Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Does i-Technology Matter?

"i-Technology" Does Matter. It Matters in Ways that "IT" Could Only Ever Dream Of...

When Nicholas Carr posed the question "Does IT Matter?" in his now-famous Harvard Business Review essay, he clearly knew that it would provoke discussion. He probably didn't know, on the other hand, that it would eventually cause the world's richest man - whose wealth is derived 100% from IT - to call the essay, during a dinner party at his home, "the dumbest thing I've ever read."

 When extended by Nick Carr and published in book form, the essay was subtitled: "Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage." Carr's thesis, simply put, was that since business profits are based on your ability to differentiate yourself, you can only gain an advantage over your competitors by having or doing something that they can't have or do; thus, as IT becomes more and more a commodity, its ability to help your business differentiate itself will decrease

As Leo Lim has expressed it: "IT is merely a cost of doing business, cut in the same cloth as other innovations that once held a lot of promise like electricity and the railway system. Though no company can ever hope to operate much less compete without the above, its homogeneity and prevalence has somehow blunted its value."

So why would anyone, as I am doing here, go out of their way to ask the same exact question of Internet technologies (i-Technology for short)? Won't i-Technology just follow the same trajectory as its pre-Web predecessor, and end up "not mattering"?

My contention is that it won't.

To back this up, I want to point to the game-changing nature of the Internet as opposed to (merely) the silicon chip. No matter how much Carr might like to suggest that in some way the window of innovation for IT has closed, my counter-argument would be that with the advent of the myriad technologies that the Internet has spawned, the window has blown wide open again. It was blustered ajar by the existence of Web 1.0, and now it's in the process of being blown wide open by the arrival of Web 2.0.

Be in no doubt: i-Technology Does Matter. It matters in ways that IT could only ever dream of. It touches us hourly, daily, weekly. And it touched us in our home lives, at school or in hospitals, as well as in our business lives. In the western industrialized world, at least, i-Technology has altered our entire way of being…and, unlike IT, it is only just getting started.

One tried and true metric of the importance that society attaches to any activity has, throughout the centuries, been vocabulary growth. Just as farming terms multiplied rapidly through the 19th century, the 21st century has so far been characterized by hugely innovative additions to the dictionary, reflecting very real innovations in the real world, including both "blogging" (with its variants like "vlogging" and sub-words like "blogroll" and "blogdropping," and "podcasting" - not to mention the family of words that podcasting too has spawned, such as "podvertising," "nanocasting," "podsafe" and - doubtless soon, alas - "podspamming"). That is before you even begin on acronyms, from the early acronyms like HTML, HTTP, and TCP/IP to more recent ones like DHTML, DOM, and AJAX.

But terminology, even an abundance of it, is what economists would call, at best, a "soft indicator." So next month in this space I will turn from words to numbers and make my argument in terms of solid economic metrics. i-Technology professionals everywhere, stay tuned!

 When extended by Nick Carr and published in book form, the essay was subtitled: "Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage." Carr's thesis, simply put, was that since business profits are based on your ability to differentiate yourself, you can only gain an advantage over your competitors by having or doing something that they can't have or do; thus, as IT becomes more and more a commodity, its ability to help your business differentiate itself will decrease

As Leo Lim has expressed it: "IT is merely a cost of doing business, cut in the same cloth as other innovations that once held a lot of promise like electricity and the railway system. Though no company can ever hope to operate much less compete without the above, its homogeneity and prevalence has somehow blunted its value."

So why would anyone, as I am doing here, go out of their way to ask the same exact question of Internet technologies (i-Technology for short)? Won't i-Technology just follow the same trajectory as its pre-Web predecessor, and end up "not mattering"?

My contention is that it won't.

To back this up, I want to point to the game-changing nature of the Internet as opposed to (merely) the silicon chip. No matter how much Carr might like to suggest that in some way the window of innovation for IT has closed, my counter-argument would be that with the advent of the myriad technologies that the Internet has spawned, the window has blown wide open again. It was blustered ajar by the existence of Web 1.0, and now it's in the process of being blown wide open by the arrival of Web 2.0.

Be in no doubt: i-Technology Does Matter. It matters in ways that IT could only ever dream of. It touches us hourly, daily, weekly. And it touched us in our home lives, at school or in hospitals, as well as in our business lives. In the western industrialized world, at least, i-Technology has altered our entire way of being…and, unlike IT, it is only just getting started.

One tried and true metric of the importance that society attaches to any activity has, throughout the centuries, been vocabulary growth. Just as farming terms multiplied rapidly through the 19th century, the 21st century has so far been characterized by hugely innovative additions to the dictionary, reflecting very real innovations in the real world, including both "blogging" (with its variants like "vlogging" and sub-words like "blogroll" and "blogdropping," and "podcasting" - not to mention the family of words that podcasting too has spawned, such as "podvertising," "nanocasting," "podsafe" and - doubtless soon, alas - "podspamming"). That is before you even begin on acronyms, from the early acronyms like HTML, HTTP, and TCP/IP to more recent ones like DHTML, DOM, and AJAX.

But terminology, even an abundance of it, is what economists would call, at best, a "soft indicator." So next month in this space I will turn from words to numbers and make my argument in terms of solid economic metrics. i-Technology professionals everywhere, stay tuned!

 When extended by Nick Carr and published in book form, the essay was subtitled: "Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage." Carr's thesis, simply put, was that since business profits are based on your ability to differentiate yourself, you can only gain an advantage over your competitors by having or doing something that they can't have or do; thus, as IT becomes more and more a commodity, its ability to help your business differentiate itself will decrease

As Leo Lim has expressed it: "IT is merely a cost of doing business, cut in the same cloth as other innovations that once held a lot of promise like electricity and the railway system. Though no company can ever hope to operate much less compete without the above, its homogeneity and prevalence has somehow blunted its value."

So why would anyone, as I am doing here, go out of their way to ask the same exact question of Internet technologies (i-Technology for short)? Won't i-Technology just follow the same trajectory as its pre-Web predecessor, and end up "not mattering"?


More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (4) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Larry Towers 04/16/06 10:04:39 PM EDT

Actually you and Carr are both wrong. Of course IT matters, just like energy matters, like research matters, like people matter. However it matters only a resource that can be used well or badly. The days when having IT mean more than this are disappearing, which in a way is a benchmark of its entrenchment. IT just IS now.

Dion Hinchcliffe 04/07/06 03:51:03 PM EDT

I agree with your premise Jeremy. The inversion of control caused by Web 2.0 technologies is indeed a big game changer, although one could argue that it will ultimately dismantle the traditional organization. However, I think it will cause the identity of traditional organizations to actually merge over time with the people that make them up, blurring their identities.

It will probably be a good thing for the most part as corporate America erodes and business people become just people. It'll be interesting to watch and is part of of a trend that we now call "Social Computing":

http://web2.wsj2.com/the_webpowered_control_shift_social_computing.htm

Best,

Dion

bloodredsun 04/07/06 01:32:16 PM EDT

|| Carr's thesis, simply put, was that since
|| business profits are based on your ability
|| to differentiate yourself, you can only
|| gain an advantage over your competitors by
|| having or doing something that they can't
| have or do; thus, as IT becomes more and
|| more a commodity, its ability to help your
|| business differentiate itself will decrease.

By making IT a commodity, it can be offshored or outsourced easily. When it's a specialty, that becomes difficult to impossible.

One of the things that always troubles me with the Outsourcing debate is how it regards IT and software development as an entity in itself, rather than one that must deal with others. By this I mean both dealing with the business you are in and also the other departments in your company.

Counter-Indicator 04/07/06 01:08:25 PM EDT

> Won't i-Technology just follow the same
> trajectory as its pre-Web predecessor, and
> end up "not mattering"? My contention is
> that it won't.

Carr's essay was about how we should interpret the role of IT in organizations and built a case for a more defensive IT spending. Sounds like you're arguing for just the opposite: I await Part Two with interest.

@ThingsExpo Stories
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, will discuss how by using...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japanese Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ruby Development Inc. builds new services in short period of time and provides a continuous support of those services based on Ruby on Rails. For more information, please visit https://github.com/RubyDevInc.
As businesses evolve, they need technology that is simple to help them succeed today and flexible enough to help them build for tomorrow. Chrome is fit for the workplace of the future — providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will take a look at various options as to how ChromeOS can be leveraged to interact with people on the devices, and formats th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...
Organizations do not need a Big Data strategy; they need a business strategy that incorporates Big Data. Most organizations lack a road map for using Big Data to optimize key business processes, deliver a differentiated customer experience, or uncover new business opportunities. They do not understand what’s possible with respect to integrating Big Data into the business model.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they b...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale is the leading provider of Software-Defined Servers that bring flexibility to modern data centers by right-sizing servers on the fly to fit any data set or workload. TidalScale’s award-winning inverse hypervisor technology combines multiple commodity servers (including their ass...
Amazon is pursuing new markets and disrupting industries at an incredible pace. Almost every industry seems to be in its crosshairs. Companies and industries that once thought they were safe are now worried about being “Amazoned.”. The new watch word should be “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” In his session 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Kocher, a co-founder of Grey Heron, will address questions such as: What new areas is Amazon disrupting? How are they doing this? Where are they likely to go? What are th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...