Acquiring or Developing Technology Internally

The acquisition of technology is the purchase of software and or hardware systems with a plan to implement.  Many acquisitions require well researched and strategically designed purchase plans, with product comparisons, demonstrations, and project implementation plans.  Decision criteria depends upon whether it’s best to build or buy, which are usually based on demonstrated or researched functionality, trial and test periods, or a full requirements analysis and business process review of what needs to change for software or technology to make things work better.  Decisions seem to be based on profitability, improved operations, and cost savings in the long term; therefore, strategic plans must be developed with some understanding of what will improve, how and where costs will be incurred and reduced, and what it will take to make it happen.  In professional terms, some call it due diligence, while others call it product and business analysis with technology strategic planning with official and formal phases of technology projects:  assumptions, needs, feasibility studies, resource management, requirements, costs, talent, prototypes, specifications, test plans, and success criteria.  The depth of the project or details and what goes into pre-purchase depends upon what is known as far as what the problems are and what solutions are available, or why the technology or innovation is seen as beneficial, as well as the probability of achieving the desired result.  Some are generalized buying endeavors or plans, while others are detailed, lengthy, and scientific.  Some larger acquisitions require change management strategies, as well as business management because things change when technology is implemented.  It’s like the acquisition of a business because it brings new capability, there is a cost, an investment, and a return, often seen later in profits, and efficiencies or reduced costs in manpower and other areas, but it is not a short and simple endeavor like buying a house or installing software across an organization.  It’s adding a new department or part of a department that potentially affects the entire organization, depending upon what it brings to or takes away from the business.

Podcast: Acquisitions & Mergers for Technology – Listen while you read

Developing technology internally is acceptable but requires strategic planning because the technology that is built, is built for the company, not often with later product sales in mind, with plans to extend offers to buy/sell to other companies.  While it increases the value of the company in assets, it also presents opportunity to sell the product or add the technology to existing products, which renders another profit, requiring the establishment of a sales department or strategic product development and position in addition to the implementation of the product within the company.  Some technology can be purchased at the local Microsoft Store, Online, or at Best Buy, they are not often single or multiple box purchases.  They require project teams, resource allocations, and training of staff.   What prompts the acquisition of technology is often the need for improved business, profit potential, interest and needs uncovered from a sales demonstration, or the realization of staff that something better exists and will make business more effective and better, often balance sheet based, to save time or operating costs, even though it requires an investment.  Some technology upgrades are required to continue in business, which is a great time to consider other technology investments, but it’s better to maintain a technology portfolio with regular reviews and plans for improvement.  Acquisition of technology happens after a review of technology uses, products, and processes, as well as business opportunities.  There is greater risk developing software within the company because technology and business operations must be continuous and standardized to make the most of trained and educated talent,  even though it may seem each company has the freedom to use and create whatever they want.  Industry does its best to create products that can be customized for different process variations for companies, so they can develop for the entire industry and not individual businesses.  This enables technology to reach far more users faster and more effectively.  While establishing a technology team to create and manage in house technology products, it’s best to utilize those resources to maintain and improve on what exists, know the marketplace of technology, and manage the technology portfolio with a standard management process.  It’s better to scour the industry for existing products and contract with professionals before tasking a small technology team to develop something because it enables the problem to be solved, or the technology to reach a greater number of people.  Competition and assuming technology make a company more competitive is only applicable when technology companies compete, not because a company uses one type of technology, and another company uses something different.  That concept only makes sense when professionals are job seeking and can work in both environments.  Technology acquisition a regular task of review and consideration with a standard solicitation and acquisition process based on decisions to innovate.  First time buyers, or acquisition managers and technology leaders must understand internal business processes in relation to products made available by industry and what abilities teams must have to develop custom products, understanding work management, risk, development, maintenance, as well as regulation and profitability of new products.  A common pitfall to avoid is tasking technology professionals with small fixes or small systems when a larger purchase that spans across the entire enterprise is a better investment.  While small changes demonstrate the power and potential of technology, these facts should already be known and assigned to products in the maintenance or revision phase.  Small solutions that are created departmentally, must be considered, or reviewed for its applicability to other parts of the company, corporation, or industry and developers must create and acquire with this intent.  While ensuring technology professionals are fully engaged when employed or on staff, it is important they are strategically focused, well managed, and properly led to not only fix, but also to engineer, and advance the company and industry beyond what already exists.  Developing technology internally is product creation and must be managed just like any other product throughout its life with more than just ‘development, sales, and maintenance’ only for the company its goals.

Technology Development vs Acquisition Example

            A company is considering outsourcing its event management staff because it has regular functions that require party planning, catering, venue scheduling, invitations, and attendance monitoring with security staff and other standard processes on a regular and reoccurring basis.  The administrative assistants usually perform this task, but it takes away from their assigned responsibilities which are project based for other purposes.  The company uses various technology products to complete these tasks and after reviewing the marketplace for event companies, they found no company offers the service using technology for tracking, scheduling, and the management of events, information, personnel, and activities.  This is a requirement for the company; therefore, they have assembled a team of technology professionals to identify the best technology used for the task, set a plan for integration, and build a product for internal use only.  Once fully tested and found secure and reliable, they plan to offer the technology product to their business partners, clients, and possibly even competitors for use.  Once it passes a test, they will add it to their first line of internally developed technology products for use, but they must create an integration plan, decide what to develop, integrate, or acquire, establish a business unit and sales strategy for their software product, taking many areas into consideration, including data management services, security and protection professionals, contact management, location selection, privacy, and identification processes for electronic rsvp and the gathering of large groups who work with sensitive and confidential information that require higher levels of security.  They require an all-encompassing solution to handle event marketing, people management, invitations, venue selections, participation numbers, subject matter and business materials, and record keeping with historical audits, comparisons, and financial information for profits, costs, as well as other connected event related data for time sets.  No technology exists, but they have a good understanding of what they want and need, and they have the technology professionals ready to add to their strategic goals of growing their clients and partnerships and wants to begin an integrated development project capable of use by more than one company.  The innovator has asked for a detailed report on the potential profitability of an integrated solution with comparison to existing process and products.  The result produced a technology product that offers integrated event planning and management capable of marketing, connecting people, things, information, as well as results or outcomes of events applicable to any organization or company that organizes events with strategic goals.  They integrated strategic planning, event management, human resources, sales, and marketing by industry, and created a strategic planning department with technology and created a new profitable business service made from technology subscriptions and use fees.  Their sales strategy was simple because it saved serious amounts of planning time, offered an integrated technology solution with easier management, and a more connected and secure solution with ability to review post-event reports and statistics tied to the event’s goals.  This is expected to become a necessary technology product for all companies who create events.  In a short product comparison, its capabilities, cost, and benefits far exceeded what was available in the marketplace.  This is an example of how one innovative idea can lead to product development that leads to major profits and possibly industrial change in technology development.

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By Sheri