Can IT enhance integration between R&D and Marketing?

2 Aug 2010 Sandeep Mehta

There in an interesting paper The Role of Information Technologies in Enhancing R&D–Marketing Integration: An Empirical Investigation in Journal of Product Innovation Management.  We have discussed role of IT in enhancing R&D management before. This is a new take on the subject.

The effective integration of research and development (R&D) and marketing contributes to the development of successful new products. Barriers such as physical separation of R&D and marketing, goal incongruity, and cultural differences hamper the cross-functional cooperation. However, it may not be either possible or desirable to eliminate the cross-functional integration barriers in practice. 

The first take away is that two types of IT support systems – communication and decision-aiding – both enhance integration:

Previous research findings suggest that information technology (IT) can be used to reduce the negative impact of the barriers. This paper examines the moderating role of communication technologies (ITc) and decision-aiding technologies (ITd) in improving the R&D–marketing integration in new product development. The empirical findings from analyzing data on 171 new product development projects suggest that both IT systems can be used to reduce the negative impact of physical separation, goal incongruity, and cultural differences on R&D–marketing integration”

The overall finding is very intuitive: Need communications technology when the organizations are dispersed and decision-aiding technology when goals and objectives are disconnected between the two organizations.

However, effectiveness of the two types of IT differs. While ITcappears to be more effective than ITd in overcoming the constraint of physical separation, ITd is more effective than ITc in reducing the negative impact of goal incongruity and cultural differences. ITc is found to have the strongest effect on reducing the negative relationship of physical separation and integration, a less strong effect on cultural differences, and a weak effect on goal incongruity. Conversely, ITd is found to have a strong effect on goal incongruity. 

Hopefully, the decision-aiding tools can also increase team satisfaction!

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