Monday, August 02, 2004

Does T Matter?

Nicholas Carr's new book, Does IT Matter? is a great exploration into the cost/benefit of new computer and software technology. The book and the earlier Harvard Business Review article have raised a hue and cry from the IT community. The fact that open discussion on this topic is so painful to many IT vendors indicates that they fear that Carr might be onto something.

In this blog we are more interested in the universal "T" (technology) than in the specific "IT". If you read Carr's book with an eye toward its meaning for the CTO, you will see that he clearly believes that technology innovation is a much more powerful and long-term method for competitive advantage than IT. IT can eliminate a lot of friction inside of a company and between the company and its suppliers or customers - like a new engine lubricant in a race car. But, like a new super-lubricant, eventually everyone will adopt it and your company will have to look elsewhere for ways to win the competitive race. That is where you must turn to proprietary technology to create a lasting and defensible competitive advantage.


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