Management of technology and research relies on being able to make the right decisions at the right time which in turn depends on the quick availability of reliable information. Whether deciding on strategy like what direction the innovation and research arm of the business should take and which are the areas the competition has left room for improvement on to tackling issues like finding the right people to develop a certain technology or to license a component from, the management responsible for products, research, development and technology need a constant birds eye view of not just their own IP assets but also a clear perspective of the competition and the wider technology landscape to steer the business in the right direction. This landscape however is constantly evolving with others in the market also on a quest to innovate and develop and protect their intellectual property along the way creating the need to have access to fresh information promptly when needed.
From what we have observed, the common challenges that companies face with developing a robust process of IP information delivery to management for decision making are:
- They have access to a large amount of patent data in the form of database subscriptions, downloaded documents and online sources but it’s unorganized and every time they need to analyze the data for a new question or requirement management asks, they need to search through the data, gather the relevant documents and pages and then locate what they are looking for which is a long process that is often repeated.
- They have a lot of patent data related to their technologies or domain but find it challenging consolidating all the right data so they can start analyzing it and present only what is relevant to the managements questions.
- They find what they are looking for after analyzing the patent sets required to answer questions and they understand the answers but find it challenging to present it quickly and simply to management in a form that they can understand as clearly. They find communicating what they see within the patent sets to others difficult.
- The time taken to process all the data and generate answers is often too long which is why they prefer going by existing reports or previous information which may be available online through searching websites rather than generating fresh reports from the latest databases on demand.
For example, let’s assume a pharmaceutical company has had plans for quite some time to develop a certain drug for a specific heart disease made some breakthrough but came across delays in the process of testing and clinical trials. In the few years the drug was under testing and not ready to hit the market there is a possibility that others may have been pursuing a similar direction of research and new patents may have come into force since creating hurdles for the launch of the drug. The management can’t rely solely on what they knew at the time they started the research. They need quick access to fresh information to see the road ahead at every stage of the technology management process and make decisions. That view of the technology landscape they need exists in patent databases but needs text mining and analytic support to bring out that clear perspective needed for them to make those decisions.
At any given time in the process, management may need some specific questions they need answers to quickly to make their call. What are the competing technologies in their domain? How many other businesses are interested in this technology? Which markets already have players for this technology and where are the gaps that can be filled? Where are the potential licensing opportunities for what we develop? Who are the researchers or innovators who can help us develop what we are looking to create? These are just some examples of questions management need answers for and turn to their patent information to have them answered. Through a clear cut process of:
Search & Retrieval > Clustering > Data Clean Up > Analysis > Report Generation
Vast amounts of patent data can be mined, queried and analyzed and converted into precise visual reports that are easy to comprehend in a matter of minutes. Patent analysis software which can process this allows for quick process of intelligence delivery to upper management whenever needed. As useful as the process is to management, it can prove just as valuable to scientists, innovators researchers and product development teams to present their suggestions and cases for certain decisions and being able to back it up with visual presentations and valuable insights gathered from the data.
Equipped with the right software, the challenges of being able to generate and deliver decision making intelligence to management as well as the technology and research teams can easily be overcome. We all tend to rely on what is easily available. Once the right information is made easy and available, relying on fresh reports and insights becomes a regular practice and the technology management function becomes that much more effective.