New technology development

by Business Case Studies on Monday 21st September, 2009

New technologies can provide businesses with innovative products or services to sell. Likewise, new technologies can improve processes, making firms more efficient. Anglo American is one of the world's leading mining companies. A primary sector organisation, it extracts and processes metals and minerals such as platinum, diamonds, iron ore and coal. It is continually looking to develop new technologies to help it find and efficiently extract new mineral deposits, resulting in benefits such as improved safety, reduced energy usage and lower costs. During the development of new processes, a number of steps follow the initial project plan. These include research, development and testing before implementation can take place.

New technologies are equally important in all sectors of industry. Last week saw Microsoft's search engine, Bing, capturing nearly 11% market share after its launch only three months ago. Microsoft claims it has developed a search engine that is more relevant to customers' needs which have evolved over time, and it is looking into ways of updating it further. This includes making it more responsive to the user and providing visual searches through image galleries instead of text links. Microsoft knows that innovation is required to attract customers away from its competitors. Although Google still maintains the giant's share of the internet search engine market, Bing is growing fast. (The Times 17th September 2009)

Businesses often need to invest in new technologies to give them competitive advantage. They may be looking to improve the way they do things or the products and services they provide. In our ever-changing world new technology development plays a large part in maintaining market position.

Questions

1. List the different stages in new technology development

2. Give examples of how organisations in each of the sectors of industry use technological advancements

3. Explain, using the Anglo American case study, the factors influencing process development

4. Analyse the ways that new technology development can help businesses to maintain competitive advantage

Answers to questions

1. List the different stages in new technology development  -Idea generation, Project plan, Research, Development, Pilot testing, Implementation

2. Give examples of how organisations in each of the sectors of industry use technological advancement Any relevant examples e.g. Primary – disease resistant crops have been developed, Secondary – car manufacturers use robots in their factories to ensure consistent quality and reduce the cost of labour, Tertiary  – mobile phone suppliers are constantly updating the phones they provide so consumers will want to change them regularly

3. Explain, using the Anglo American case study, the factors influencing process development – Cost is probably the most influential factor – research can be very expensive. Whether there is available funding. Whether there is the ability to share new technologies throughout an organisation. Whether development can occur in a socially responsible way. The impacts upon the economy, environment and society should be considered.

4. Analyse the ways that new technology development can help businesses to maintain competitive advantage -The development of new products and services. Added value. A reduction in production costs.Resources, such as water and raw materials, can be used more efficiently. Increased quality. Provision of a USP.

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