

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 technology watchers:

  • Warrior: particularly active, he invests and is permanently in research. Unfortunately, not enough companies use this kind of profile.
  • Offensive: this type of profil is very active especially when competition is tough in a field. This is the case of many specialists who become technology watchers, particularly in relation to foreign countries.
  • Active: research is not their main business but is part of their tasks, very much used in France.
  • Reactive: 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 write articles about the last innovations in Data. We cover a lot of subjects such as Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Management or more generally Data Science.

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