Technology as a product
Paper in proceedings, 2012
The ever increasing technological complexity and multi disciplinary nature of products has altered the product development strategies of companies around the world. The diversity of the technologies involved in these complex products means that it is no longer feasible for most companies to possess and foster expertise in all the technologies required for their product development. Companies today are more than ever focusing on acquiring technologies from external sources, and technology trade is fast becoming big business. All this presents an opportunity for mature and technology oriented companies that have accumulated a wealth of technologies initially developed for their own products. These technologies can now be leveraged and marketed to potential buyers to form an additional revenue source for these companies. This trade opens up an opportunity also for small technology development companies that otherwise lack the resources to compete in the finished goods market.
The benefit from this opportunity can be greatly improved if a repeatable ‘technology as a product’ approach is followed rather than the traditional approach for a one off transfer of technology. This approach suggests that a company efficiently builds and packages the technology, enabling it to sell or license it to multiple buyers, and thus maximizing appropriation. This paper formulates a framework for this approach based on literature on knowledge and technology transfer as well as practice from industry in the trade of technology. In the initial stage a hypothetical model is formed from issues identified from the literature that are likely to affect technology trade. These issues are then investigated, and in some cases validated, with the experience of five European companies from different industries, ranging from startups to large multinational technology developers. The final framework, a culmination of these issues, attempts to carve out a hypothetical guideline for aspiring technology sellers. The proposed framework is the first step towards a comprehensive validation research study, which will in turn lead to a concrete/robust guideline for technology oriented companies to efficiently trade their technologies as products.