In any established technology company, there are unique ways of managing current affairs and changing trends in the field of technology. In this sense, there are only two basic focus of any technology-based corporation in management. These are managing processes and people.
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Management of emerging technology firms must be different from managing well-established technology corporations. This is because there are complex processes, uncertainties, fast-changing processes, and increasing knowledge that upset the established standards.
Thus, the management of emerging technology firms must critically pay close attention to areas of strategy, marketing, technology reviews, and organizational structure (Day, Schoemaker and Gunther, 2004).
These industry dynamics may define the lifespan of either established or emerging technology company. These changes shift the established industry standards. Shifts in the industry, normal catch many firms unaware, including those who have advantages of market share and massive resources to enable them adapt to changes.
This is why emerging technology firms must leverage their market position, and resource so as to build their own unique systems of management peculiar to the company and industry.
Unique Management Practices utilized in emerging technology companies
Emerging technology companies often look at the potential of savings on labor costs. However, some of these firms fail to take into account the fact that emerging technological costs may be hard to determine objectively given the changes in the global markets. This is possible particularly where the firm uses outsourcing services. Time zone differences may force the company to have different managers that support their customers.
This translates to additional cost for the company. Thus, emerging technology companies’ managements are careful not to offset any gains from savings on labor. At the same time, they also ensure that the quality of their standards remains the same. A critical look at software developing companies shows that their management approaches are different. These managers involve several people as their vendors working across the global.
They are able to utilize the reduced labor costs and time, and access highly skilled workforces in developing software. These managers have learned how to manage difficulties associated with geographical differences, cultural barriers, communication difficulties and misunderstandings. Consequently, they are able to work together and create a team of create common working relations in their new technology companies.
However, software development is one of the most challenging areas in the technology industry. Management teams with unique experiences have been able to overcome complexities of managing such arrangements (Hagel and Brown, 2005).
Management of emerging technology companies also requires competitive intelligence. This means that managers must give their marketing teams information about competitions. The information should be specific to issues that are likely to affect their market share. Managers must be able to rate their products’ file against of those of competition technology companies in the industry.
Managers’ questions must address what can put them ahead of the competitions. Comparisons of companies’ profile will enable them know how their companies are performing within the industry, and establish advantages they have in the market over competitions. For instance, if the company prices are low, they may favor them.
However, if the company prices are higher than those of competitions, then the company may reduce them to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Critics observe that, in technology and software developing companies, superior products should attract higher prices. This can explain why software developers are continuously creating sophisticated packages.
Managers should also be able to gather market intelligence for products improvement and development. Managers of emerging technology companies have found out that some consumers use the available or old products because there are no new ones available. They are able to gather such information from customers and develop products that fulfill gaps in the markets.
Competitive intelligence involves studying the industry materials as well as competitors publications, participating in seminars, trade shows, and talking to customers.
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Managers of emerging technology companies have the advantages of obtaining all the information they need from publicly traded technology companies either from their Websites or other relations. Such managers also take keen interests in competitors’ publications that can offer them information.
Unique managers in emerging technology companies have learned that hiring competitors’ employees may not yield the desired information. This is because most companies insist that their employees sign a confidentiality agreement. This document deters any staff from spreading a company’s trade secrets to other unintended parties.
Successful emerging technology companies have learned that developing competitive intelligence requires the input of every employee. Consequently, such managers tend to involve their teams in information gathering and decision-making processes.
They believe in the power of sharing useful information to the company among all staff members. The aim is to monitor the industry activities and pay close attention to progresses competitions make. Thus, they are likely to miss any useful information for the company.
Emerging technology companies have learned to manage growth. Most successful and established technology companies must have planned for growth. They also have well-established recruitment plans and areas of focus to concentrate. Some of these companies may decide to manage growth at a given pace so that any new idea and plan easily get in the system without disrupting the normal processes.
Management of emerging technology companies requires creativity. Under normal circumstances, emerging technology companies will have employees who can share their knowledge, varied experiences and information. Managers encourage their workforces to discuss all relevant issues to their companies’ growth.
The leadership style also focuses on essential issues facing the companies’ growth. Such leadership must be strong and encourage team effort for establishment of appropriate companies’ culture.
We must remember that growth may occur fast than expected. This means that companies must have the capital or generate enough revenue to support their demands. Such demands lead to rapid growth; the company may not be ready to accommodate.
Thus, any manager in emerging technology companies must consider how much resources he has for expansion and how long it will last when faced with rapid expansion. Companies must also determine the portion of the revenue that must go into product support, research, development, improvement, or manufacturing so as to support the current demand needs.
Managers know that growth is a gradual process. Emerging technology companies must prepare for such occurrences. The company must create a working environment conducive for research, office, support staff, and recruits.
This expansion also implies that the company must consolidate its operation even when growth is taking place. Managers must ensure smooth movement in cases of relocation or expansion of the company into more than a single location.
Management of emerging technology companies takes into account knowledge management in the organization. This involves having mechanisms in place to ensure that companies transfer, leverage, and share the relevant knowledge between the client and vendor.
Knowledge in emerging technology companies may include technical knowledge on systems, technologies and tools and business knowledge on business processes, company functions and the industry. However, there are a number of properties of knowledge that make its management complex. Firstly, the company distributes knowledge on both sides of the relationship between the client and vendor.
In a development project, the client possesses knowledge about its business needs from the application, and the vendor possesses technical knowledge on how to develop the product. Secondly, some knowledge is complex and context-based, which makes it difficult to articulate and transfer between the client and vendor.
Exploiting this type of knowledge involves transferring it from the organization in which it resides to the organization that will use it. Finally, the client has to be careful not to share knowledge that is commercially sensitive and valuable to its competitors.
Emerging technology companies with global outreach have been developing knowledge management practices to improve quality and productivity in project development. One crucial practice has involved putting in place mechanisms to facilitate bi-directional and frequent communication between staff located on the client’s site and those offshore.
Another valuable practice employed by vendors is applying knowledge gained from projects with other clients to current development projects. This allows vendors to reuse and develop standard applications, thus saving time and reducing development costs. Companies have also been formalizing and storing crucial knowledge to mitigate the problems of high staff attrition rates.
In routine projects, where formal requirements and system design can be easily developed, knowledge sharing is likely to be straightforward. The emerging technology companies can transfer knowledge of their requirements to the vendors, and the vendors do not need extensive knowledge of the companies’ business to develop the application.
However, in complex, development projects knowledge sharing is extremely challenging. For example, where the project is novel, and it is difficult to formalize requirements, knowledge transfer will be difficult, as the company may misunderstand client requirements. However, there are a number of ways of emerging technology companies dealing with these challenges.
Emerging technology companies know that a potential solution for dealing with knowledge sharing difficulties is not to outsource any development project. However, where the company has to outsource project development, it should select a vendor with extensive knowledge of the client’s industry, and ensure that the vendor can exploit knowledge gained from projects with its other clients.
In addition, the company and vendor can establish arrangements to ensure that they transfer the right type of knowledge in different phases of the development project. This will also involve understanding the different mixes of technical and business knowledge required in each phase. Detailed requirements analysis will require more knowledge of the company’s business processes and industry than the project testing phase.
Frequent communication between companies and partners is necessary for sharing knowledge in initial phases of the project. The company and vendor business experts working together on the company’s site can facilitate this knowledge transfer.
Management of emerging technology companies also looks into managing people and relationships. These are necessary aspects of this strategy through the use of common systems and agreed co-ordination and control mechanisms to monitor company progress.
The use of common processes, such as software development methodologies and common technologies, such as software systems and telecommunications links facilitates effective relationship management in emerging technology companies. Differences in norms and values can be difficult to bridge, as people base them on cultural background, education and working life.
However, managers in emerging technology companies form cross-cultural teams where they achieve a compromise working culture through employees. They both modify their behavior to reflect the cultural norms of each other (Willcocks, 2008).
Managers of emerging technology companies employ appropriate communication media for effective communication. Effective communication between clients and vendors is a critical element of an emerging technology company’s arrangements. However, communication is even more necessary in global technology companies’ arrangements where client and vendor are apart due to physical distance and time zone differences.
Time zone differences between team members mean that the team cannot resolve queries and problems as quickly as with local vendors, which ultimately slows down development times. Effectively employing communication media can reduce these difficulties and ensure that frequent and clear dialogue occurs between the client and the vendor’s on-site and offshore, or nearshore development teams.
Face-to-face interaction provides the richest form of synchronous communication and facilitates the development of interpersonal relationships and team-building between client and vendor employees. Advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs) have increased the importance of technologies in facilitating communication in global teamwork (sometimes referred to as virtual teams).
Increasingly, rich synchronous communication such as video conferencing and less rich synchronous communication media such as desktop video conferencing have become substitutes for face-to-face interactions in most emerging technology companies.
ICTs can be used to transfer knowledge in important phases of the development process including communicating client system requirements to the vendor and transferring knowledge of policies, processes, and systems from the on-site team to the offshore team.
In addition, collaborative technologies such as group support systems, shared application development repositories, file-sharing, and application-sharing technologies support communication in a global team environment. Lean synchronous communication media such as the telephone, conference calls on the Internet and instant messaging systems are also necessary tools for communication (Tadelis, 2007).
Although ICTs and other technologies are vital communication media for management of emerging technology companies, they cannot be used exclusively to co-ordinate teamwork. Language and cultural differences can create communication difficulties, misunderstanding, and conflict between team members.
It is extremely challenging to build up trust in a team setting, which is particularly vital in large-scale projects where communication takes place through technologies. Studies have found that people are less productive and less satisfied than those who work in a face-to-face team environment.
In addition, technologies such as desktop video conferencing are not suitable for all types of project task and people and can adversely impact group performance. There are a number of important factors that have to be considered when using technologies for management of emerging technology companies’ communication.
Management of emerging technology companies also considers strategic partnership development. The scales and complexity of projects require strategic partnership. The contract should include a number of provisions to facilitate a partnership agreement that should include fair sharing of efficiency savings and opportunities for sharing other benefits during the contract period.
The high level of dependency between each party means attempting to build partnership relations that can help to deal with potential difficulties and drive improvements. Parties must establish open arrangements that involve sharing and understanding each other’s costs to estimate margins, and drive continuous improvement require the development of interpersonal relationships and frequent communication.
These are essential characteristics of partnerships. Both the client and the vendor envisage that a partnership will be helpful in creating flexibility in the relationship. This is critical as some factors might change during the implementation and management phases of the contract.
As both the client and vendor become more experienced with the shared services arrangement, more sophisticated sharing and charging techniques would follow.
Occasionally, during implementation, the client agree to reduce the number of key performance indicators specified in the contract, as both parties feel they are over-elaborate and reduce the significance of what is under measurement. A key objective of the shared services arrangement is improving performance between both parties (Hesketh, 2008).
However, the company and vendor recognize that performance management would have to be conducted in a spirit of openness. Effective management of the contract requires the client putting in place internal mechanisms for monitoring the service quality that internal users are getting from the shared services center.
This involves developing a scorecard that includes metrics highlighting performance levels in the areas of customer satisfaction and operational and financial performance.
Future trends in management practices
Management in emerging technology companies is evolving and rapidly developing. New possibilities, jargons, integrated user interfaces, and vendors are emerging every day. In this context, managers should gear their mind-sets to an ever-increasingly complex field of IT industry.
Therefore, managers must utterly reconsider their interactions, relationships, and business strategies. Management techniques allow relationships and business issues to drive business decisions, strategies, brands, and services.
The emerging new technologies are creating innovator’s dilemma. This is the inability of leading companies to adopt and embrace pervasive new technologies because they disrupt their existing business systems. Consumers and retailers might experience this same scenario in the era of the technological revolution.
Therefore, management team should pay keen attention to the evolving technology and management trends in their industries around products and services innovations, sales and marketing.
Technology is now becoming the norm in products and services, innovation, development, and sales. We are most likely to experience shift in managers’ behavior toward interactions and relations with various changes in the technology industry. Management will mean that managers will put more value on technological capital and innovation than in other areas of business.
At the same time, technologically savvier people will have disproportionate advantages over the rest. Scholars expect the technological industry to shift dramatically to advanced innovations as industry trends become unpredictable with new changes that upset the established trends.
Retailers are shifting their products toward technological-based strategies. Similarly, this move will force IT departments and technology sellers to involve much of IT solutions in the platforms they provide to cater for the dynamic markets. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) will make critical decisions regarding the benefits of embracing technology and conversely, the risks they associate with not embracing it.
Technological innovations have drastically reduced the costs of business operations, eliminated boundaries and democratized who can run and start a business. We are mostly like to see a number of sprouting small business with lowered costs and hassles. Areas of outsourcing and crowd-sourcing are likely to benefit from new developments in IT.
Online business opportunities provide possibilities, and affordability for various businesses to provide personal relationships, with individual customers and communities.
Organizational boundaries are opening up for improved collaboration and merger among the emerging and established technology companies. Companies will share data and information related to opportunities, contacts, sales, accounts and tasks with suppliers, partners, vendors, and customers who rely on the same platforms for conducting business.
Day, G. S., Schoemaker, P. and Gunther, R. E.(Eds.). (2004). Wharton on Managing Emerging Technologies. Massachusetts: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
Hagel, J. and Brown, J. (2005). The Only Sustainable Edge: Why Business Strategy Depends Upon Productive Friction and Dynamic Specialization, Boston: Harvard. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Hesketh, A. (2008). Examining the Shared Services or Outsourcing Decision. Strategic Outsourcing: An International Journal, 1(2), 154–172.
Tadelis, S. (2007). The Innovative Organisation: Creating Value through Outsourcing. California Management Review, 50(1), 261–77.
Willcocks, L. (2008). Global Outsourcing of Back Office Services: Lessons, Trends, and Enduring Challenges. Strategic Outsourcing: An International Journal, 1(1), 13–34.