Technological surveillance: key in strategy planning

Doing technological surveillance is managing valuable information to make strategic business decisions.

To define the strategy today, it is necessary to know the environment and the trends of each productive sector. Technological surveillance includes some activities that companies carried out a long time ago with new practices. Many believe that it refers to personal protection work with technological equipment, but this perception is wrong.  Know what it is about.


Experts say
Researchers on the subject define it in two ways:
It is a process that  analyzes information from the past  to turn it into knowledge that contributes to  making strategic decisions.
Joao Aguirre Ramírez, Ph. D. in Engineering, expands the concept: “It is an  organizational system  made up of a set of methods, tools, technological and human resources,  with highly differentiated capacities to select, filter, process, evaluate, store and spread. information from the past, transforming it into knowledge  for strategic decision making”.


Technological surveillance is not a new concept
The concept of technological surveillance has been treated with academic rigor for more than a decade. Many still confuse it with management terms like strategic intelligence. Previously it was taken as a synonym for competitive intelligence,  prospective and even with business intelligence. Studies in management in recent years have given it another dimension.


Technology as an indisputable resource
For technological surveillance,  technology is the use of knowledge bases and resource management to achieve certain objectives. What is popularly called “technology” in this case are technological resources, for example, a computer and knowledge.  Knowing how to write is basic technology, but for a writer that ability is critical modular technology and gives you a competitive advantage. Technology provides knowledge of the outstanding topics  of the sector. It allows to prepare before the accelerated changes of current trends,  to select the information  at a time of high flow of it and  to detect the strategies  suitable for the organization.


Past, present and future: all in the same dimension
The information from the past is analyzed with the conclusions of the competitive intelligence of the present  of the market and the suppliers, in addition,  it allows strategic foresight to envision the future.  “This in general is strategic intelligence and it is a concept for taking risks, making decisions,” says Aguirre. “It is a process that does not provide solutions; It is  a system that provides effective and appropriate information so that managers and decision makers know when to act”.


The technological surveillance cycle
Each technological surveillance process has its characteristics and conditions, even so, the researcher José Pablo Rojas Wang proposes a cycle that summarizes the process in a generic way:
Definition of the needs and objectives.
Selection of information sources.
Collection of data and information.
Organization and analysis of information.
Approach of technological strategies.
Start of a new cycle.


It requires a professional analysis
For João Aguirre,  all organizations carry out technological surveillance  and strategic intelligence  indirectly,  but  it must become a conscious and professional exercise.  “Everyone does it without knowing, information is sought, but the organizations lack awareness. There must be  specific departments  that analyze information from the environment, the market, the competition”.


Ways of monitoring
The ideal is to look for sources of information other than the massive ones,  since, for example, Internet search engines offer the same information to all interested parties and this does not grant competitive advantages. For this,  all legal search alternatives are important: opinions of insiders and users, publications, news about the sector, databases and events.  Some companies have designed computer programs that track information and can be of great help.


Protecting oneself against competition
Technological surveillance also generates awareness of how to protect one’s own knowledge and competitive advantages.  In addition, it prevents that information from reaching the competition. Technological surveillance  also raises awareness on how to keep this differentiation in reserve  , such as flavors and ingredients, which generate a differentiable factor in the market.


In search of strategic intelligence
Technological surveillance is included, with the concepts of competitive intelligence and strategic foresight, in a broader one: strategic intelligence. They provide management and directive applications in order to increase competitiveness in innovation systems. What do these concepts mean?

Competitive intelligence:  is interested in issues  such as customers, suppliers,  local and international markets; in general terms, the actuality of the elements of a system.

Strategic Foresight:  analyzes current data and  determines possible  market trends based on the behaviors and projections of a specific sector. It facilitates the meeting of the scientific and technological offer with the needs of the moment and the future ones of the markets.



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