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Role of Research and Development in Software Innovation Process

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The approach followed by a software company in a Software Product Development Process determines the future success of the company. Three aspects which are very important in any software product are; INNOVATION, QUALITY and TECHNOLOGY. These 3 aspects must be addressed within the constraints of timeframe, associated cost and available expertise.

You need to have an idea to build a new product looking at the future needs or problems or required changes in the current market. The idea needs to translate into a concept which can be clearly communicated to the market and addresses a targeted market niche. A product defines the company’s vision. Its architecture should reflect the means of winning market share. The quality should reflect customer satisfaction and product durability.

I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts.

Bill Gates

Here comes the most important function of a software or company’s future- R&D. The Research and Development function carries a very vital role and should be part of business strategic planning. The capability of R&D to work in a productive, focused and efficient manner will bear on both the success of R&D and the organization as a whole.

Difference between R&D and Software Development

Many thinks there is not much difference between Research & Development and Product Development. Few argue, what is the value of a product development without research. But the reality is that R&D and Software Development are different. Let us justify this;

Point-1

R&D- Experimenting with ideas and technologies which may not be a product.
Software Development- Working on a specific product desired by any client or based on market demand.

Point-2

R&D- All about developing new solutions for a specific social problem. No one can predict the end result.
Software Development- All about developing a product, targeted to resolve a specific company/ business problem, the end result is it should resolve the issue, without failing.

Point-3

R&D- Primarily expected to provide research results.
Software Development- Primarily expected to provide a working software.

Point-4

R&D- Managing software development for various sized companies, R&D takes on different meanings depending on the size of the company, customer base, etc.
Software Development- Targeted to a specific size of company or business. It depends on current requirement.

Point-5

R&D- There is no pre-defined deadline or time limit for R&D process. It can take years to develop one product.
Software Development- Strict deadline and time frame are pre-defined. You have to design, develop and deliver the product on time.

Point-6

R&D- As of Dec 2016, Augmented Reality, Self-Driven Automated Car, Virtual Reality and alike falls under R&D. R&D has been happening since years and will continue for years. After years of research, still there is no tangible product available in the market.
Software Development- Mobile App Development for Salon shop and for Pharma, Web Application Development for Athletes, Parking Permit are few examples of Software Development.

Role of Research and Development

Research and Development is very vital for any organization and its future sustainability. The more you do research before developing the product, chances are the product will be more robust and durable. R&D basically can contribute in two ways. One. Sustained Product Development and Two. Disruptive Product Development

Sustained Product Development

Sustained Product Development can be defined as the long term support requirements during the design and development of a software. The process of conducting the long term support, after the completion of development. R&D professionals spent a reasonable amount of time to build sustainable software products which can help an organization to enhance its productivity and lessen operational time. This kind of development requires a decent amount of capital investment and the lead time is usually high.

There are various key target areas of sustained product development.

key-target-areas-of-sustenance-product-development

Disruptive Product Development

A Disruptive Product Development is one which replaces an established technology or product and brings a change in the industry or a ground breaking product which creates a new business vertical. For example, PCs replaced typewriters, which changed the way we work and communicate. Cloud Computing can be another example, displacing many resources that would conventionally have been located in-house or provided as a traditionally hosted service.

The concept of disruptive product development has seen some rapid transformation in the last decade. Multiple companies are spending a huge amount of time and money to research and develop new unseen solutions or technological concepts. In short, companies are moving closer to customer centric approach rather than business centric approach. Companies like IBM, Apple, Netflix, and Google are the pioneer of disruptive technology development.

Is R&D really that important for Companies?

There are many reasons for companies to invest in their R&D department. The most common reason are;

  • R&D to create new and innovative products and add new features to old products. R&D is not limited to technology and can connect various departments running on all together machineries.
  • R&D can target in overall cost cutting, effective marketing strategies formulation, increased market participation, new operational methods etc.
  • Overall R&D is important for a firm to gain knowledge to develop, design, enhance, and modify company’s products, services, technologies, business plans, processes and sometimes vision. R&D allows companies to do market participation where they can attract new customers, win attention and also increase market share.
  • R&D allows a company to come up with innovative features that can instantly increase market share by providing customers something they never saw before or something which can change the way they work.
  • Because of R&D, companies can create highly effective & more targeted marketing campaigns before releasing any new product or introducing a new feature. If marketing strategies can match with the R&D department, it can definitely increase customer engagement.
  • R&D can help a business to stay ahead of market trends & keep the business relevant. A company’s R&D team always keep future trend and requirement in mind & create visionary products, which can give you a competitive advantage.

What about SMEs?

The size of your business can affect your R&D strategy. SMEs have to focus more on product development and enhancement with limited time and budget. Whereas big corporates have dedicated resources without the fear of budget can develop new products as well as enhance existing ones.

It doesn’t mean R&D is impossible for smaller organizations. Government funding has raised significantly in past few years for SMEs to or technological R&D. VCs are also understanding the role of SMEs and their capabilities in R&D field. As R&D is an internal process, SMEs can use public resources and data to develop a research plan. Market knowledge is the key to any research related innovation. Your market knowledge & customer understanding can take your product to a new height.

What R&D can bring to your Business?

Research & development can bring many advantages to your business & can be instrumental in creating new products or adding features to old products. Technological R&D is more complex than simple Innovation. It is not limited to any single department and can improve marketing, operations, cost management and other parts of the business strategy. Below are few areas where R&D can add value.

areas-where-r&d-can-add-value

Conclusion

The R&D process is a long process. IT may take months or years to give you desired results. New product development and innovation are the keys. Each company and industry have their own research methodology, but R&D follows a basic framework.

r&d-process

There are many advantages of R&D, we discussed above. R&D can add value to various functions of your business like finance, marketing, human resources, operations etc. There are few challenges like high cost, increased timescales, unknown results, market condition are also there.  But the role of Research & Development is very important for a software firm.

Apogaeis has Research & Development expertise and provides end to end R&D services. Our innovative solutions and products tell our story. We consider R&D services as the first milestone to achieve the development of a market leading product. Or R&D team develops re-usable frameworks and components to resolve industry problems. We at Apogaeis are constantly looking at new trends, technologies, innovations to contribute significantly to our R&D approach. To know more Connect Here

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