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Tech Scouting: Challenges And Solutions
The market is comprised of ever-evolving opportunities and innovations. This makes it imperative for companies to be on their toes, so they don’t miss out on the next big thing. That’s where tech scouting steps in. By helping businesses identify, locate, and evaluate technologies, trends, products, and services, it can assist with future strategy formulation and development.
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Tech Scouting: A Double–Edged Sword
A dedicated technology scouting team is essential for industries to stay competitive. But this external effort is a mixed blessing. Depending on how effectively and efficiently it is employed, tech scouting can both increase and decrease productivity. By connecting with varied sources, tech scouting aids innovation and company worth. But going too deep into the process can also be a huge dent in resources and might overlook the potential present within the business. The right balance is therefore essential to keep the efforts in check.
Challenges in Tech Scouting
A recent report titled ‘Best Practices: Scouting Trends and Emerging Technology identified three major challenges with tech scouting, namely:
- Building Strong Ties with Business Units
- Investing enough time in Technology scouting.
- Choosing the most appropriate areas to scout technology.
Let’s explore each one in detail.
Building Strong Ties with Business Units
Incorporating connection–building with other businesses in the company strategy is an initiative with long-term benefits. Such business ties are crucial for establishing relations that can be mutually beneficial. The impetus for this relationship-building needs to come from within the company, which is why integrating it with the business strategy is critical.
Investing Enough Time In Technology Scouting
The research involved in tech scouting is a never-ending process. there will always be new innovations on the horizon waiting to be tapped. But this takes up a significant amount of time and resources. Companies must know where to draw the line in scouting so that the exercise is advantageous and not a drain.
This is how you can ensure that your business devotes just the adequate amount of time required:
- Optimize Research: The infinite amount of information available can be burdensome to sieve through. This is why you need access to core systems and smart tools that help you streamline the research to gain maximum benefit. These tools not only help increase the breadth of research by including more data, but they are also quick and more efficient than manual searches.
- Define Research Focus: It pays to have a well-defined research strategy in place before commencing research. The absence of one causes time to be wasted on unnecessary data collection and filtration. Therefore, highlight and convey the boundaries to limit eh scope of research and obtain highly relevant results.
- Spend Time on Evaluation: A lot of times companies devote too much energy to weeding out bad opportunities. While it is important to stress the quality of the project you select, evaluating its potential is more critical. So, give time to the research but retain a sufficient amount for evaluating the business too.
In-House or External Tech Scouting?
Companies have two options when it comes to tech scouting- they can either do it internally or hire a specialized firm. How do the two fare against each other? Let’s find out the pros and cons.
- Internal scouting can be aligned more effectively with the company’s goals and objectives which may be difficult to convey to an external firm.
- The company has full control over the people who comprise the tech scouting team since they are hand-picked for the project.
- In-house teams can be a drain on employee productivity. Outsourcing the tiresome process is more productive, especially for small and medium businesses.
- The internal team might lack access to resources as well as the seasoned experience of a specialized firm.
- Outsourcing tech scouting may add up to the finances, but it is highly recommended for SMBs since they lack the manpower to take up this specialized task. Big businesses have more workforce at their disposal and are in a better position to practice in-house tech scouting.
Lately, it is becoming common for companies to adopt a hybrid model of tech scouting. In this scenario, tech scouting is outsourced to another firm, but an in-house team is maintained. Here is how it is beneficial:
- External firms can be roped in to fill the gaps in research conducted by an in-house team.
- The guidance of specialists can prevent internal teams from going too deep into research and away from the intended goals.
- The in-house team can focus on tapping and expanding on the opportunities present within the company, while the external firm can widen the network outside. This way, the internal talent won’t be overlooked, and the company can keep a finger on the pulse of the market as well.
Tech scouting is an intensive research domain with impactful implications for a company’s prospects. Mastering the art of tech scouting entails identifying strategic and technological interests, evaluating them, and managing mega portfolios of complex data. All this may sound like a lot of work for companies that lack the tools to perform these functions.
The easier and more efficient solution is to outsource tech scouting to firms with core competence in detecting innovation. Businesses can benefit immensely from their valuable insights and access to the holistic view of innovation activity in the market. So, if you are considering implementing tech scouting into your business, look to the experts for effective guidance.
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