|Publisher:||Harvard Business Review Press|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||418 KB|
Table of ContentsPreface
The Great Debate
The Rise of a New Business Infrastructure
The Nature and Evolution of Infrastructural Technologies
An Almost Perfect Commodity
The Fate of Computer Hardware and Software
Information Technology's Changing Role in Business
The Universal Strategy Solvent
The IT Infrastructure's Corrosive Effect on Traditional Advantages
Managing the Money Pit
New Imperatives for IT Investment and Management
A Dream of Wonderful Machines
The Reading, and Misreading, of Technological Change
Notes and Bibliography
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
IT as a CommodityInformation Technology (IT) has transformed itself from a source of competitive advantage to simply being a cost of doing business.Despite the spectacular gains during the past 50 years, says Nicholas G. Carr, a former Harvard Business Review executive editor, IT will distinguish no single competitor. This contradicts many executives' perception that IT ubiquity is an advantage. They miss the point the scarcity, not ubiquity, creates an advantage.IT's core functions - the storage, distribution and processing of data - are available to all. Without differentiation IT is relegated to commodity status. This should force executives to re-think their IT spending plans and their vendor relationships. As this perception gains acceptance, risk and cost control will become more important than investments in innovation. In short, technology is headed down the same path the steam engine, railroad and electricity followed. Only by becoming a shared and standardized resource will IT deliver its maximum social and economic potential.Carr says the greatest risk that IT represents is overspending. While IT is entwined with many business processes and represents a huge portion of any businesses¿ expenses, it must be managed. There are several ways:1. Cut waste. Commoditization permits buyers to negotiate better deals, tie payments to usage and shop among vendors.2. Use Capacity. The overspending in the 1990 left many companies with more capacity than they need. Find ways to use it.3. Place tight controls on IT usage. Carr says 70 percent of what is stored on corporate networks represents employees¿ saved e-mails, MP3s, video clips and spam. Restrict the indiscriminate ability to save files.4. Become more rigorous in systems planning.Carr is a distinguished writer and thinker. His book serves as a wake-up call for anyone interested in competitive advantage. Although executives have grown wary of IT spending, they will have to cope with methods that will prevent the commoditization of IT architecture and applications if they are to save their companies' barriers to entry. Anyone - be he or she a business executive or IT worker - should give this tome a close examination. Its implications will be mighty.
I've been in the IT business for about 20 years now and have got to say that Carr is right on the money! He provides an outstanding comparison of technology directions and what they mean to society by comparing past important technological advances such as the electrical power distribution and services. Did you know that at one time there was a Vice President of Electricity in many companies? How does this bode for the future of IT Executives? IT truly has become more like a commodity and less than a mystery that is was even a short 5-10 years ago. Standardization in protocols, the boom of the home market and the new generation of young adults that grew up with the technology have led to a technology aware society that is not mystified by IT. The book is an easy and pleasurable read! I highly recommend this book to all of us who believe we're cutting-edge IT folks as well as the general population.
For those of us who are 'plugged' into technology at the workplace, this book offers a realist perspective on the true value of I.T on business. Some of the authors view points were, at times, very controversial but nonetheless strikes a chord as to how technology, for better or worse, has changed the face of business forever. A must read for the technology veteran!!