Globally, the digital technology adoption has seen a remarkable upsurge as organizations strive to embrace latest innovations and more efficient ways of doing business in order to remain competitive. The digital wave has hit the enterprise R&D landscape as well, as the need to come up with faster product development cycles and newer revenue streams are crucial differentiating factors.
The enterprises are ramping up their R&D investments to align product development with the fast-changing customer needs and accelerate time to market. R&D has become a business priority and organization leaders are rethinking strategies to make the function a key driver in the overall growth of the enterprise. They are increasingly recognizing the need for technology in driving these transformations, with cloud computing, AI/ML, and IoT becoming more mainstream.
Most of these R&D investments are being pumped into use cases enabling connectivity, scalability, and intelligence for products, delivering immersive experiences to end-users, and realizing as-a-service business models. To put the added focus on R&D in perspective, Mckinsey has reported that the global spend on R&D in 2019 was $2.3 trillion, which equates to about 2% of the global GDP. The COVID-19 pandemic is only expected to push that number upward.
R&D strategy: What is the challenge?
There are certain challenges thwarting the R&D ecosystem though. R&D units are still following 20th century models and an R&D strategy is either non-existent or lacks clarity, agility, and conviction to realize the long-term benefits. R&D is often blinded by short-term goals instead of focusing on a long-term vision of innovation. To maintain a competitive edge, the organizations need a robust, flexible, and intelligent R&D strategy. The first step to building a smart R&D strategy is to understand and address these four challenges faced by modern-day organizations:
- Hurried innovation cycle
- Lack of connection with the customer
- Lack of project accountability metrics
- High priority for incremental projects
- Lack of a rich portfolio of engineering and R&D services
These challenges can be addressed by overhauling the R&D approach for new product development and channelizing strategies along with these four major phases:
- Focus more on innovation by experimentation and development of testing and validation techniques, leveraging customized software, simulation, and automation technologies to accelerate R&D innovation cycles
- R&D groups should get the opportunity to work in close collaboration with end-users to test and develop the product rather than working in isolation. This will help them develop products as per customer needs
- There should be an effective and definitive mechanism to communicate the progress of R&D work. Success should be described in terms of patents rather than profits to quantify R&D contribution
- Some organizations favor R&D primarily for incremental projects which give them immediate returns. However, R&D should be focused more on the company’s long-term differentiation and growth objectives
- Leverage partnerships to access key assets and resources
- Build a talent pool to revisit and update the legacy mechanisms. This also includes product engineering services, platform engineering services, operation technology services, and next-gen engineering initiatives
The HCL philosophy
R&D engineering services play an indispensable role in application and product development. The digital business irrespective of the industry they operate in, must revamp their R&D ecosystem to maintain their competitive edge.
At HCL, we have partnered with global enterprises to accelerate their product development by leveraging exponential technologies, monetizing product services, and providing vivid and immersive customer experiences through our Engineering and R&D Services (ERS). We are also a broad-based global engineering service provider (ESP) with deep expertise in supporting customers in their digital transformation initiatives. We are evaluated by Gartner and IDC for our long-term R&D commitments.
We have expedited engineering across the comprehensive product ecosystems in manufacturing, supply chain, and services. This remarkably improves to the time to profit and facilitates a positive return on innovation. Our engineering services have catalyzed the development and launch of more than 1,000 pre-eminent products for more than 330 organizations across various market segments. Our strong vertical and horizontal presence is recognized by industry analysts in the following areas:
- Aero and defense: Worked with eight of the top 10 A&D companies; rated #1 in A&D by Zinnov
- Automotive: 16+ years of experience in automotive engineering. More than one million vehicles consist of HCL designed products. Worked with most of the major OEMs across North American and European geographies
- Industrial manufacturing: System solutions and collaborative engineering services for ORV, HVAC, E&U, and O&G customers across the globe
- Consumer electronics: Ranked a leader in consumer electronics by Zinnov; a dedicated team of 1,600+ engineers with 10,000+ person-years of experience
- Networking and telecom: Our customers include three of the top seven Fortune500 service providers, eight out of top 10 OEMs, top four handset manufacturers, and top three VAS solution providers
- Semiconductors: Our customers include six out of the top 10 semi-OEMs, 14+ years and 5,000+ person-years of engineering experience with semi-OEMs and fab applications