How to Compete When IT Is Abundant
"You only gain an edge over rivals by having or doing something that they can't have or do," wrote Nicholas Carr ten years ago in his controversial HBR article, "IT Doesn't Matter."
Carr predicted that an organization's ability to compete through investing in information technology was about to change dramatically. When "the core functions of IT — data storage, data processing, and data transport — have become available and affordable to all," he wrote, IT would cease to be a source of competitive advantage.
Aaron closes with the point of IT moving from scarcity to abundance and competitive advantage.
In this transition from a world of IT scarcity to abundance, competitive advantage has little to do with unique access to technology, and everything to do with unique access to — and use of — information. When technology is near-ubiquitous, it's the connection between people and information that drives business forward. Organizations that capitalize on this trend will ensure that as information eats the enterprise, they'll be the ones satiated.
Here is another way to look at. The early days of IT was just getting things to work. The Cloud is showing how to get things to work at scale so you can supply the same service to a lot more people. So, it is no longer a question of whether IT systems work. The question has shifted to how well does IT work for my business?
The old world of IT help the keys to technology. With the cloud users have choice and they'll take their information to where they can get the best service.
IT needs to make a shift to being a business enabler to survive. If IT lives in the old risks averse world users will continue to look for ways to sidestep the corporate policies.
As software eats the world, information is eating the enterprise. Access to the right information at the right time from anywhere will transform every business and every industry. Competitiveness in IT will come from connecting employees and partners in meaningful ways to bring products to market faster (how does a supply chain process shrink from days to minutes?), supporting customers with new experiences (can my thermostat talk to my energy provider?), and surfacing the right people and knowledge to generate better ideas (how do I find experts across my organization that I'm not connected to?).