July 19, 2005

IT Does Matter - It's Just Been Reinvented

Recently I've realized that the strategic value of Information Technology (IT) in any industry or endeavor doesn't simply evaporate. When I read books and articles which position that IT Doesn't Matter, my response is - look closer! IT is still there, it's just that it's been reinvented. Reinvented into the very fabric of how businesses do business.

In order to explains this I need to take you back to the beginning....

I've been fortunate to been a part of the Information Technology Industry since 1983/84. Back in 1984 I worked for the most consistently profitable timesharing business (today its known as Outsourcing). I literally bumped into the first IBM Personal Computers at client offices.

My first exposure to those PC's (I'm not talking about Commodore 64's either!) changed my life. At the time I worked for a guy who thought PC's were a fad like CB Radios. To me PC's would transform the way people work. In fact I immediately bet the farm and went to work with PC's. It continues to be a great ride.

Compelled by Moore's Law, we evolved towards faster, efficient platforms that enabled scalable application architectures, communication devices and the Internet we enjoy today, some 20+ year later. My career mirrored this evolution. Out of the last 10 years I've been an entrepreneur and also logged 5 years at Microsoft.

Recently I've consulted to a number of non-tech companies across many industry segments. This experience made me see something I didn't see before. It's like getting hit in the head. The "ah ha" is the degree to which IT is entrenched in everything companies do. It's part of how we make decisions with information. It's also in the channels we use to deliver products/services and generate leads. Even more startling is how educated and self sufficient organizations have become with IT.

In my opinion organizations aren't buying off the shelf solutions any more. They now have effective tools to build them on their own. This is why people who say IT Doesn't Matter have "lost the forest for the trees". You have to look close but IT is there and even more relevant than before.

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