Does IT really matter?

The publication last week of the book Does IT Matter? caps a year in which Nicholas Carr has become the poster boy for IT cost cutting and the villain IT partisans love to hate. Coinciding with the launch of the book, Carr is the keynote speaker next week at the CIO magazine's Agenda conference in Sydney.(May 25)

Computerworld will speak to Carr about the overwhelming response to his article after it appeared in Harvard Business Review last year.

Before his Australian trip, Carr said what really strikes a chord with IT is the idea that more and more of the hardware and software that companies buy has been commoditized and really provides little opportunity for competitive advantage and isn't particularly strategic.

"I think in the past few years, a lot of companies have embedded that view into the way they approach buying and managing IT resources. The debate seems to focus on whether there is some small slice that is not commoditized," he said.

"There were comments that commoditization applies to hardware but not to software. I don't think that's true. I think we are seeing the commoditization of business software in a broad manner. Another useful question was whether ongoing advances in IT architecture provide a basis for competitive advantage. It's true that we have seen a dramatic evolution in architecture, but I would argue that all the trends are away from proprietary and toward open, shared, standardized architecture, and that erases the ability for companies to gain advantage."

Carr's interview in full will be published in next week's edition of Computerworld.

IT executives from end user organizations wishing to attend the conference may still qualify for free attendance. Details are available at

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