Determination of information demand for efficient technology monitoring
The application of suitable, on the companys needs adapted technologies is a key factor for competitiveness and economic success. To ensure an early identification of emerging technologies, of changes in existing technologies or of related changes in the market's structures and participants many companies conduct technology intelligence (TI) activities. Technology monitoring is one base activity of TI, which is defined as the systematic tracking of developments within a specified topic of interest (search field) as well as related trends over a long period of time. Due to the very large amount of available data within the technological and the market environment of a company as well as their possible interdependencies, it is necessary to focus technology monitoring. For this purpose, we suggest the use of leading indicators, which are able to timely point out technological developments and market changes. In this paper, we introduce an approach for the systematic derivation of leading indicators for a certain search field. This approach is mainly based on the combination of methods which are already widely used in TI, such as scenario analysis, in combination with methods of other disciplines for deriving indicators, such as risk analysis. It therefore extends existing approaches in technology monitoring. Our research shows that the reasonable definition of the information demand in the beginning of the technology monitoring process is a major factor for efficiency. This coincides with our experiences in consulting projects: many companies struggle with fin ding a balance when defining their search fields between resource efficiency and complete coverage of the topic. As part of our research agenda we start with analysing and discussing existing approaches for the determination of information needs. We proceed with showing the influences of the search field characteristics, e.g. the position in the technology life cycle, on the implementation of technology monitoring activities.