Businesses pump $2 trillion
annually into information technology to pursue competitive
advantage and spur productivity. But extracting strategic
value and productivity gains from IT has become increasingly
challenging. Like other widely adopted technologies, IT no
longer affords a competitive edge. Moreover, despite the coincidence
of increased productivity and IT spending in the 1990s, IT
didn't directly fuel that productivity. Instead, it enabled
companies to answer stiffening competition with new products
and more efficient business processes.
The spread of these innovations spurred productivity.
But IT can still generate strategic value and productivity today
if you apply three practices:
1) Manage IT's risks: Buy only what your company
needs. Delay IT investments to avoid getting soon-to-be-obsolete
2) Integrate IT with your company's other functions
in ways that rivals can't imitate.
3) Understand IT's role in productivity. Concentrate
IT investments on levers that most impact productivity in your company.
The three Harvard Business Review articles in this collection: "IT
Doesn't Matter" by Nicholas G. Carr (HBR reprint R0305B), "Strategy
and the Internet" by Michael E. Porter (HBR reprint R0103D),
and "The Real New Economy" by Diana Farrell (HBR reprint
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