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IT Doesn’t Matter-Business Processes Do: A Critical Analysis of Nicholas Carr’s I.T. Article in the Harvard Business Review

You’ve no doubt seen or heard talk of “IT Doesn’t Matter” in the May 2003 issue of Harvard Business Review. It’s one of those rare pieces of Harvard-speak that will be heard around the world, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since HBR published Michael Hammer’s “Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate!” in 1990. As Bob Evans of Information Week reported, “Carr’s unshakeable belief [that IT is now a commodity] leads him to a conclusion that’s no doubt provocative, but also profoundly short sighted and dangerous.”

Has IT has reached the Winter of its life as an enabler of competitive advantage? Or is it Springtime, the season of growth for forward-thinking companies like GE, Dell, Wal-Mart and others determined to dominate their industries in the decade ahead? Read Smith & Fingar’s critical analysis, and you decide.

Smith & Fingar are authors of the landmark book, Business Process Management: The Third Wave. They posit that a new approach to business automation centered on business process management, instead of the data-centric world of the past fifty years that Carr describes, portends the greatest growth opportunity companies have ever seen.

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