Nicholas Carr was wrong when he said that IT doesn’t matter. Carr wrote about the “Commoditization of IT” and the resulting lack of competitive differentiation since everyone can buy the same hardware and software. But Carr missed the point entirely; IT is not about technology, it’s about data. The data that IT systems contain and how they are connected in seamless processes are unique to every organization and hence a source of competitive advantage. However, the competitive advantage quickly fades if IT is too slow to keep up with the business.
Tony Young addressed this topic in his posting last week Is IT Too Slow? Of the three common responses to this question, I’m of the opinion that we move too slowly and we must change.
Businesses operate at the speed of customer transactions. While each business is different, most externally facing staff think in terms of hours or days to respond to customer needs and competitor actions. While IT production operations are also “real time”, changes to application systems are at the speed of coding and infrastructure changes which typically has time frames of months or years. So how can we close this gap in pace of change?
I touched on this topic last year in my article Integration At The Speed Of Data. The recent InfoWeek article provides a number of examples of companies that have recognized that IT is the bottleneck and how they are taking steps to accelerate change. Fortunately, an effective integration strategy can make all the difference in the world – and Informatica has the secret sauce.
I’m not talking about ONLY technology. Organizational agility requires the right mix of information architecture, loosely coupled systems, standardized processes, and customer-focused delivery teams. When the mix is right, then integration issues are eliminated from the critical path of projects and IT systems are able to change as fast as the business is able to absorb the changes.
The good news is that the answer is not rocket science. It is captured in Lean Integration: An Integration Factory Approach to Business Agility. For more details, check it out at www.integrationfactory.com.
 Nicholas G. Carr, IT Doesn’t Matter, With Letters to the Editor, Harvard Business Review, June 2003
 Chris Murphy, Is IT Too Darn Slow, Information Week, February 26, 2011