Does It (Information Technology) Matter? A Look At How It Helps Businesses.

1463 words - 6 pages

Essay - Does IT Matter?In this day and age, it definitely can be said that IT is everywhere and integrated with everything that we use. IT has also enriched our lives in terms of how easily information is readily accessible; using this information enables us to make better-informed choices. In this essay, we are going to examine an article written by Nicholas G. Carr. A summary of Carr's main points will be written, followed by my opinion in relation to Carr's arguments. This essay will end by talking about how Carr's theories will affect the IT environment, which I will be working in in the future.Carr's main argument is that IT has become an invisible commodity in a company, a necessary addition to a business but one that does not provide any competitive advantage, therefore companies should try to minimize IT implementation. He reaches his conclusion based on a number of facts, which are "Vanishing Advantage", "Commoditization of IT" and risk mitigation (Carr 2003). Recently, companies have embraced the power of IT, and therefore have integrated IT into its strategies, processes and business models. Carr does not see this as a good move, as he claims "what makes a resource truly strategic - what gives it the capacity to be the basis for a sustained competitive advantage - is not ubiquity but scarcity" (Carr 2003). Scarcity, in this context refers to proprietary technologies, and the widely accepted Internet standards have seen the companies change in favor of generic applications. Due to efficient distribution channels and low costs technologies, Carr argues that IT does not give a company an advantage, as everyone would have access to the benefits derived from such generic applications.Carr also compares between the developments of transport infrastructure (railroad systems and telegraphs) to the buildout of IT technology, stating that when everyone recognizes the benefits of such generic applications, huge investments would enable IT technology buildout "to proceed with extreme speed" (Carr 2003) and thus enable it to be widely accessible. Due to this phenomenon, like electricity and transport systems (deemed as infrastructure technology), IT is being considered a commodity in every business and a cost of doing business, therefore is 'invisible'. According to Carr, risks are also inherent in the IT-integrated businesses, and highlights the fact that only a few companies have performed a thorough risk analysis of their IT systems. New technological capabilities, coupled with the promise that 'newer is better', entice companies to overspend on their IT. Instead of getting more for their money, companies are introducing inefficiencies such as not maximizing the full potential of computing power, and storage wastage. Carr introduces 'defense techniques' such as delaying IT investments, IT buyer bargaining power and proper managing of costs and risks to minimize such inefficiencies and not be enticed into 'newer is better'. Carr also supports...

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