Digital Microscopy is Making Me Crazy!

Posted: 30 Jan 2012

Date Written: September 9, 2011

Abstract

For Carl Zeiss Microimaging, modular hardware and software enabled customers to tailor Zeiss's broad range of microscopy systems hardware and software to meet a wide range of needs from basic scientific research in the biological and medical sciences to clinical applications, materials science, and industrial sectors. Modularity also provided Carl Zeiss' engineers the benefit of decoupling the development schedules of individual components and subsystems. Yet the well codified interfaces at many module boundaries also opened the system up to outside providers of components, mainly software. This served research scientists who were doing cutting edge research extremely well, as they wanted to be able to apply the latest techniques and analysis tools. At the other extreme, clinical and QA/QC applications by their nature had a much higher need for automation, because of the repetitive nature of tasks. Simple, integrated solutions seemed to make more sense in these circumstances, and many applications did not demand the ultraprecision of Carl Zeiss's hardware platforms. Rather there was a call for simplicity and robustness, especially in production environments. The case exposes some of the strategic issues and opportunities facing the microscopy business.

Learning Objective: Use modularity theory and jobs-based segmentation to understand industry evolution in a segment of the scientific instruments industry.

Suggested Citation

Shih, Willy, Digital Microscopy is Making Me Crazy! (September 9, 2011). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Case No. 612-002, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1993082

Willy Shih (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

HOME PAGE: http://drfd.hbs.edu/fit/public/facultyInfo.do?facInfo=bio&facEmId=wshih

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