To create a high-performing digital procurement organisation many leaders are deploying multiple approaches to find and embed digital innovation into their teams and approaches.
Technology scouting is essential to identify and introduce innovative external technologies, matched to internal challenges and needs.
Technology scouting Wikipedia definition:
Technology scouting is an element of technology management in which,
(1) emerging technologies are identified,
(2) technology related information is channelled into an organization, and
(3) supports the acquisition of technologies.
It is a starting point of a long term and interactive matching process between external technologies and internal requirements of an existing organization for strategic purposes. This matching may also be aided by technology road mapping. Technology scouting is also known to be part of competitive intelligence, which firms apply as a tool of competitive strategy. It can also be regarded as a method of technology forecasting or in the broader context also an element of corporate foresight. Technology scouting may also be applied as an element of an open innovation approach. Technology scouting is seen as an essential element of a modern technology management system.
Technology scouting driving factors
Many procurement leaders are now approaching digitalisation and the creation of their procuretech stack in a more systematic way. Proactive technology scouting is accelerating the adoption of technology roadmaps, together with more successful matching of solutions to internal needs.
Technology scouting by internal and/or external teams is being driven by:
- Significant demand for digital solutions to solve existing and new demands
- Increased global supply of innovative technologies and digital solutions
- Limited or low internal capability to either find or supply digital solutions
- Current internal solutions not meeting user needs
- Complexity and rate of change in the external market
Optimising digital procurement scouting approach
From garages, to incubators and accelerators, there are many approaches to embed and scale digital innovation with procurements. Technology scouting is a fundamental input to many of these, enabling you to augment and empower your procurement team as well as amplifying differentiation.
Innovation leaders have integrated many factors into their approaches which can be included as you optimise your technology scouting approach, for example:
- Define your overall strategy and approach to scouting – to compliment all your innovation and technology management approaches
- Identify your real business needs – create true challenges and outline their scope and categorisation
- Encourage diversity of input and ideas – be radical and divergent. Open source !
- Be curious and open as well as demanding of digital solutions – apply rigour
- Engage internal for challenges AND for potential solutions – connect closely to the business
- Use strong networks and alternative channels to find different digital solutions
- Build a diverse technology scouting ecosystem – universities, start-ups, partners, VCs, experts, and customers
- Blend data and experience – use both in scouting and sourcing solutions
- Secure funding and resource – the ROI will be high
- Fast, fast, slow – agile search, built to last
Technology scouting is a fundamental for procurement leaders to be able to source and scale the next generation of digital procurement solutions that will super-charge the enterprise.