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Levels of Concept Development

ICT Concept Development is very briefly explained in the ICT Standard for Management: “Concept Development may be triggered by new business needs, new solutions, or by innovations enabled by ICT.” Quite famous example is given about how e-business changed the markets. It might sound quite hard to make such enormous innovations within the small ICT team your company has. Luckily, there are easier ways to enable your company's success through concept development and thorough market analysis.

 I suggest, that the concept development would be examined through four distinct areas:
  • ICT innovations
  • Business needs
  • New technologies or solutions
  • Measurement and benchmarking

Next, let me explain to you what I mean with each area.

ICT innovations
ICT innovations means that ICT understands the business so well, that they are able to create new business opportunities. If the ICT department realized during building the company's first own web-page, that Internet should be used as a selling or marketing channel, you would call it a ICT innovation. Making such innovations requires quite a lot of time and money, and thus many ICT units are not doing it actively. They spend their sparse resources doing the other three things, where big improvements can be achieved with relatively small effort.

Business needs
Business needs arise all the time. Sales might realize that they need better system to support their work. Business operations could need a new system to support their research and development. Or it might be something smaller like updating computers to a newer models. In this area are all the needs and innovations arising from business which require ICT solutions and services. Succeeding in this area is a lot easier task; you just need to manage the needs efficiently in order to choose the best ideas to be put forward, the less competitive ideas to be on hold and the not cost-effective ideas to be cancelled.

New technologies and solutions
In addition to making the innovations yourself or supporting the business needs, you need to constantly follow the ICT market to find new technologies and solutions to support your business. It requires a similar assessment process as business needs in order to make sure that the best ideas are chosen for further development. At the moment, virtualization is a newish technology bringing cost-effectiveness and cloud computing could be a way to change the ways of working in the future.

Measurement and benchmarking
Lastly, you should look at what you are doing now. There should be measures and benchmarking of your current ICT services and solutions in order to make sure that they are cost-effective, supporting user, customer and business needs and efficient management. Measures include at least customer and end-user satisfaction surveys, service functionality measurement and benchmarking the contract prices. Additionally, competitors can be benchmarked and followed on how the solve the business' challenges.

Hopefully, this article gave you better understanding on the levels of concept development and market analysis that ICT could and should be doing.