Many corporations rely on patent management software to analyze workflow efficiencies and focus their resources, but the tools won’t have much value unless you examine the appropriate metrics. Here are some key metrics you should be able to evaluate using patent management software:
Changes per Disclosure
With each invention disclosure, there are going to be rounds of review. By tracking how many rounds are made, you can better estimate the length of the process and pinpoint any bottlenecks. You can also sort and categorize invention disclosures in your patent management software for additional insights. For example, you may find that inventions of a certain technology type require several more review actions than another. That can help you determine if the human resources assigned to those types of inventions are optimized.
Disclosures per Operating Company
If you’re collaborating across organizations, you can evaluate which operating companies or working groups can most reliably meet timelines or other outcomes. Disclosure output by entity or group can reveal important productivity patterns and obstacles, leading to better decisions. This metric serves as a measure of accountability. It can be viewed at intervals and trigger leadership involvement to avoid project failure.
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Completed Disclosures per Team Member
Who are your star innovators? Identifying and examining the results of your most efficient or highest output team members has multiple benefits. It may indicate which employees are most ready for leadership roles. It can also lead you to identify who best to pair on R&D teams for better outcomes. In terms of corrective measures, you can spot underperformance and other weaknesses, and augment with training or other incentives. All of this can help make your organization more competitive in the market.
Time Spent per Disclosure Stage
The time spent per invention disclosure, or the “disclosure velocity,” can help you see if processes need to be implemented to improve outcomes at certain action points. While some stages will be consistently longer than others (e.g. Completeness Review vs. Submittal), using IP management software to compare the same stage between different disclosures will reveal outliers. With that information, leaders can go back to their teams and debrief on instances where the process went especially smoothly and replicate those.
Number of Disclosures Made per Time Period
There are often peaks and valleys when it comes to innovation productivity. You want to know why. Some is readily explainable – holidays, budget cycles, corporate culture and policy. Even in those times, if you’re looking for continuity and efficiency, you can for example shift intensive projects to periods where productivity is high and interruptions minimal.
Charges per Law Firm/Attorney
Good IP management software can help you find efficiency opportunities outside of your team as well. Taking a holistic view of the firms and attorneys you’ve partnered with can help you identify who has been most responsive, cost effective, and outcome driven consistent with your business requirements and goals. You want to know the dollars you’re spending on outside counsel are driving momentum and results, not just line items on a cost sheet.
Cost Analysis of Existing Patents
Are your patented technologies deployed productively? Are they making money or collecting dust? You should be able to check on the financial performance of your IP assets: Which products are they tied to and how are those doing? If they’re doing well, how much life is left in the patents? Maybe you need to start innovating ahead. Are you spending thousands or multiples of that to maintain wasting patent assets? You could identify those and divest or out-license, saving a lot of money. Some companies take weeks or months to figure these things out. Good IP management software can produce answers in minutes. You can roll up this data and apply it as an efficiency metric.
While intellectual property management software can serve as a valuable analytical tool, sometimes it’s more than just process that’s impacting your team’s efficiency. Unless you’re advocating for innovation and providing the right environment in which your team can work, your slow-downs may just be a result of apathy. Find out how to get your team motivated in the free guide, Building an Innovation Culture from the Ground Up.