This paper is devoted to the analysis of technology planning of Microsoft Corporation. The business context of the company was analyzed. A 5-year budget was provided.
Microsoft Corporation should provide adequate opportunities for all parties. Technology plan enables the development of mutually beneficial relationships between the company’s customers and its personnel. Resource allocation should be effective in order to adjust technological resources to the customers’ needs.
Technology planning aims at increasing the probability of successful implementation of a particular innovation. In this respect, IT life cycle should be examined.
The technological plan of Microsoft Corporation seems to be a broad and complex one. It is deeply integrated into the company’s global strategy and includes a number of possible measures and programs that a company may implement under different circumstances. It includes a 5-year budget plan that may be modified in accordance with a macroeconomic situation and the dynamics of market demand.
Keywords: technology planning, global strategy, customer needs
Technology planning is a process that allows specifying the ways with the help of which it is possible to reach technological objectives. In order to formalize a process, it is reasonable to use a specific document that will help to create an efficient educational environment. The company under study is Microsoft Corporation. The purpose of this paper is to create technology plan for the company which will allow providing modern technology services for the company’s customers.
Every company operates in a specific business context. Therefore, it is impossible to analyze the company’s operation and create the technology plan without taking into consideration other market forces. Microsoft Corporation implements both traditional and emerging IT technologies. Therefore, the business context of the company is very complex. In relation to traditional IT technologies, Microsoft Corporation has some monopoly power based on IP legislation. It provides serious competitive advantages for the company in the long run. Moreover, traditional IT technologies are primarily insourced rather than outsourced. It makes their development and control more predictable and safe for the company. The situation is more difficult regarding emerging IT technologies. In this segment, Microsoft Corporation has no monopolistic power and serious competitive advantages in comparison with other IT companies. The majority of emerging IT technologies are outsourced, and efficient management is more difficult. However, the main market opportunities are closely related to emerging IT technologies as they are the source of potentially high rates of profit.
Technology plan is supposed to help Microsoft Corporation in providing high-quality services that meet and exceed the customers’ expectations (Orgeron, 2013). In order to reach this objective, the technology planning process should be properly organized. It may be presented in 5 key stages (Anderson, 1996).
- Recruiting and organizing a planning team. Different groups of stakeholders should have their representatives. In this way, the team will be able to make objective decisions and analyze the situation professionally.
- Research. It is necessary to understand technology needs of the potential customers (organizations and individuals). Then, it is reasonable to determine technologies that may be used for satisfaction of the specified needs. The methods and ways of applying technologies should be understood as well.
- Construction of the technology plan. Technology plan may help to identify the key objectives that may enable successful realization of the company’s strategy. Technology plan should be closely related to the previous research.
- Formalization of the planning. It is reasonable to present planning outcomes in a specific form. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a document which will help to identify the main objectives, resources, and methods used by the company.
- The implementation of the plan. Any technology plan is highly practically oriented. Therefore, its usage in practice is a significant stage of the overall process. It is possible that some shortcomings are be detected during the implementation of the technology plan. In this case, it is reasonable to revise the plan accordingly and implement it once again. Moreover, it is desirable to construct a complex multi-optional plan when different ways of implementation of the company’s objectives are possible. The process of implementation, evaluation, and revision should be permanent.
Implementation is a complex process that includes the following elements: the mission, the vision, and the specified objectives. Microsoft Corporation should provide adequate opportunities for all parties. Technology plan enables the development of mutually beneficial relationships between the company’s customers and its personnel. Resource allocation should be effective in order to adjust technological resources to the customer needs. Moreover, a schedule for the technology plan is needed. It will allow coordination and control of different stages of technological process. Motivational strategies should also be modern and adequate to the company’s objectives.
It seems that technology plan of Microsoft Corporation should not be exclusively commercially-oriented. It should be focused on social issues as well. In particular, it will contribute to the company’s reputation and non-material assets if it realizes more technological projects regarding students and other social groups. For instance, it is possible to encourage the use of technology in the process of post-secondary education for the US students (Frontario et al., 2013). Microsoft Corporation may contribute to the staff development of different educational establishments. It is possible to provide some instructional assistants and computer specialists for these purposes.
The effectiveness of technology organization of the company is affected in 3 different ways. They are as follows:
- The limited resources. Although Microsoft Corporation is a developed multinational company, its activities are also subject to monetary calculation, and it should allocate its resources effectively. Therefore, it is necessary to select the most efficient options and projects.
- The relationship between the central office and different departments. Microsoft Corporation is one of the largest companies of its industry. In this respect, the relations between different departments of the company play a significant role. On the one hand, the adequate control is needed. On the other hand, decentralized structures are typically more efficient and profitable in the long run. Therefore, effective balance should be determined in this context.
- The need for a system that will allow determination of the most promising projects. For this purpose, it is possible to use econometric and statistical computer programs and other modern techniques. However, this process should include some subjective elements as well. Entrepreneurial and managerial decision making are important in this regard.
It seems reasonable to classify all technological projects in three main categories (Sherman, 2011):
- The projects that are implemented or may be implemented in the near future. Microsoft Corporation currently realizes a number of hi-tech and computer projects. For example, the company is working on different game controllers, personal computer hardware, media players, etc.
- Projects that may be demanded by customers in the near future. Microsoft Corporation should be oriented on the potential needs of its customers. The company should be oriented on the future rather than on the current structure of the market. On the one hand, Microsoft Corporation should analyze the actions of its competitors (Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics, etc.) and be able to respond to them in an effective way. On the other hand, it is reasonable to develop the company’s own independent strategies. More market-oriented strategies may lead to additional market share and power for the company.
- Projects that should be realized in accordance with existing regulations. Microsoft Corporation operates in a specific environment. Therefore, the company should adjust its activities to legislation requirements. The majority of these projects may not be highly profitable, but the company has to realize them in order to stay in business.
The company operates in the global environment. Thus, the aspects of global and cultural diversity in technology should be taken into account. Some researchers suggest that global and cultural diversity has a positive impact on decision making and some negative influence on intercultural communication (Shachaf, 2008). It seems to be correct for a number of reasons. First of all, diversity leads to different proposals and perspectives concerning a specific issue. Thus, the management of the company has more options and is able to make more objective and correct decisions. However, different cultural groups have different preferences, and intercultural communication may become more problematic. Therefore, the effectiveness of communication should be maintained with the help of other methods.
Nowadays, it is possible to create a global virtual team. It seems that some problems of knowledge sharing among different workers in the process of software development may be related to the fact that local culture influences the patterns of acquiring information (Huang & Trauth, 2007). Intercultural communication is a difficult process that should be analyzed from different perspectives.
In order to manage these processes, cultural diversity should be properly analyzed and classified. It is reasonable to introduce three different dimensions of international software activities. They include the work, the virtual workplace, and the workers (Huang & Trauth, 2007). All these dimensions are interrelated and affect each other in a specific way. Only global software work does not influence other dimensions but experiences the influence of the work environment and workers. This system is presented in Figure 1 (Huang & Trauth, 2007).