Technology is a broad term that encompasses many tools and innovative processes that employees use to help a company achieve its goals. A company uses the strategic management process, or planning how to use resources for goal achievement, and specific types of technology to ensure the best use of resources in each operational area.
If you look at technology as knowledge, employees are both producers of knowledge and keepers of knowledge. Their knowledge is an asset that managers seek to develop through the strategic management process, including identifying what the organization will do to develop employees through training and professional development. Strategic managers also decide how employee knowledge will be stored electronically in the company knowledge base, such as an information system.
Employees can also affect the attainment of strategic goals by suggesting product innovations. This occurs when employees apply their ideas to fix problems with products or make them better. Employees must receive the right amount of input in the product development process to be utilized effectively in a strategically managed company. For example, managers use nonmanagers as members of cross-functional product development teams in some organizations.
Technology also refers to information systems that businesses use to maintain their competitive advantage by responding to their business markets. If a company uses an order tracking system to manage customer orders, it must meet the needs of the company in a changing market and in a stable market. Therefore, a strategic manager plans the ordering system to accommodate many more requests than the present level of production so that the system will still serve the company if it experiences massive growth.
A strategically managed organization sets goals for developing new technologies, or new capabilities, to introduce in a target economy, not just product innovations. This relates to expanding the organization's market position, another goal of strategic management. A firm can create new markets when it introduces new technologies if it believes in front-end investment in technology development.