Thursday, May 06, 2004

The New York Times > Business > Economic Scene: How Much Does Information Technology Matter?

The New York Times > Business > Economic Scene: How Much Does Information Technology Matter? ... "Mr. Carr has replied to his critics with a new book, "Does IT Matter?" (Harvard Business School Press).
It's a good book. Mr. Carr lays out the simple truths of the economics of information technology in a lucid way, with cogent examples and clear analysis.
His basic point is straightforward. At one time, information technology was so expensive and so difficult to manage that companies could make large amounts of money simply by being able to make systems work. (Think I.B.M.)
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Asking whether information technology matters is like asking whether electricity matters. In one sense it certainly does - without electricity, commerce would grind to a halt. But skill in the management of electricity isn't particularly useful to most companies, since electricity is now so cheap and so commonplace that it can't really be a source of competitive advantage to anyone.
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In my view, companies cannot afford to ignore information technology, or relegate it to the back burner. Commoditizing it does not necessarily mean innovation slows. If anything, it could accelerate as more and more innovators experiment and tinker with those cheap, ubiquitous information technology commodities."
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