Life Cycle Management

Technology Product Life Cycle

What Is The Technology Product Life Cycle?

Technology Product Life Cycle

Just as humans, biological processes and conventional goods and services are governed by life cycle stage development so too are technology products. This is referred to as the technology product life cycle. The technology product life cycle moves through five distinct and definable phases from initial emergence to the time it becomes outdated or obsolete. The phases are characterized by the same inherent processes of the conventional product life cycle, namely, the introduction, growth, maturity, decline and exit stage. However, the terminology used to describe the technology market evolutionary stages are slightly different and categorized accordingly. For the purpose of further discussion, these stages are termed: the bleeding edge, leading edge, state of the art, dated and obsolete phase.

During the introduction or bleeding edge stage of the technology product life cycle, the technology is considered to be highly innovative. Depending on the extent of the product viability, the product may move straight into integration, for example, a high end computer chip that produces superior speed and performance or it may remain on the fringe depending on the extent of market consensus. Products that are immediately integrated (computer chip example) can have demonstrable benefits and are not subject to the same risk profile as bleeding edge technologies that have yet to prove their inherent value. Therefore, technology products that are moving through this phase of the technology life cycle can spend differing amounts of time in this evolutionary stage.

Technology Product Life Cycle

The high viability stage or leading edge stage of the technology product life cycle occurs when the product has proven itself and market adoption is widespread. Production ramps at this stage to cater to the demand. Shortfalls can present for support services because a lack of suitably qualified staff can mean demand outweighs supply. This stage is where risk tapers off as product improvements take place. An example of this is software that has been introduced to the market and has had numerous build or bug updates to remove logic or processing problems. Companies that purchase the technology during this phase usually enjoy the most benefits as they purchase at the point of longest life expectancy.

The state of the art phase is of the technology product life cycle is characterized by growing market awareness that the technology represents the right solution. Companies fight for market share during this stage and focus on product differentiation to win consumer loyalty and build a bigger slice of the market pie. New features are added during this phase to improve and position the product as a superior alternative.

The dated phase of the technology life cycle is when the product reaches maturity and although it is still recognized and implemented, replacement technologies are beginning to emerge at the bleeding edge of the spectrum. In some cases, the company issues new products that are designed to replace its existing product range and provide superior product features.

The exit phase or obsolete phase of the technology product lifecycle is when replacement technology is increasing in awareness rendering the current technology outdated. An example of this is when DVD players hit the market and video tape recorders are repositioned as a "thing of the past".

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