Editor's Note: A Fresh Start For IT And Its Users - InformationWeek
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3/4/2003
02:07 PM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
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Editor's Note: A Fresh Start For IT And Its Users

In a recent trip to San Francisco, I was remarking to a tech executive that it seemed like the number of "for lease" signs in the office buildings had doubled since the last time I had been there. Even though the flow of venture capital is dismal, he proclaimed that now is the ideal time to start a company.

Think about it. Start fresh--no legacy systems to worry about, no complex integration to manage because of mergers, acquisitions, or a bunch of internal systems that don't communicate with each other, no messy retrofitting or exorbitant spending to meet new regulations, a large talent pool to hire from, and the ability to start with a corporate philosophy that profits actually matter. Oh, yeah, and cheaper office space.

But for "old" companies that have to deal with those kinds of things, it's also a good time to invest in IT for business innovation. Take a look at what the 100-year old VF Corp. is accomplishing ("New Fashion") as part of a large-scale effort to build a common systems architecture. Let me give you the net-net, so to speak. That is: Technology investment can separate the winners from the losers in a highly competitive industry.

Examples like this reinforce our belief that technology continues to drive business innovation. I bring that up because over the past few weeks we've discussed a recent Harvard Business Review story titled "IT Doesn't Matter," a shortsighted article about the significance of an industry that to many of us seems to have boundless innovation. I think it's worth noting that every day we see examples of how technology is being used to improve customer service, to create real-time businesses, and to enable a level of collaboration in supply chains that shrinks the world.

So I guess if you believe IT doesn't matter, you also believe eating chocolate shrinks your clothes.

Stephanie Stahl,
Editor
sstahl@cmp.com


To discuss this column with other readers, please visit Stephanie Stahl's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about Stephanie Stahl, please visit her page on the Listening Post.

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