Editor’s Note: This is the second post in a two-post series examining the best practices Fuentek has captured by utilizing an IP asset management (IPAM) database to support intellectual property (IP) marketing and technology commercialization initiatives.
- Establish and follow clear, concise, and consistent classification schemes
- Incorporate full-featured search capabilities
- Integrate workflow management capabilities
- Include reporting tools for staff productivity and efficient project tracking
- Invest in proper training and mentoring for your staff
- Adhere to your institution’s technology guidelines
Last time we looked at the first three best practices. Now, let’s take a closer look at the final three.
4. Reporting and Project Management
Effective reporting capabilities assist your staff in increasing their personal productivity and are vital to your organization achieving specific goals and objectives. Well-designed reporting tools provide the ability to quickly and easily obtain status information on all aspects across your technology portfolio—from how many hours spent on a project to which companies have been contacted to what technologies may be a match for a visiting company. Such reporting tools also satisfy your management-reporting requirements. Look for a solution with reporting features that provide excellent visibility and transparency across your IPAM database solution to avoid a “black hole” scenario. (I know it’s in here somewhere!)
Business analytics software tools offer a strategic advantage by assisting with identification of trends and revealing additional opportunities for licensing and partnerships that may exist throughout your IP portfolio. Powerful reporting tools can provide a foundation for effective project management to ensure that you are maximizing your deal potential while minimizing surprises that spin your team into reactionary mode.
5. Staff Training and Mentoring
Effective training that is planned and delivered at the right time with the right amount and level of information will help you gain the most value from your IPAM solution. Web-based multimedia tools can be very efficient and cost-effective options for training your staff and should be accompanied by a high-touch connection that includes mentoring from senior staff members and system experts. Put simply: If the staff doesn’t feel comfortable using the system or recognize its value, they won’t use it.
6. Technology Guidelines
Engage information technology (IT) professionals in the planning and selection process to ensure compliance with your IT architecture; online security; technology; and product guidelines, standards, and procedures. Web-based IPAM solutions are ideal because they facilitate ease of access. These online solutions should be supported by a standard commercial or open-source database along with development languages that are endorsed by your technology support organization. There are a number of installed (in-house) or software-as-a-service (SaaS or hosted) commercially available solutions today. If you are using or planning to use a commercial IPAM solution, the following questions for potential solution vendors should help you narrow down your options:
- What is the support process and the depth and qualifications of your support organization?
- What is the process to request enhancements and what is your track record for publishing new software releases?
- Are you using a users’ group or steering committee that includes customers to prioritize new features?
- Do you provide a forum with other IPAM system users to share best practices?
Successfully commercializing a vast and diverse portfolio of technologies is a fundamental and often daunting undertaking for all technology transfer offices. World-class organizations seek out and capitalize on best practices within their offices and across the industry. Properly and diligently using an IPAM database solution can have a positive impact on the overall success of your organization’s technology commercialization initiatives.
–By Jack Spain