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Technology Integration: Making Critical Choices in a Dynamic World (Management of Innovation and Change) Hardcover – November 1, 1997

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The premise of this book is simple: In a rapidly changing environment, traditional R & D is doomed. The alternative is technology integration, not to replace R & D but to "leverage both capabilities by managing their interaction." The best way to achieve that is to design a process: create teams with basic knowledge, developmental ability and implementation experience; make sure they receive input from end users and marketing; allow them to iterate and experiment often using that input; and make sure they expect change.

Iansiti's background--he holds a doctorate in solid-state physics and is on the faculty at Harvard Business School--informs this unusual book. As a research monograph and a management primer, it can be read by disparate audiences.

On the research side, it summarizes Iansiti's six-year study of more than 100 R & D projects in the United States, Europe and Japan in four areas: mainframes, semiconductors, workstations and Internet software. He explains the fieldwork, performance and outcome measures used to evaluate the effectiveness of each project.

On the management side, companies that emphasize process over product are generally more successful than those that do not. The names that emerge from Iansiti's analysis are not surprising: Intel, IBM, Microsoft, Netscape, Yahoo. But this list arises from an independent assessment tool.

Is his methodology capable of "predicting" corporate behavior? There is a good chance. -- Upside, Stephen E. DeLong

From the Back Cover

Technology Integration captures the art and science of product development in a turbulent environment, combining structured analysis with rich qualitative insights. Iansiti describes the essence of a new model for R&D, which is redefining the basis of competition in the high-tech world." --Ed McCracken, Chairman and CEO, Silicon Graphics, Inc.

Iansiti gives us a deep understanding of the essential role played by technology integration in the development of high-performance products and services. His exploration of this topic is very insightful and creative, and his findings will be of major interest to both innovation researchers and technology managers. --Eric von Hippel, Professor, Management of Technology, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The rapid development of new products is a key to an organization's ability to thrive in changing environments. Iansiti's book provides an entirely fresh way to understand and manage new product development processes. Anchored by extensive project data from five industries over multiple continents, Technology Integration introduces new ways of coupling R&D capabilities to manufacturing possibilities and application context. It is a testimony to the power of field research to substantially inform and broaden both the theory and the practice of product development processes. This is an important, serious book for technology management scholars and managers. --Michael Tushman, Phillip Hettleman Professor of Management, Columbia University

In Technology Integration, Marco Iansiti codifies new, powerful technology management practices to help beleaguered managers deal with the blinding pace of technologies and the product and market choices they present. Through deep and broad empirical analysis of high-technology winners and losers, he makes these management practices visible, coherent, and persuasive. --Robert L. Martin, Technology Officer, Lucent Technologies

Professor Iansiti's investigations highlight and provide compelling analytical proof that today's complex technologies require a technology integration capability in order to achieve competitive development costs and rapid time to market. --Dr. Gerhard H. Parker, Executive Vice President, Technology and Manufacturing Group, Intel Corp.


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Product Details

  • Series: Management of Innovation and Change
  • Hardcover: 249 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (November 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875847870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875847870
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,085,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 9, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book was handed to me by the president of our company about five months ago, with the instructions, "Read this. I think it will change the way we build software." Turns out he was right.
The basic tenet of this book is that, in a rapidly changing and uncertain environment, companies must delay basic technology decisions as long as possible in order to best understand the context in which their product will be used. Changes in context can (i.e., new technologies, changing market requirements, competitive products) can take a product with killer potential and turn it into a market flop within weeks. This applies to manufacturing and system design as well as my industry, software, and was something that we ourselves had experienced.
Iansiti's writing style is fairly dry, and the exhaustive statistical analysis of his research can be, well, exhausting. I found myself skimming the middle of almost every chapter while he proved his points, so I could get to the good stuff: the case studies. Iansiti had access to Microsoft, Netscape, and Silicon Graphics, among other notable names, and his studies of successful and unsuccessful approaches to technology integration vividly illustrated the effect that a flexible decision-making process can have on a company's success, both in individual projects and in the market as a whole.
I used the basic principles Iansiti put forth and the case studies that he used to support them as a basis for redesigning my company's entire development process. We now have reduced the time-to-market for new features from over six months to less than two, and we are finding that our clients are happier and our products are seeing more success in the market as a result.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is scrambling to keep up with today's rapidly changing high-tech environment. It will make you take a hard look at the way you do business.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is great at covering a number of topics:

1) An overview of the current state of Research and Development and how it works

2) Backing up what it says about R&D with interviews into some of the big players in the IT industry

3) Giving a functional solution to how you should integrate teams and efforts

I would say my favorite take away from this book is the separation of knowledge into two types: Domain and Context. I think the book should have elaborated more on this subject.

For other readers who have read The Keystone Advantage, this book is written in different style. There are numerous references to regression analysis and altogether has a research feel to it.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. Milone on June 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book highlights several key concepts on successful and unsuccessful approaches to integrating product features in the high tech arena. Despite the fact that some of the statistical analysis was over my head, I found the book readable and insightful. The depth of research is impressive. I recommend this book to anyone in the software or hardware industry.
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