Web-Based Collaboration: The Key to Connecting Innovators and Business Development
Getting inventors, corporate R&D and Business Development on the same page can be tough. Without a single system in place, it can be easy for the right hand to lose track of what the left hand is doing, resulting in lost time, missed deadlines and even security lapses.
“Global companies have very complicated processes and a lot of moving parts," says Ronnie Koss, Vice President of Business Development for ideaPoint, a configurable software solution from Anaqua that connects innovators and biz dev through all stages of product development. “Because of this, visibility and transparency regarding what everyone is working on can be lost."
Beyond acting as a repository and tracking system, web-based collaborative tools like ideaPoint can save firms time and resources through the submission and evaluation stages of the pipeline, shaving significant time off the process it takes to get a product to market.
Making the Submission Process Painless
Many global companies allow outside inventors to submit their ideas online—an advantage in terms of expediency, but with its own drawbacks. Inventors may hesitate to submit online because they're concerned about giving away their secrets to strangers. And companies may worry about getting confidential information that could tie their hands later on. That's where web-based collaboration steps in.
ideaPoint creates secure, web-based "portals" often from a company's website where inventors can securely submit their ideas. “This allows the inventor to fill out a submission form and agree to an NDA stating they aren't giving away any of their 'secret sauce' to the company." Koss says.
The system then keeps the inventor notified at each step of the submission process. “Without this system, inventors may reach out to a global organization just to have their message go into a black hole," says Koss. "They may never hear back and feel slighted. On the other hand, the company may just be taking time internally to make a decision. In the meantime the inventor's gone somewhere else."
ideaPoint creates a similar internal portal for companies that rely on tech scouts and biz dev teams for submission instead of the inventors themselves.
Staying on Track During the Evaluation Phase
Once an invention is submitted, business development enters the evaluation phase. Web-based collaboration can transform this process, first by routing information to the correct parties. A European patent, for example, will be routed to the appropriate geographical division, or may flow to specific department depending on the type of technology the invention utilizes.
“Manufacturing reviews the invention and asking 'Can we make it?'" Koss says. “IP folks ask, 'Is this valuable for us?' Marketing asks, 'Can we sell it?' All of those evaluations are used by the company to make strategic decisions and all are tracked in ideaPoint."
Moreover, web-based collaboration ensures that the inventors stay informed during the entire process, through system-generated notifications.
Tracking Milestones and Security
Once a company decides to pursue an invention, partnership or collaboration, ideaPoint captures all the metadata around the agreements put in place.
“For example, in a licensing deal, an agreement will outline milestones, obligations, a payment schedule and more," says Koss. “Our software tracks and manages the entire process."
While keeping everyone on the same page, not everyone necessarily sees all those pages. One of ideaPoint's primary functions is maintenance of role-based access to IP assets. In other words, on ideaPoint's platform, only users with appropriate permissions can view specific information.
“The opportunities our partners manage are highly sensitive in nature," says Koss. " So they need peace of mind that only appropriate individuals have access to the IP."
Ultimately, web-based collaboration facilitates communication and procedural efficiency across an enterprise, freeing up valuable resources so they can concentrate on finding and developing new innovations.
“We give people the ability to act strategically as opposed to bureaucratically," Koss explained. "ideaPoint helps global organizations reduce the time, effort and money involved in making strategic decisions around the innovation pipeline."