Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Anaqua Intellectual Asset Management Maturity Model

We frequently get calls from someone in an IP team saying they need a new IP system. The frustrations with their existing systems have built up over the years and it is finally time to make a change. They want to see what other solutions are out there and start some kind of evaluation process. They often have a list of features they want to see and a clear idea of the limitations they don’t want to live with any more.
OK – that’s a start but at Anaqua we always try to step back and talk about business goals and priorities to set a context for the product evaluation: what is it the IP team is trying to achieve and what impact will this have on the business and the IP operation? How will you measure that impact? What will success look like? What is most important in phase 1 and what are the nice-to-have goals that can be delayed for later phases?

A new IP system is a significant change in itself but moving to a new IAM system by definition calls for a re-assessment of IP processes across the organization. This has to involve the senior leadership of the IP team and if he or she is not involved in setting these goals and priorities, a project can fail to win approval or funding.

So how can we help clients with this process? One option is to engage us or other IP consultants to perform a benchmark analysis and requirements assessment, but this can be overkill for many clients. As an alternative, we developed a tool to help the IP team understand where they are today and where they want to be with their new IAM system. We call it the Anaqua Intellectual Asset Management Maturity Model (IAM3).

Anaqua’s Intellectual Asset Management Maturity Model (The IAM3 model) is a framework for assessing your company’s position on its path to implementing IAM best practices. It helps you identify your current position so that you can prioritize key focus areas for improvement. It is designed to encourage a dialog within the IP team and with colleagues in other parts of the business about the strengths and weaknesses of your current processes and the opportunities for change.

The model does this by identifying ten separate areas of IP management for trademarks, domains, inventions and patents. It describes four levels of IAM maturity from Basic through Progressive to Advanced and finally Superior.

The model goes beyond the core functions of legal IP management to include enterprise-wide stakeholders in the process: inventors, R&D managers, marketing, business executives and senior management. Each of the four levels describes not just current practices but also the mindset of the participants with regard to intellectual assets and the level of visibility into the portfolio.

It covers various IP processes and operations as well as key strategic issues such as alignment of the portfolio with the company’s business strategies, and the company’s knowledge of competitive and complementary IP in the marketplace.

Some of the focus areas will not be relevant for your organization. In some of them you may be in good shape, in others not so much. The important thing is to get consensus on where change is most needed and set your priorities accordingly. Now you are much better positioned to review alternative solutions based on your needs.

Where is your organization on the Intellectual Asset Management Maturity Model? You can request a copy here.