استفاده از ابزارهای فناوری اطلاعات در مراحل توسعه محصول جدید : تجزیه و تحلیل اثرات آن بر نوآوری محصول جدید، کیفیت، و عملکرد بازار
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 40, Issue 2, February 2011, Pages 321–330
Extant research has largely ignored empirically examining how information technology (IT) affects new product effectiveness. Using the knowledge-based theory as a foundation, this study examines if, and how, particular IT tools used in the discovery, development, and commercialization phases of the new product development (NPD) process influence NPD effectiveness dimensions, namely, market performance, innovativeness, and quality of a new product. Based on data collected from NPD managers in the US and Canada, the findings indicate that specific IT tools contribute to various measures of new product effectiveness differently. Moreover, the results show the positive effect of these IT tools in different phases of the NPD process. This suggests that with regard to NPD, a decompositional approach that examines the role of IT within each phase of the NPD process is best. Based on these findings, the authors discuss theoretical and managerial implications of the study and suggest paths for future research. Managerially, some interesting results of our study are that decision support systems, file transfer protocols, and concept testing tools would significantly improve NPD effectiveness regardless of the phase they are used.
The competitiveness of U.S. firms in the 21st century global economy depends on their ability to develop and deliver innovative products and services (Alliance for Science and Technology Research in America, i.e., ASTRA, 2007). However, new product success rates continue to remain around 60% and only about 50% of commercialized new products are successful from a profit perspective (Barczak, Griffin, & Kahn, 2009). In recent years, a declining trend has also been observed with regard to the percent of sales and profits accounted for by new products with less than one third of sales and profits coming from new products (Barczak et al., 2009). This reality has led to firms' continuing to search for ways to improve their new product development (NPD) efficiency (e.g., reduced cost, faster time-to-market) and effectiveness (e.g., higher new product quality, greater market success). One way to potentially improve NPD outcomes is to utilize information technology (IT) tools (Nambisan, 2003). In fact, more than 90% of senior executives surveyed by Accenture believe that IT enables innovation (O'Mahony, Padmore, & Suh, 2003). Fueled by this belief, companies are increasingly using IT to support and enhance their NPD process (Cooper, 2007). However, there is limited empirical research validating the numerous assertions about the positive effect of IT use on NPD outcomes (e.g., Dewett & Jones, 2001). The goal of this paper is to address several gaps in this area. First, extant research fails to investigate the influence of specific IT tools on new product performance. For example, it is argued that IT use supports collaboration, coordination, and communication amongst NPD team members (Dewett & Jones, 2001, McGrath & Iansiti, 1998, Nambisan, 2003 and Durmusoglu, 2009) or enhances the base of knowledge available to an NPD team (Dewett & Jones, 2001). However, due to the proliferation of IT tools available, it is important for managers to know which IT tools provide value. Second, the majority of prior research proposes that IT tools affect efficiency measures (e.g., cost and time-to-market) and say little about the potential effect of IT use on effectiveness measures such as new product quality, product innovativeness, and/or market performance.1 Notwithstanding the importance of efficiency outcomes in NPD efforts, the ultimate test of a new product is how it is viewed by customers (i.e., is it unique; is it of high quality?) which in turn, affects the product's performance in the marketplace. Moreover, investigation of the effect of IT tool use should include multiple effectiveness measures because various NPD outcomes may be more amenable to different IT tools (Rangaswamy & Lilien, 1997). Third, to date, limited empirical evidence exists on what IT tools influence the performance of new products in different phases of the NPD process. The use of various IT tools is likely to change over time during the life of an NPD project (Pavlou & El Sawy, 2006). Put another way, NPD projects are dynamic, resulting in different IT tools being used in diverse phases of the NPD process and affecting each phase differentially (Boutellier et al., 1998, Kessler, 2003 and Malhotra & Majchrzak, 2004). Thus, understanding the role of IT across distinct phases of the product development process is an important area for research (Banker, Bardhan, & Ozer, 2006). In this study, we focus on the use of specific IT tools in different NPD phases and contribute to the literature in three ways. First, drawing from previous qualitative interviews with NPD personnel and from the literature, we investigate the impact of eleven IT tools, namely, e-mail, web meetings, product design software, decision support systems (DSS) for project evaluation, idea generation software, shared drives/project rooms, file transfer protocols, secondary data, virtual prototyping, concept testing software, and online needs surveys, on NPD outcomes. Next, building on the notion that IT helps to create an innovation capability that results in creating business value (e.g., Bharadwaj, 2000, Sambamurthy & Zmud, 2000 and Weill et al., 2002), this research moves beyond examining how IT enhances the efficiency of the NPD process to investigating the question of whether or not IT enhances NPD effectiveness. We focus on new product innovativeness, quality, and market performance, which are frequently used NPD effectiveness measures. Finally, this study examines the usage of different IT tools across various phases of the NPD process. More specifically, this research examines the effect of particular IT tools in the discovery, development, and launch phases of the NPD process on new product effectiveness. A decompositional approach to investigating the factors that affect the NPD process is appropriate because prior research suggests that the stage that an NPD project is in is important to examine because the effects of causes on outcomes are different in the initial stages as compared to later stages (Griffin & Hauser, 1996 and Madhavan & Grover, 1998). Further, with regard to IT, case studies show that different IT tools are used in various stages of the NPD process (Boutellier et al., 1998 and Malhotra & Majchrzak, 2004). The remainder of this paper is structured as follows. First, the three NPD process phases are described and theoretical support for each hypothesis is presented. Specifically, this research explores whether twelve frequently used IT tools in each of these three phases foster new product quality, product innovativeness, and/or market performance. Then, the data collection method, measurement, and construct reliability and validity are delineated, followed by the presentation of the analysis and results. The paper ends with a discussion of the findings, theoretical and managerial implications followed by limitations and future research directions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The results of this study provide empirical evidence that the use of some IT tools during NPD positively affects NPD effectiveness, while the use of other tools has no effect on new product outcomes. Additionally, the results demonstrate that the effects are varied in that not every IT tool influences all effectiveness measures considered: while some tools improve all three measures of new product effectiveness — innovativeness, new product quality, and market performance — some tools increase only one or two of these outcomes. The results also support previous research, which contends that NPD projects are dynamic and therefore, different IT tools would influence the NPD process phases differently (Kessler, 2003 and Malhotra & Majchrzak, 2004). Previous literature finds that highly effective NPD teams use e-mail to a greater extent than teams with lower performance (McDonough, Kahn, & Griffin, 1999). In our study, as expected, the use of e-mail is associated with improved new product quality and market performance. However, these effects are evident only in the development and commercialization phases. Consequently, our results extend previous findings by suggesting that, in order to improve quality and market performance, face-to-face interactions may be necessary early in the NPD process. The forming, storming, and norming phases in group development literature (Tuckman & Jensen, 1977) could correspond to the discovery phase of the NPD process. Once work behaviors are normed, i.e., a consensus is reached in acceptable and unacceptable rules and values, team members could work more effectively through their e-mail exchanges. Face-to-face meetings may allow for NPD team members to get to know each other and establish norms, paving the way for more comfortable e-mail exchanges in the later phases. Next, the lack of any relationship between web meeting use with any effectiveness metric in any phase of the NPD process is contrary to expectations. One reason for this result may be that web meetings are a relatively new tool that has only seen increased usage because of the current economic recession. At the time of data collection, web meeting use may have been substantially lower, thereby having no impact on new product effectiveness measures. The use of secondary data during discovery improves effectiveness measures except new product quality. The focus of this phase is on identifying market opportunities, generating a large number of new product ideas based on these opportunities, screening those ideas, conducting comprehensive research to build a business case for some of the new ideas with a clear description of the product requirements, and setting of budget and schedules (Ozer, 2000). There is a great need, in this phase, to acquire and share external market information leading to a clear understanding of viable market opportunities and customer requirements. Secondary data may be influential in identifying the current offerings in the market, highlighting competitors' strengths and weaknesses, and emphasizing market and industry trends which can lead to coming up with more innovative products. However, secondary data seems to fall short in capturing specific customer requirements , which generally are more closely associated with perceptions of quality. The positive effect of secondary data, virtual prototyping, and concept testing software use in the front-end of the NPD process provide further evidence of the importance of market and other types of information in new product success (Ottum & Moore, 1997, Cooper, 2001 and Zahay et al., 2004). As Ottum and Moore (1997, p. 269). This result also fits with the new product success literature, which shows that having a customer orientation that includes undertaking voice of the customer research is an important contributor to new product success (Cooper, 2001). In the same vein, the positive influence of DSS for project evaluation indicate the importance of assessing new product ideas and opportunities and eliminating those that do not fit the strategic goals of the firm. More IT tools had a positive, significant effect on new product performance in the development phase than either of the other two phases. This phase is an active period in which the product is being designed, prototypes are made, internal and external product testing is undertaken, and marketing, operations/manufacturing, and sales plans are being made. This requires team members from different functional areas to integrate their work and share information and problems. It may also necessitate the involvement of external sources such as suppliers, distributors, and customers (Ozer, 2000). Thus, the use of IT tools such as e-mail, shared drives/project rooms, and file transfer protocols appear to enable more frequent and quicker communication and facilitate collaboration, supporting prior research (Boutellier et al., 1998). As well, the finding that product design tools (i.e., CAD/CAE) influence performance concurs with previous work that has shown that teams in the development phase will utilize use CAD/CAE systems to share and revise product designs (Boutellier et al., 1998). The positive effect on performance of the use of specific IT tools in the commercialization phase supports previous research that shows that the launch plan and implementation of the launch plan are important for new product success (Cooper, 2001). Specifically, the use of e-mail, DSS for project evaluation, file transfer protocols, concept testing, and online needs surveys all improved at least two performance measures in this phase. As with the previous phases, the need for information sharing is critical, necessitating the need for and use of e-mail and file transfer protocols. Likewise, projects need to be evaluated continually to ensure the firm is supporting worthwhile projects and product concepts need to be tested throughout the process to make certain that customer needs are met. One surprising result is with regard to the effect of online needs surveys in the launch phase. One might expect that this tool would be more useful and impactful in the discovery phase. One explanation for this finding may be that although firms try to uncover customer needs in the discovery phase, they may not use an online survey to do so. Rather, our results suggest that once the product is launched, customers who purchased the product are likely to be solicited to answer a survey whose objectives are to determine whether or not and to what extent their needs are being met by the new product. Two IT tools had a positive impact on new product performance in all three phases of the NPD process — DSS for project evaluation and file transfer protocols. With regard to project evaluation tools, previous research indicates that NPD projects should be evaluated at multiple points in time, generally at the conclusion of each stage of the NPD process (Cooper, 2001). Moreover, evaluating projects as they progress through the development cycle enables firms to allocate resources to those projects that continue to exhibit customer and firm value (Cooper, 2001). Given this, our results regarding DSS for project evaluation make sense. Next, with regard to file transfer protocols, Boutellier et al. (1998) found that remote file systems such as file transfer protocols were important for the exchange of technical information among NPD team members. While technical information is predominantly exchanged during the development phase, acquisition of competitor and customer information and their subsequent analysis need to be conducted in both discovery and commercialization: trends and preferences in the former, reactions to the market testing of the new product in the latter. Therefore, the members of NPD project teams need to share information throughout the NPD process. As a result, it is not surprising that file transfer protocols affect performance in all phases and innovativeness as well as quality when used during development and commercialization. Concept testing is typically viewed as an activity done in the discovery phase of the NPD process in which customers are asked about their perceptions of a specific new product concept (Cooper, 2001). Thus, our findings that concept testing affects measures of performance in both the discovery and development phases of the NPD process is somewhat surprising. One explanation for this result could be that respondents have a broader view of concept testing than the academic view. For example, in the development phase, various design concepts can be tested with customers to find the design that best fits customer needs. The primary implication of this finding is that in both the discovery and development phases, it is important to get customer feedback through certain IT tools such as concept testing software. This supports previous research that shows that Internet based tools can help project teams collect high quality information about customer needs and reactions to new product concepts (McMellon & Schiffman, 2001 and Teo & Choo, 2001). 5.1. Implications for practitioners This study offers several implications for new product practitioners. First, the findings that specific IT tools positively influence new product effectiveness suggest that IT creates critical business value for the firm. Thus, new product managers can use these results as evidence when trying to advocate for greater investments in particular IT tools to build and extend their firm's innovation capability. For example, managers can use our study results to make the case for implementation of decision support software for improved effectiveness as well as the acquisition of virtual prototyping tools because their use during discovery can lead to more innovative products with higher quality and improved market success. Second, the positive effect of various IT tools on three different measures of new product effectiveness — product innovativeness, quality, and market performance — suggests that particular IT tools can serve as levers for improving certain performance metrics. Thus, new product managers and project leaders need to know and understand which tools affect which performance measures and ensure that their NPD teams have access to, training with, and experience with these specific IT tools. For example, our study finds that online needs surveys improve all of the NPD effectiveness dimensions considered when used during commercialization, suggesting that last minute tweaks in the new product, albeit mostly minor ones, are essential in ensuring success. Finally, the finding that dissimilar IT tools influence new product performance in different phases of the NPD process supports the contention of previous conceptual and case study research that diverse IT tools influence each phase differently, depending on the information and communication needs of that phase (Boutellier et al., 1998, Kessler, 2003 and Malhotra & Majchrzak, 2004). New product managers need to be aware of when (i.e., in which phase) each tool affects each performance metric so that they can ensure that NPD team members utilize those IT tools that can best facilitate the development of a superior, innovative and/or market successful product. 5.2. Implications for researchers This research expands on and extends previous work on IT and NPD, most of which has been conceptual in nature. Specifically, this study represents one of only a few studies that empirically test the relationship between IT and measures of new product performance. The findings empirically support previous contentions that IT enables an innovation capability and yields significant value to firms (Sambamurthy & Zmud, 2000 and Weill et al., 2002). The focus on specific IT tools usage in particular phases of the NPD process fills two gaps in the literature. First, the limited empirical research on IT in NPD has only explored IT usage in general, and not the application of particular IT tools and how they affect performance. Second, little research has empirically examined the influence of IT tools in different phases of the NPD process. The results suggest that within the NPD context, the use and role of IT can not be investigated in general, but rather needs to be explored within each phase of the process as IT tools affect each phase differently. This concurs with prior research that shows that the decompositional approach is best when examining the NPD process (Boutellier et al., 1998, Griffin & Hauser, 1996, Kessler, 2003, Madhavan & Grover, 1998 and Troy et al., 2001). 5.3. Limitations and future research directions Although this study uses a standard research design, it is not without some limitations. First, this study uses a cross-sectional survey, which cannot corroborate causal effects. Second, the use of single informants can be considered a source of common method bias. However, by focusing on a specific issue, namely, the influence of particular IT tools on new product market performance, product innovativeness, and product quality, this weakness can be mitigated to some extent. The present study provides one perspective of the relationship between IT and new product market performance, product innovativeness, and product quality in various phases of the NPD process usage across company sizes and industry types. Thus, generalizations of the results to specific businesses or to firms employing certain NPD strategies should be made with caution. Future research could extend the results found in this study by examining these relationships under various industry characteristics such as competitive and technological turbulence, and environmental munificence. The operationalization of particular IT tool usage does not encompass the frequency or the proficiency of use. As communication frequency is related to information use (Fisher & Maltz, 1997), future research should incorporate these dimensions when assessing the impact of IT tool use on new product performance. As well, it would allow a comparison of heavy versus light users and/or more proficient versus less proficient users to ascertain if and how they might differ with regard to new product effectiveness.