UPFRONT Carr the IT outcast

IT heretic Nicholas Carr will kick off this year’s NZIM telecast lectures by American management gurus when he’s beamed live to audiences around the country on the 15th of this month.
Carr, former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, argues that information technology is becoming so commoditised that it is simply increasingly just cost of doing business that all companies must pay and consequently provides little in the way of competitive advantage.
His article in HBR and subsequent book entitled IT Doesn’t Matter had CEOs of the wealthiest technologies companies up in arms and waging sustained campaign to debunk Carr’s compelling logic and radical conclusions.
Carr argues that IT’s strategic value has diminished steadily as its presence and power have grown. IT, like rail lines, electric power, and the telephone is simply ubiquitous to doing business. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer dismissed his arguments as “hogwash”.
Unphased by the attacks, Carr calls the IT industry’s defensive rhetoric just that; “rhetoric” and points out that the way big IT companies are acting in the marketplace is accelerating the commoditisation of their products and services. “Commoditisation,” he says, “lies at the very heart of their competitive strategies” and commoditisation is what will turn IT into just another business process.
The US management speaker series is run by NZIM in association with the US Embassy. Contact NZIM in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin to catch the telecast and take part in the debate.

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