Stories by Thomas H. Davenport

The Other Digital Divide

The world is up in arms about the digital divide, the gap between what the rich and poor can do with information technology. It's an important issue, but as an affluent CIO reader, you are undoubtedly on the fortunate side of that fissure. However, there is another digital divide that may be more immediately relevant to IT managers and professionals.

The Winner's Circle

Clearly, one of the diseases of the Internet Age is hubris. Symptoms involve "Cashing out quick before the investors understand what's going on here."

Davenport On... Y2 Que Sera, Sera

By now we are all a bit tired of millennial predictions about the future. So far, the 21st century feels remarkably like the 20th, beginning with the rather widespread survival of computers through the Y2K changeover. I've got a sneaking suspicion that it will continue to do so. In fact, I've decided to devote this entire column to bold predictions about what won't change.

Davenport on... Nets Upon Nets

I am normally a little suspicious whenever I hear someone say that a technology is leading to new forms of social or corporate organization. After all, we've been hearing about the IT-enabled decline of hierarchy for a couple of decades yet I still find thicker carpeting in some parts of the headquarters building. The simplistic logic of "The decline of centralized IT leads to the decline of centralized power and control" never seemed very compelling, and there are many counter-examples. Certainly technology can change organizational cultures and structures, but it generally requires a long time-period and the alignment of several other factors.

Davenport On... Long Live ERP

AS I HOPE YOU HAVE RECENTLY READ IN CIO, I have just written a book -- Realizing the Promise of Enterprise Systems (Harvard Business School Press, Feb. 2000) --on how organizations can use and get value from enterprise resource planning, or ERP, systems. In the course of publicizing this tome, I've come across what seems to me a bizarre, if somewhat implicitly articulated, idea: We don't need big enterprise systems anymore, because we've got the internet now.

ERP: Still Alive in the Internet Age

Over the past decade, two major innovations have transformed the way companies build and operate information systems: the Internet and its associated e-commerce technologies, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. With all the attention being paid to e-commerce, some may feel that ERP is RIP. However, ERP is as necessary as it ever was and simply needs to evolve to thrive in the Internet age.

Book Excerpt: Mission Critical

Earthgrains is a $1.9 billion bakery products company that was formerly a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch. Since its spin-off from the beer giant in March 1996, Earthgrains has been a publicly traded company whose stock has appreciated more than 200 percent. Its core businesses are organized in two divisions-bakery products and refrigerated dough.

Davenport on... Sticky Business

The idea of "stickiness" is one of the most important ideas in electronic commerce-and business in general. In e-commerce, it's a measure of how much attention a website receives over time. In the information technology world, it's the first indication that we are focusing not just on information distribution but on usage as well. It shows we realize that if someone is going to be affected by information, they've got to devote some time and attention to it. In the web world, stickiness is currently measured because of its impact on the viewing of internet advertising. But the concept has much broader application. In fact, anyone with any information on the web today should be thinking about stickiness. If it isn't sticky, your website and the strategy behind it are almost certainly failures.

Think Tank

When I was 5 years old, I remember speculating on what life would be like in 2000, when I'd be middle-aged and my life half over. I'd gaze at the moon and imagine I'd be living on it by then. I also anticipated I'd have a wife and a couple of kids, so I wasn't all wrong.