IT in the Business World

It is depressing to me the lack of imagination that the business world reserves for Information Technology. The assumption made by all MBAs is that information technology is a non-value-add activity where costs simply need to be minimized in order to provide the shareholders with maximized profits. Software and hardware staff is lumped into the operational team alongside the administrative assistants and janitors with the majority of the IT team’s efforts placed on reporting and automation of existing business process.

In this light, it is clear how once-great companies like Borders, Blockbuster, and Kodak failed in such fantastic fashion. Where is the room for innovation in such a management model? It’s quite simple: there is no room. Time devoted to reporting and automation of existing business process explicitly alleviates IT of the responsibility to innovate and drive business value. It efficiently diffuses this responsibility across the entire corporation such that no one is actually responsible for looking out for market disrupters, much less being one.

For this reason, corporations need a serious change. Companies should constantly be looking for ways to bet on the future and bring about true innovation. Companies that neglect long-term strategy and only think of the next quarter’s bottom line are doomed to fail, and similarly, companies that think that technology will have little to do with how they conduct business in the future are also doomed to fail. The conclusion is simple: think about the role IT will play in how your company will conduct business in 10 to 15 years and start working towards that goal. You may be the next Blockbuster’s Netflix.

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