So far, the IBM Big Data pilots delivered two strong benefits, says Houghteling:
- They reduced the triage process down to seven to 10 days from two to four months;
- The licensing professionals are now able to use their newfound time to work on raising the university's technology profile and building new business opportunities.
"This would allow staff to have more time to manage those strategic assets that have been overlooked, or work on activities that result in new business formation," says Houghteling. For example, in addition to technology transfer, one of the things the department does is launch new companies based on some of the technologies being developed within the university. To date, 70 companies developed by faculty, staff or students have been launched, says Houghteling.
As the pilots continue, he says, "We're definitely in the process of making the business case [for a full deployment]. There aren't necessarily budget limitations to make the transfer of these tools happen, it's just the next step of the discussion. We are optimistic that our partnership with IBM doesn't end here, and we are committed to expanding collaboration management and use of Big Data to transform technology transfer process."
Adds Houghteling, "It's only a matter of time before these tools become available to every member of my office to test and see how they improve their daily flow of work and efficiency."