Book notes: Does IT Matter?

I'm going to try something new with my blog; keeping book notes online as I read a book.

I finished Does IT Matter?, and it's was a good read. Strangely enough, I agree with his basic premise: that IT does not provide competitive advantage these days. It has really stimulated my thinking about my career and where I need to take it.

My favorite quote from the book so far (p. 92): The fact that competitive advantage has become more difficult to sustain doesn't make it less important; it makes it more important.

The book also introduced me to the concept of leveragable advantage (ok, it didn't introduce me to it; rather it gave a name to a concept that I describe to many and get some blank stares). This is the notion that one activity or initiative is used as leverage for the next activity, and so on. In other words, each initiative is a stepping stone, and not a destination. This is a key component of my philosophy where there is no such thing as sustainable competitive advantage from a single invention. The only competitive advantage is leverageable advantage.

All-in-all, I agree with the author's analysis of the value of IT in it's lifecycle today. IT has become ubiquitous, and with it carries more risk than competitive advantage. I don't agree with all of his recommendations; at the same time, I don't think that was the purpose of his book.

I will have to go back and read the section on the commoditization of software. In general I agree with Nicholas Carr's assessment; I would like to use his rationale to further drive companies to invest in innovative software technologies.

What I don't necessarily agree with are Carr's recommendations for business managers. While I agree with his conclusions on the state, impact, and future of IT, translating that to action is not Carr's specialty. I will get into this at a later time when I have more time to pontificate =)

No comments: