Thursday, October 14, 2004

My thoughts on Nicholas Carr's proposition of how "IT Doesn't Matter"

I want to write today about the information technology industry as a whole, and not just restrict myself to the BI/EA world. Nicholas Carr recently wrote a ground-breaking article about how "IT Doesn't Matter" ( in which he provokes the thought that IT has evolved into a kind of ubiquitous industry that does not provide competitive advantage anymore. One of the main things that made me to think about information systems in a different way as far as strategic implications are concerned is the concept proposed by Carr that IT systems have evolved to have a ubiquitous presence in today's businesses. This concept merits some thought, since I agree with him to the extent of saying that the IT systems are so readily available and easily implemented that IT by itself cannot be a source of competitive advantage. Up until the late 90's companies implementing IT systems automatically enjoyed a leadership position in the market. However, in today's rapidly evolving business world, the mere presence of IT systems have diminished in providing a source of competitive advantage. While I agree, though a bit more reservedly, with that facet of Carr's thought, I disagree with him on his statements that IT has evolved into an industry synonymous with the utility companies of the early 20th century. I think that though technology by itself will not provide competitive advantage in the future, the implementation methodology and strategy behind the technology will definitely have strong strategic influence for companies. This is in stark contrast to the utility companies that Carr describes. Systems, like business intelligence that provide insights inside the gut of a business to reveal fundamental aspects of the working of a business (kind of like an X-Ray of the business) will be a source of completive advantage as long as careful thought is given to the measures, dimensions, scope and breadth of definition of the project.

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