Market & Technology Readiness (MTRLs)

March 9, 2017 | Leave a Comment

By Frank Khan Sullivan, Vice President/Marketing, Strategic Blue

There is a need to communicate a project’s maturity to a non-technical audience. The Market & Technology Readiness Level Framework [PDF] aims to provide decision makers with a holistic view of a project’s maturity in a simple way – with a single score. It offers a faster way to assess, measure and support technology projects. The MTRL Assessment form is at the bottom of this article for those interested.

This framework has been developed by Frank Khan Sullivan, Michel Drescher from Oxford University e-Research Centre and Frank Bennett at Cloud Industry Forum, and was originally used to support several European Research & Innovation projects in cloud software and security to develop a go-to-market strategy at CloudForward 2016.

We will be accepting the next intake round of projects and businesses at Cloud Expo 2017 in London on Thursday, March 16 at 14:00 in the Cloud Innovation Theatre. The session is free to attend and will be hosted at the ExCeL Centre near Docklands. We will joining the CloudWatch2 project consortium speaking on March 15 on the European Digital Single Market and why trust is vital to the future cloud market.

By adopting the MTRL framework R&I projects can benefit from:

  • Access Direct Support Workshops* before or during project reviews
  • Quickly assess the maturity of a group of projects in a cluster/portfolio
  • Communicate clearly the current and desired future state of a project
  • Reduce the risk of project failure by intervening before crisis points
  • Understand roadblocks and dependencies between TRL and MRL

Understanding How To Communicate R&D Projects
The decision to exploit outputs of applied research projects often rests on a decision maker’s understanding of how value will be created. The project leader must articulate a project’s current state of maturity, and demonstrate how it will progress through development stages. However, what the project leader wishes to communicate and what the decision maker understands does not always match.

Creating a Common Framework for All Stakeholders
Without a common framework to understand how mature a technology is, or its level of traction with its target users or constituents, funding and operational decisions take longer. The MTRL framework provides a common language for project leaders and funding decision makers to articulate their progress between stages.

Technology Readiness Levels are a widely accepted measure of the maturity of a technology, however, it obscures an important dimension – is the technology or project output ready to be brought to market, and if not, what can be practically done to accelerate its entry and subsequent uptake within a group of constituent users?

For example, if a project has developed a small scale prototype but has yet to validate the needs of its intended users, much effort and funding may be expended in the pursuit of features for a large scale prototype that will never be used.

Combining Technology Readiness and Market Readiness
By understanding both the current state of a project’s technology and market readiness, it becomes possible to offer more targeted support, such as refinement of a value proposition or closer pairing with an industry partner. This in turn increases the likelihood of a project’s outputs persisting outside the lab, reduced dependence on increasingly scarce grants and a more efficient use of existing resources.

First Success Story: CloudTeams.eu launches in Europe
CloudTeams.eu joined us at the CloudForward conference in Madrid back in October 2016 to conduct a Market & Technology Readiness workshop. Less than 6 months later, they have now successfully launched and made a major leap forward in executing their go-to-market strategy. CloudTeams is an innovative online platform connecting developers and users to speed up the collection of feedback from a target group of users to reduce time-to-market, reduce costly development errors and validate feature sets. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them on a really great project!

Conclusion: The MTRL Framework is ready for rollout!
In summary, the MTRL framework helps decision makers understand what resources may be required to progress through specific stages of development in the project lifecycle. This becomes particularly relevant in reducing the time it takes to assess groups of technology projects in clusters and making support accessible before reviews.

For project leaders: Request an MTRL Assessment and Direct Support Workshop

For funding bodies: Learn about implementing the MTRL Assessment Framework

Special thanks to Michel Drescher, Frank Bennett and Prof. David Wallom for their inputs in developing the methodology and thinking behind the framework. Feel free to connect with me directly to discuss how MTRL Assessments can be used to help your fund, project or go-to-market strategy/business models.

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