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High Technology - Keys to Success

1. Have a realistic mutually agreed business aim.

All the senior people in the company need to have a realistic understanding of what can and cannot be achieved. This does not mean that everyone has to be a technical guru, but everyone must understand the basics, the limitations of the technology, the plans and the time scales involved. The Financial Director needs to understand the broad problems faced by the R & D Director, who in turn needs to understand the pressures faced by the Financial Director.

2. Have an agreed "road map" of product releases.

R&D always thinks of ways to improve the product, so it is always 90% ready - but you can't earn money till its 100% ready. You can get round this and keep everyone happy with an agreed product "road map", with scheduled release dates, followed by scheduled product improvements.

3. Make sure that the product is viable.

Good market intelligence is vital to ensure that no one else is producing a better product for less - they will eventually, but you need to make your profit before then. Secondly, is the product technically viable? Has someone with suitable technical expertise checked that it will actually work? Many projects fail because nobody thought to check these fundamentals. People are easily swept along in blissful ignorance of reality. Yet it is often easy to check whether the project is viable or not - and its better to do so sooner rather than later.

4. Support should earn money not lose it.

All too often, that hard earned profit is eaten up by the Customer Support Department. Yet, if properly organised, the Customer Support Department can be a profit centre rather than a cost centre. It takes a bit of organisation, some realistic pricing and some proper key performance indicators (KPI's).

5. Time - Time - Time.

In a fast moving market, time is of the essence. It makes the difference between success and failure, between riches and bankruptcy. It is no good bringing out yesterday's product tomorrow, so once again market intelligence is paramount. There is usually a narrow time slot when a product will be a commercial success. If it is launched too early, before the technology is ready, it will not work properly or will simply be too expensive. If it is launched too late, when all the competitors are launching their second generation products, then it is once again doomed. So speed and timing are of the essence.