'It Doesn't Matter' Summary


Length: 924 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Electricity, the telephone, the steam engine, the telegraph, the railroad and…..IT? In his HBR article, "IT Doesn't Matter," Nicholas Carr has stirred up quite a bit of controversy around IT's role as strategic business differentiator. He examines the evolution of IT and argues that it follows a pattern very similar to that of earlier technologies like railroads and electricity. At the beginning of their evolution, these technologies provided opportunities for competitive advantage. However, as they become more and more available – as they become ubiquitous – they transform into "commodity inputs," and lose their strategic differentiation capabilities. From a strategic viewpoint, they essentially become "invisible."

Carr distinguishes between proprietary technologies and what he calls infrastructural technologies. Proprietary technologies can provide a strategic advantage as long as they remain restricted through "physical limitations, intellectual property rights, high costs or a lack of standards," but once those restrictions are lifted, the strategic advantage is lost. In contrast, infrastructural technologies provide far greater value when shared. Although an infrastructural technology might appear proprietary in the early stages of buildout, eventually the characteristics and economics of infrastructural technology necessitate that they will be broadly shared and will become a part of the broader business infrastructure. To illustrate his point, Carr uses the example of a proprietary railroad. It is possible that a company might gain a competitive advantage by building lines only to their suppliers, but eventually this benefit would be trivial compared to the broader good realized by building a railway network. The same is true for IT - no company today would gain a cost-effective competitive advantage by narrowing its focus and implementing an Internet only between their suppliers to the exclusion of the rest of the world.
To further shore up his "IT as commodity" theory, Carr cites the fact that major technology vendors, such as Microsoft and IBM, are positioning themselves as "IT utilities," companies that control the provision of business applications over "the grid." Couple this IT-as-utility trend with the rapidly decreasing cost of processing power, data storage and transmission, and even the most "cutting-edge IT capabilities quickly become available to all."

Although IT may seem too diverse to be compared to commodities such as electricity and the railroads, Carr points out three specific characteristics that guarantee rapid commoditization: IT is a transport mechanism; IT is highly replicable; and IT is subject to rapid price deflation.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"'It Doesn't Matter' Summary." 123HelpMe.com. 28 May 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=159013>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Role of Names in A Personal Matter Essay - The Role of Names in A Personal Matter Names are an important part of defining one's identity. After all, when someone asks you who you are you tell him your name. Reading A Personal Matter I was struck by the role of names in the story. The main character is known as Bird and this nickname gives Bird an identity that he struggles to overcome throughout his story. He sees himself as being just like a bird. "It wasn't only that his hunched shoulders were like folded wings, his features in general were birdlike....   [tags: A Personal Matter] 460 words
(1.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Dark Matter in the Galaxy - The world we see and are familiar with consists of Normal Matter. Everything made out of atoms is considered Normal Matter. Normal Matter makes up of five percent of all matter. So what makes up the rest of the ninety-five percent. Dark Energy makes up roughly seventy percent of our universe while Dark Matter makes up the last twenty-five percent. What is Dark Matter. Dark Matter is the only explanation we have for why our universe expands in the way it does, but we have no idea what makes it up....   [tags: Matter, Atoms, Galaxy]
:: 8 Works Cited
1814 words
(5.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Bylaw Enforcement Officer Job Summary Essay - JOB SUMMARY: Working in the Bylaw Services Division, the incumbent assists the Bylaw Enforcement Officers in a limited scope during the summer season. Responsibilities include: responding to burning and water / sprinkling complaints, collecting unpaid business licenses, completing inspections for businesses that operate without a business license, and collecting unpaid dog licenses. The work is differentiated from that of a Bylaw Officer by the more routine nature of complaints and infractions that are assigned....   [tags: Job Summary] 644 words
(1.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Why Do Labor Unions Matter? Essay - Introduction The labor union movement over the years has shaped the way individuals work and live for both the nicest and unpleasant. Some would think the unions influence has created a power struggle between management and union leaders. In today’s time, some citizens insist the existence of unions are a must to aid in employee freedom, while others view the labor unions as just another problem in the line of progress. The purpose of labor unions was for employed workers to come together and collectively agree on fundamental workplace objectives....   [tags: Why Unions Matter]
:: 7 Works Cited
1610 words
(4.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
A Summary of Othello Essay - ... The conversations that took place while they were waiting seemed to give insight into the feelings that most people had of Othello. He was well-liked among his men and they were worried that he had not survived. Desdemona and Iago’s ship arrived first and then Othello’s finally arrived, much to everyone’s relief. Iago noticed a small spark and suspected that Cassio might be in love with Desdemona. Iago decided to tell Rodrigo that he still has a change with Desdemona but that he needs to get Cassio out of the picture....   [tags: Othello Summary Essays] 1532 words
(4.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Sinner is the Saint in The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene - Sinner is the Saint in The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene The conflicts surrounding moral responsibility are outlined in Graham Greene's 1948 novel, The Heart of the Matter. The story outlines the plight of a man of principle who is unable to fulfill his responsibilities to himself, his wife, and God. Scobie, an upright assistant commissioner for the police, has little promise of improvement facing life with a small income, few friends, and a malcontent wife. As he becomes further trapped in his situation, he must choose between upholding religious and moral values or following his heart....   [tags: Greene Heart Matter Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1083 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Go Ask Alice Summary Essay - Go Ask Alice Summary An unnamed fifteen-year-old diarist, whom the novel's title refers to as Alice, starts a diary. With a sensitive, observant style, she records her adolescent agony: she worries about what her crush Roger thinks of her; she despises her weight gain; she fears her budding sexuality; she is uncomfortable at school; she has difficulty relating to her parents. Alice's father, a college professor, accepts a teaching position at a different college and the family will move at the start of the new year, which cheers Alice up....   [tags: Summary Ask Alice Book Review] 1248 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
lab on matter Essay examples - I. Introduction A. Purpose: the purpose of this experiment was to determine if the distance between matter effects the time it takes for the matter to reach thermal equilibrium. B. Hypothesis: If the distance between the matter is decreased then the time it takes for the matter to reach thermal equilibrium will decrease. C. Science concepts: Temperature- measure of the motion of molecules Thermal equilibrium- when two pieces of matter are the same temperature Kinetic energy- energy of motion Heat- energy that flows from matter of a higher temperature to matter of a lower temperature In the experiment the time it took for matter to reach thermal equilibrium was measured....   [tags: essays research papers] 504 words
(1.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Book Summary Essay - Addy is a nine year old girl who lives with her Momma, Pappa, Sam her 15 year old brother and her one year old sister Ester. Addy and her family are slaves who work for Master Stevens. One night on a summer night sleep Addy heard her parents talking about running away. Pappa wanted Addy to be free. He is sick and tired of seeing his children work so hard. They were talking about how they have to take a chance. Pappa did not want to wait till the war was over. He wanted to be free, and to be able to run free and feel freedom....   [tags: Book Review Summary] 1523 words
(4.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Dark Matter - Dark Matter For centuries, physicists and philosophers alike have wondered what makes up our universe. Aristotle thought that all matter came in one of four forms: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Since then we have come a long way, with the discovery of the atoms and the subatomic particles they are made of. We can even guess at what makes up protons and neutrons. We have since then discovered and predicted the existence of particles other than the atom, such as the photon, neutrino, axion, and many others....   [tags: physics science space] 2643 words
(7.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]





First, IT is a "transport mechanism" that carries digital information much the same way that railroads carry goods and power grids transport electricity. And just like these commodities, IT is "far more valuable when shared than when used in isolation." Secondly, IT is highly replicable. With the economic efficiency of off-the-shelf software and the generic business processes that are inherently available within them, the costs savings and interoperability benefits make the sacrifices of "distinctiveness" unavoidable. And, finally, IT is "subject to rapid price deflation." As the cost of processing power, data storage and data transmission has declined, so has one of the most important barriers to commoditization – cost. Again, as cost declines, availability increases, which fuels the case for the commoditization of IT.

Although Carr does agree that a myriad of companies, such as American Airlines and Federal Express, have gained important strategic advantage through IT, he also points out that these sorts of opportunities are dwindling quickly. He also postulates that as for "IT spurred industry transformations, most of the ones that are going to happen have likely already happened or are in the process of happening." Although industry and markets will continue to evolve and some will still undergo fundamental changes, Carr suggests that the buildout of IT is "much closer to its end than its beginning." To support his position, Carr states that: IT's power is outstripping most of the business needs it fulfills; the price of essential IT functionality has dropped to the point that anyone can afford it; the capacity of the delivery mechanism, the Internet, has caught up with demand; IT companies are positioning themselves as commodity suppliers and even utilities; and finally, the investment bubble has burst, which is historically a "clear indication that an infrastructural technology is reaching the end of its buildout."

So, if Carr is correct, what can an IT manager do? Carr suggests that companies need to shift their thinking around IT and focus on the "new rules for IT management," which are:

• Spend less. It is becoming harder to leverage IT as a competitive advantage, but is getting easier to put business at a cost disadvantage; therefore, as the commoditization of IT continues, the "penalties for wasteful spending will only grow larger."

• Follow, don't lead: As IT capabilities become more homogenized, follow Moore's Law which guarantees that the longer you wait to purchase IT, the more you'll get for your IT dollar and less risk you'll experience; and

• Focus on vulnerabilities, not opportunities. Once again comparing IT to electricity, Carr points out that no one builds their business strategy around electricity, but it can be devastating if there is a lapse in service. The same holds true for IT – any disruption can be devastating to a business, paralyzing it in ways that could not have been foreseen 50 years ago. Therefore, it's critical to minimize risk.

If Carr is correct, and IT is becoming our newest commodity, then it is critical for business leaders to shift their thinking quickly. It is no longer prudent to view IT as a strategic differentiator, but to view it as just another mission critical, albeit somewhat boring, foundational cost of doing business.


Return to 123HelpMe.com