Keeping IT creative - the great debate

Australian IT managers have joined the great debate about whether IT provides a competitive advantage to organizations or has simply become a commodity.

HPA national manager of information services Mario Veronesse rejected claims by the former editor of the Harvard Business Review Nicholas Carr that product interoperability and standards has made it easy for businesses to quickly replicate systems implemented by rivals removing any strategic advantage.

Veronesse said there's no doubt technology can definitely give an organization a competitive advantage.

"Technology these days gives organizations a platform to generate a competitive advantage; when it comes to gaining this advantage it really depends on how you glue the bits of technology together," he said.

However, Veronese admits it is much easier now for organizations to copy the systems of rivals than it was five years ago.

"A lot of core underlying structures are readily available, but again it just comes down to how organizations glue those pieces together," Veronese said.

"I think there's now more of a focus on creativity, especially in our game. A lot of stuff we need can be bought in packages, so it's up to us to create the junctions between different elements.

"We now have the opportunity to be more creative in terms of functionality."

Veronese is upbeat about Australia's IT industry and its future.

"IT capabilities have become so accepted now it's almost like a sneak attack, you take it for granted and I think that's the beauty of what's happening in IT at the moment," Veronese said.

The Pickles Group technical development manager Ian Hudson also rejected Carr's argument, pointing out that effective IT "puts you ahead of the game and keeps you on top".

Hudson said there is still plenty of room for creativity in IT, but there is still work to do to ensure it remains a priority with senior executives.

"I don't think there's less focus on being creative with IT, but it's got a long way to go before IT is seen as a strength in an organization," he said.

- with Mark Ferranti

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