Hu Yoshida: IT Does Matter – And the World is not Flat

InsightaaS: In recent months, Nicholas Carr’s famous (infamous?) pronouncement “IT doesn’t matter” has come under scrutiny from several quarters, including one post by CSC’s David Moschella that was highlighted on Across the Net. Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, which also shaped business perceptions a decade ago, has largely avoided similar scrutiny – but in a recent blog post, Hu Yosida, Hitachi CTO and publisher of the prominent Hu’s Blog, examines why both were mistaken in their outlooks on the future.

Unlike many critics, who take it as a matter of faith (often, based on misperceptions regarding Carr’s real theses) that IT does matter, Yoshida digs into the substance of Carr’s analysis of storage, and demonstrates how advances in areas like virtualization, thin provisioning and object storage have resulted in IT becoming “more agile and responsive to the needs of the business.” Turning to Friedman’s thesis, Yoshida notes that “the world may appear to be flat in that everyone has access to information through the Internet and smart phones, but in fact the world has become even more multi-dimensional. There are many more touch points to information and the commercial value of that information depends on how and where it can be accessed, stored, analyzed, and consumed for business value.” Yoshida goes on to observe that “Cloud and Big Data are key enablers for business agility.” while “mobility is the key enabler for business productivity.” In this 3D world, IT matters quite a lot to business success!

Back in 2003, as the IT industry was recovering from the excesses of the dot com boom/bust, the Harvard Business Review’s Editor-At-Large, Nicolas Carr published a paper titled IT doesn’t Matter, in which he claimed that “As information technology’s power and ubiquity has grown, its strategic importance has diminished.”

In 2004, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times published a national best seller entitled The World is Flat, which is a metaphor for viewing the world as a level playing field in terms of commerce where all competitors have an equal opportunity primarily due to the Internet.

In the 10 years since these ideas were published the world of information technology has changed dramatically. The world of commerce is no longer flat and IT is more strategic than ever before for businesses that want to grow and lead their competition. The macro trends that have changed the playing field in the past 10 years have been cloud, mobility, Big Data, and social networking. An even bigger trend ahead will be the Internet of Things that will extend information technology into every aspect of our lives…

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