Technology is a tool designed and developed by humans to make the completion of many of our tasks easier, thus allowing us to solve problems in a more efficient way. Human tasks and problems are often complex, usually requiring the integration of multiple technologies to be performed or resolved. A good example of the integration of technology is the magnetic compass that was built by various integrated mechanical technologies for navigation. The initial assembly included a magnetic needle, various chambers, and a circular chart displaying directions. It was built after the discovery that a magnetic needle aligns itself with the earth’s magnetic field.
As we progressed in society, our needs changed, and as a result of further research and development, the modern GPS system was discovered to pinpoint our exact position on earth using satellites. The GPS system uses antennas and receivers to pinpoint these positions on the earth. However, this alone was not enough to solve our navigational needs. To solve further navigational problems, businesses designed more advanced navigational systems through integrated technologies such as maps, databases, speed sensors, density sensors, computers, and other devices.
The navigational system or product that is generically referred to as “GPS” is still the result of such integrated technologies but is now much more complex in its operations.
Ten important things that will help managers in understanding how to select an appropriate form of technology for performing tasks, and to integrate technologies for solving personal or customer-related problems, include the following:
- Technologies may involve mechanical assembly, such as with a bicycle, electronic assembly, such as with an electric fan, or digital component integration, such as with notebook computers.
- Technologies are developed as a result of the curiosity of scientists or researchers along with the motivation to solve a specific problem.
- Scientists or researchers are usually interested in inventions and innovations. On the other hand, managers are interested in using inventions and innovations to solve customer-related problems.
- Businesses develop products or services to solve customer problems by integrating several technologies. Thus, a product or service is usually an integration of several technologies.
- Technologies can be divided into five types, including communication, operational, processing, transportation, and storage technologies, in order to understand their application in business.
- These five types of technologies are used in businesses to produce products, deliver services, reduce costs, improve quality, and establish competitive advantage in the marketplace.
- Capital technologies are used for producing, operating, and delivering products or services. Commercialized technologies are integrated in the products or services for creating innovative and cost-effective solutions to the customers’ problems.
- New technologies are discovered as a result of visionary thinking on behalf of the management and changes in the environment.
- Technology brings change, and at the same time it may bring resistance to change both within an organization and in the marketplace.
- New technologies are useful if they can be commercialized and integrated into products or services to create value for both the customer and the business.
A comprehensive understanding of types technologies will help managers in effectively designing and structuring their organizations and implementing the strategy. The following is an exhibit that demonstrates the basic functions of an organization and the applicable technology used in each specific function within a business.
The ideal organization will be able to incorporate new technologies in the workplace and within products and services if the cost of integrating technology is lower than the value it is creating for both the organization and its customers. They will also be able to incorporate new technologies if it fits the company’s strategy in terms of establishing a competitive advantage in the marketplace.