As mentioned earlier, technology roadmapping is not limited to a single product. Phaal et al. (2004) identified eight different types of roadmaps which may be used for different purposes. These eight types will not be discussed here and only a subset will be briefly described. One type is a product planning roadmap used for a single product. For instance, a product planning roadmap would be used in conjunction with the technology roadmap (shown here) to show, in more detail, the roadmap of the product. Another roadmap that Phaal et al. have identified is labelled as “service/ capability planning” which is designed for businesses in the services markets. It is worth noting that this type of roadmap bears a number of similarities with the balanced scorecard, except that it incorporates the time dimension. Another type of roadmap is referred to as the strategic planning roadmap which is the one depicted in Figure 1. Lastly, Phaal et al. identified a roadmap type which they labelled as “Long-range planning.” This type of roadmap is normally used at the sector or national level and is developed to serve as a guide for participating organisations in developing their own individual roadmaps. Regardless of their differences, a common theme among these roadmaps is the integration of market requirements with technological capabilities to achieve the goals of the business or an industry.
The use of technology roadmapping clearly provides advantages to a firm in that it allows it to link the needs of its customers with the technologies and capabilities that it needs to produce or acquire. Some scholars warn, however, that while technology roadmapping sounds straightforward enough in writing, putting it into practice requires considerable resources and commitment. Groenveld in 1997 stated that “the process of building a roadmap…is less simple. Differences in background, thinking and ways of working among different departments (marketing, development, manufacturing, etc.) need to be reconciled.” Thus, it needs to be stressed that while technology roadmapping provides management with a better means to strategically manage the technologies available to the company, it is not a silver bullet. Complementing it with excellent leadership and project management skills is critical and remains indispensable in today’s business environment.
This concludes my first look at technology roadmapping. For a list of references, please see the first post of this series.
- Peter’s Technology Roadmapping Update website.
- Technology Roadmapping in Wikipedia (courtesy of Peter)