Happy birthday, “IT doesn’t matter”

Yep, today marks the fifth anniversary of the publication of my article “IT Doesn’t Matter” in the Harvard Business Review. I thought I should mark the momentous occasion, even though I’m as sick of the whole thing as everyone else is at this point.

Still, “IT doesn’t matter” has taken on a happy life of its own, largely independent of the original text. I saw today some IT columnist terming the article a “screed.” I don’t know about that. I don’t have anything against screeds, but t doesn’t seem all that screedy to me. Anyway, read it yourself and make up your own mind

7 thoughts on “Happy birthday, “IT doesn’t matter”

  1. Kingsley Joseph

    congratulations Nick. I read it about 3 years ago, and shortly after listened to Marc’s keynote from Dreamforce. Its what convinced me to take up my current role at salesforce.com.

  2. Andrew Biss

    Well done Nick. I well remember the invective against your article, and the follow-up book, from the enterprise IT world. It was not just that many in IT disagreed with your position; they hated it! They could see what it would mean for the future of corporate IT if you were right. The negative reaction from enterprise IT just proved, of course, how right your basic premise was! Roll on cloud computing…

  3. Jon Collins

    Hehe – reminds me of when a musician told me that having a hit was like a flash gun going off, one gets fixed in time and it colours everything that comes afterwards. Still, would he rather not have had the hit?

    I’m not too upset to say that I didn’t agree with the premise, but I did agree with the sentiment behind it. Good luck with the opportunities that the next five years holds.

    Meanwhile, @andrewbiss, fascinating that you follow your expression of agreement with advocacy of what could be perceived as yet another bandwagon. Care to elaborate?

  4. Andrew Biss

    @Jon Collins

    In my view enterprise IT has become too complicated. Most companies cannot justify the time and money they spend on it. The same problem faces ISVs building business solutions for vertical niches. They have to spend their limited budget to build and maintain infrastructure; reimplementing what should be standard platform features.

    Today’s competitive market does not allow companies the luxury of doing this any more. Everyone needs to focus on what makes then unique and can help to meet the real needs of their customers. All the rest should be a common service companies would never think of building or running themselves.

    I am convinced external utility providers will replace today’s enterprise IT model of companies installing and running on-premise hardware. It will not happen overnight, of course, but I think that is the direction IT is going.

    This means a big change for us in IT, a change that not everyone wants to recognise or prepare themselves for. Nicks’ article was for many people the catalyst that got this discussion started.

    Cloud computing is the buzzword that we are using to talk about this way of providing IT services. No doubt we will call it something else in the future. Who knows, perhaps we will eventually call it Enterprise IT…

  5. Eric Santai

    I just want to congratulate you on!

    As my blog post above states(click my name). In many courses in my undergraduate degree and a fair lot in my postgraduate degree they have mentioned your article. When I did IT strategy in my undergraduate degree it was compulsory reading!

    As you mention in our newest post I also believe that cloud’s are the next thing. Smaller companies do not want to and can not afford setting up such environments. And we want to outsource things of the organization that is outside our core business anyway?

    Engineyard.com is a good example of a company that has a bright future in my opinion. Smaller companies can deploy their ruby on rails apps there without any hassle. As they grow the will juts by more slices.

    It will be interesting how long this will go in the future.

    And again. Thank you for your writing!

  6. Simon Wardley

    Congratulations Nick.

    I remember when the article and book came out and you became the poster child for things people didn’t want to hear.

    Both you and Paul Strassmann have done a grand job of putting the whole issue of commoditisation and worth in IT onto the map.

Comments are closed.