Few companies earned a good return on the IT investments they made in the 1990s, argued Ray Lane, general partner at venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Only a handful of companies such as FedEx, McKesson, Merrill Lynch, and Sabre Holdings are exemplars of profitable tech investments. And those examples pre-date the '90s tech boom. "Those are precious few for the work that's gone in," said Lane, who previously was president and chief operating officer at Oracle, where he spent eight years. "Who's our IT bell cow today?" he asked.
Innovation, of course, isn't a one-size-fits-all package. While it comes from the many "next big things" that our industry has consumed, it also comes in increments that help improve productivity, increase efficiency, drive new revenue, and make customers happier. But one thing is certain: Innovation can't stop just because business is slow or the economy is weak.
"The metabolism of business is speeding up--you need to keep innovating," said Don Tapscott, author of The Naked Corporation, who spoke about "business webs" that engender IT-enabled relationships, IT-embedded products, increased intelligence, and strategic controls, among other attributes.
5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.