Mar­keting pro­fessor exam­ines how IT impacts the devel­op­ment of new products

March 27, 2008 – As the bur­geoning market for inno­va­tion shows no signs of slowing down, many orga­ni­za­tions are looking for ways to improve their prod­ucts and ser­vices by using new infor­ma­tion tech­nolo­gies (IT). How­ever, there has been no avail­able data proving that uti­lizing IT actu­ally ben­e­fits new product out­comes. Gloria Bar­czak, Ph.D., a pro­fessor of mar­keting at North­eastern University’s Col­lege of Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion, is a national expert in the area of new product devel­op­ment (NPD) and is cur­rently researching com­pa­nies in the U.S. and in Europe to see whether or not uti­lizing infor­ma­tion tech­nology (IT) helps the NPD process.

Working with Pro­fessor Fareena Sultan, also from NU, and Erik Jan Hultink, a pro­fessor from Delft Uni­ver­sity in the Nether­lands, Barczak’s study focuses on both large and small com­pa­nies in both the United States and the Nether­lands to iden­tify how they are uti­lizing IT when devel­oping new prod­ucts. To test how effec­tive the IT tools were in the NPD process, the researchers focused on two fac­tors – speed to market and market performance.

Barczak’s moti­va­tion behind this research project was the lack of data avail­able about whether or not the use of tech­nology is helping the process of devel­oping a new product. “There have been assump­tions made that IT can help bring a new product to the market faster, but because there was very lim­ited infor­ma­tion avail­able, I felt that it was an impor­tant area to look into,” said Barczak.

An ini­tial com­po­nent of the study included that respon­dents com­plete a ques­tion­naire about the dif­ferent stages in product devel­op­ment and what IT tools, if any, they used during the dif­ferent stages. The data col­lected from these sur­veys did not reveal a rela­tion­ship between the use of IT tools and speed to market. How­ever, there was an asso­ci­a­tion between IT tools and market per­for­mance. These find­ings, which were pub­lished in a recent issue of The Journal of Product Inno­va­tion Man­age­ment, seem to dis­credit the belief that IT tools can help bring prod­ucts to market faster.

This is the first empir­ical study looking at how the use of infor­ma­tion tech­nology in the NPD process impacts time to market and market per­for­mance,” said Bar­czak. “While the find­ings are sur­prising, the data we have col­lected helps us to better under­stand why cer­tain com­pa­nies are not uti­lizing new infor­ma­tion tech­nolo­gies and the role of IT with regard to speed to market and market performance.”

Another part of the study looked at the bar­riers that com­pa­nies face when trying to inte­grate new IT into their NPD processes. These include cost, lack of aware­ness and/​or training for the new IT tools, reliance on existing IT infra­struc­ture, and time con­straints. Due to these find­ings, Bar­czak and Sultan rec­om­mend that com­pa­nies carry out an IT Audit to iden­tify where in the NPD process these IT tools could improve the product’s per­for­mance, as well as deter­mine what bar­riers exist and how they can over­come them to create a better-​​performing NPD process.

This study is ongoing, and in November, Bar­czak and Sultan hope to pub­lish another article about their find­ings, which will focus on com­paring the data from the US and Dutch com­pa­nies involved in the study.

In the class­room, Pro­fessor Bar­czak teaches the prin­ci­ples involved with new product devel­op­ment and how the process works in dif­ferent fields and dis­ci­plines. She is cur­rently serving as Chair of the 2007/​2008 Product Devel­op­ment & Man­age­ment Asso­ci­a­tion (PDMA) Research Com­pe­ti­tion and is a member of the Aca­d­emic Com­mittee of the PDMA.

For more infor­ma­tion about Pro­fessor Barczak’s research, please con­tact Jenny Eriksen at (617) 373‑2802 or via email at j.​eriksen@​neu.​edu.

About­North­eastern

Founded in 1898, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is a pri­vate research uni­ver­sity located in the heart of Boston. North­eastern is a leader in inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research, urban engage­ment, and the inte­gra­tion of class­room learning with real-​​world expe­ri­ence. The university’s dis­tinc­tive coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion pro­gram, where stu­dents alter­nate semes­ters of full-​​time study with semes­ters of paid work in fields rel­e­vant to their pro­fes­sional inter­ests and major, is one of the largest and most inno­v­a­tive in the world. The Uni­ver­sity offers a com­pre­hen­sive range of under­grad­uate and grad­uate pro­grams leading to degrees through the doc­torate in six under­grad­uate col­leges, eight grad­uate schools, and two part-​​time divi­sions. For more infor­ma­tion, please visit www​.north​eastern​.edu.