In this article, published in the May 2003 edition of the Harvard Business Review, I examine the evolution of information technology in business and show that it follows a pattern strikingly similar to that of earlier technologies like railroads and electric power. For a brief period, as they are being built into the infrastructure of commerce, these “infrastructural technologies,” as I call them, open opportunities for forward-looking companies to gain strong competitive advantages. But as their availability increases and their cost decreases – as they become ubiquitous – they become commodity inputs. From a strategic standpoint, they become invisible; they no longer matter.
Visit author Nicholas Carr’s blog to read his summary of the article IT Doesn’t Matter which he wrote for the Harvard Business Review in 2003. Recent commentary from ZDNet including a podcast discussion of Carr’s position. Add to the discussion about this article at the Whats New Media Wiki.