Does It Matter?: Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage Hardcover – 18 May 2004
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This is a bold and controversial manifesto on where information technology is headed, how its role in business strategy will dramatically change, and what this all means for business managers and IT suppliers. "Does IT Matter" provides the first cogent explanation of IT's dramatically changing business role, its levelling influence on competition, and the practical implications for business managers and IT suppliers. A convincing manifesto on one of the most important business phenomena of our time, "Does IT Matter?" will play a central role in our ongoing debate about the future of IT.
From the Author
In May 2003, I published an article entitled "IT Doesnt Matter" in the Harvard Business Review. Described as "the rhetorical equivalent of a 50 megaton smart bomb" by one newspaper, the article challenged the conventional wisdom that information technology has become increasingly important as a strategic weapon in business. In fact, I argued, IT is becoming less and less important to business strategy as it becomes more powerful and more widespread. Some of the leading figures in the technology industry quickly attacked the article. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer dismissed it as "hogwash," while Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina called me "dead wrong." But the debate over my ideas only intensified as the year progressed, with articles appearing in publications as diverse as the New York Times and Fortune, BusinessWeek and Newsweek, the Washington Post and CIO.
In Does IT Matter? Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage, I offer a broader and deeper analysis of the role of IT in business and commerce. Taking into account the myriad responses to the original article, both positive and negative, I examine the particular technological, economic, and competitive characteristics of computer and communications hardware and software that guide their evolution and determine their fate. Through a series of historical and contemporary examples, I show how these characteristics combine to push all new IT innovations to rapidly become part of the shared business infrastructure, neutralizing their ability to provide competitive advantage to any one firm.
I also discuss the practical implications for how companies approach IT management, laying out a new framework for assessing potential IT investments based not only on their likely return on investment but also on the competitive responses theyre likely to engender. Business and technology managers will come away from the book with a fresh and coherent perspective that will help them make sense of and derive real value from - the enormous sums of money they devote to information technology. The time has come, I argue, to apply real discipline to IT management, to turn the IT infrastructure into a stable, efficient, and reliable foundation for running a business.
Beyond IT management itself, the book also examines the influence of the new IT infrastructure on other traditional sources of competitive advantage. Again taking issue with the common wisdom, I will show that many of the current assumptions about process automation, outsourcing, partnering, and virtual business are simplistic and dangerous. Companies that act on the assumptions are more likely to destroy advantage than create it.
Given the world economys heavy reliance on information technology, I believe these are subjects of importance to everyone. I have therefore written the book in straightforward prose, avoiding the jargon that makes much of the current writing on computer systems dense and obscure. I think anyone who buys, sells, manages, or uses IT or invests in companies that do will find the book invigorating and useful. I hope youll agree.
- Nicholas G. CarrSee all Product description
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InfoSec is also heading this way. You'd think we would have learned by now, but this has been happening since the dawn of industrial inventions.
All the following were previously high margin, high value industries:
Railroads, telephony, modems, mobile phones, compute infrastructure, application development.
I was a former vendor escalation engineer who saw the value in "expertise" and knowledge. The reality for us is that the bean counters don't really see it that way and this books explains why. I don't like the analysis that is portrayed here, but I recognise the truth (at least from my experience) when I see it.
I used this book in my M.Sc for Risk Management - if you like being prepared for where the IT industry is going, this is quite a hard hitting book, but provides some measure of hope in how to handle that "devaluation risk" for IT bods.
What I found in this little book is a judicious mix of a number of differing insights from many areas of business and economics which purport to show that the establishment of a novel infrastructure does not necessarily mean that there is an increasing level of productivity arising from it.
I find the argument more than convincing. Indeed, for me it is not the productivity gains which result from the development of the technology, it's introduction or even it's widespread take up which elevates it to the status of infrastructure which even matters. It is the knowledge of how that infrastructure can be utilised which is the crucial element of productivity gains.
What needs to be considered is not the general traffic which uses the infrastructure, after all, if one contempltes this for any period of time, then surely it must be realised that those gains are only there initially. As traffic continues to increase using the new as opposed to the antiquated technology, productivity gains must be subject to diminishing returns up until such a point where congestion becomes a problem.
Productivity can be enhanced through peripheral technological improvements which can stave off congestion and the increased costs associated with it.
Thus it is with web 2.0. Productivity gains associated with the convergence of the existing technologies have essentially already been exploited and the enterprise economy must be looking for further innovation.
What I have learned from this book is that we need to identify and encourage those with new ideas on applicationsand innovations. Currently, when the financial crisis is forcing us all to buckle down and tighten our belts, we must continue to look up and instead of using the command and control structures which are the easiest route to take but the hardest route to the delivery of sustained results, we should also provide a nuturing environment for those in organisations who dare to think the unthinkable and challenge the conventional wisdom.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend to anyone working within the IT service environment.