IT As A Competitive Asset (was: How To Keep Water Off the Floor)

I’m struck by the continuing view of IT as a means of just keeping lights running in a business. There are no doubt many fundamentals and a fair share of IT behavior continually renews the sense of ennui that business partners feel when working with IT, but it’s not always that bad.

I was amused by an audience question from Susan Scrupski at my Office 2.0 panel about how often the panelists regarded IT as a barrier to adoption of web 2.0 initiatives. It was nice to get the question out for discussion, as it is too often taken as a given (I joked that I didn’t know what they were talking about). But there are indeed various real barriers in IT to adopting new technologies, and re-orienting thinking towards social software: preferred vendors, security concerns, and traditional thinking about productivity are among them.

But I was even more struck while doing recent research among analysts. I was researching an area that is more on the outward facing side of our business and was shocked to find little clear guidance from a certain firm I love. The analysts at that firm clearly get it – if you read their blogs they get it, and if you talk to them, they get it. So where is the research?

Keeping water off the floor of the data center and such operational concerns are the foundation of good IT and enterprise architecture. But many enterprises are evolving their IT organizations around the products and services they provide, and are blurring lines between core infrastructure and lines of business. IT is getting focus both as an area of cost control, but also an enabler for revenue growth.

Analysts should be mindful about helping companies grow the top line, not just control expense.

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2 Responses to “IT As A Competitive Asset (was: How To Keep Water Off the Floor)”


  1. 1 Susan Scrupski 8 October 2007 at 10:51 am

    You “gotta” love those vanity alerts…! Speaking of gotta, Mike Gotta I know gets this. You’re right about the dearth of research, however. I don’t have a lens into all the research that is available today, but there are some good reasons why this research is not available.

    Adoption is still in the tiny corner of the bell curve of acceptance among the larger enterprises where research analysts are tracking. The research just isn’t available. Where I have seen research, it’s been muddled– small samples, lots of anecdotal evidence, etc.

    Something I’ve been meaning to blog about lately is how we need to start looking at social media and enterprise 2.0 as discretely different memes, although they share common technologies.

  2. 2 scott 9 October 2007 at 7:20 am

    Thanks for your comment, Susan! You’re right that the adoption is small right now in large companies, but I guess I’m trying to point out that this is a back and forth. Certain change agents in large enterprises like to be able to point to research from analysts to help build a case. I’m trying to help them build a case that there is a need for research in this area.


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