How quickly time passes. . . It’s already been ten years since the publication of Nicholas Carr’s controversial article IT Doesn’t Matter. The article appeared in the May 2003 issue of the Harvard Business Review, where Carr was then an editor-at-large. CIO Magazine marked the 10th anniversary with an interview with Carr and a retrospective story on the reactions to the article by Ann Bednarz, who wrote:
“The jarring headline of Carr’s May 2003 article, IT Doesn’t Matter, is what many people remember, and it tends to overshadow his more thought-provoking thesis: that companies have overestimated the strategic value of IT, which is becoming ubiquitous and therefore diminishing as a source of competitive differentiation.” His claims that companies were overspending on IT, because the technology was becoming more commoditized and accessible to everyone “ignited an industry firestorm.”
In the interview, Carr said that the reaction to the article went way beyond what he expected. IT vendors were up in arms, because he was essentially telling their customers that the competitive advantage gained by IT investments was shrinking once everyone had access to the same technologies, and that they therefore did not need to be spending much money on the latest hardware and software products. CIOs and IT analysts had a more mixed reaction, with some disagreeing with Carr’s points, while others saying that they made a lot of sense.