Why IT still matters even after all these years?

The revolution of information technology led us to a new age we call the modern era, where none of our days pass without even saying “Hey Google or Alexa!!” at least once. In this modern era, any article named “IT Doesn’t Matter” surely makes a big debate.

Nicholas Carr published this Harvard Business Review article in the same year as “My Space” came out. Nicholas Carr even mentioned that “no one would dispute that information technology has become the backbone of commerce and hardly a dollar or a euro changes hands anymore without the aid of computer systems” (Carr, Pg. 41, 2003) in this controversial article. In early 2000, when most of the companies were investing heavily and making information technology their key strategical move, this article made a significant impact on some of the CEO’s investments in IT. According to Carr in his article, due to the universal availability of IT, it can no longer be a competitive advantage for corporations. But also, some of his statements actually favor the importance of IT as he compares IT with the invention of electricity and an essential part of every business (Carr, 2003). These points alone debunk Carr’s title that IT Doesn’t Matter. IT’s strength and existence have widened and made it to the roots of most industries in this dean age. Companies view IT as one of the most critical resources to their success. (Carr, 2003). IT revolution came a long way, as Tom Forester said, “If the automobile and airplane business had developed like the computer business, a Rolls Royce would cost $2.75 and run for 3 million miles on one gallon of gas. And a Boeing 767 would cost just $500 and circle the globe in 20 mins on five gallons of gas.” (Forester, Pg.11, 1985). So far, this year 2020 showed us that IT is more important than ever as we are combatting this pandemic.

            Due to the revolution that IT did in last decade made a big difference in many industries. This difference led to a well-being of human. Carr believes that more and more companies will fulfill their IT requirements simply by purchasing fee-based web services from third parties just like the way they currently purchase electricity and will create grid (Carr, 2003). But because of this only reason, companies are able to get more diverse and detailed applications for their employees to provide client more efficient products.  A civil engineer firm can save up to couple thousand dollars per traffic engineer in a single year by just using few of these third-party applications like AutoCAD and MicroStation. According to Anthony Maroni, “Trafficmap has realized a return on investment of AUD 150,000 annually and saved users 25% to 30% in time accessing appropriate information” (Maroni, 2018). These are just few examples of using third party IT services that saves millions in cumulative usage and the most important, it saves time of millions of people.  

            As Carr said in his article that electricity is essential in any business function and it is almost impossible to deliver any sort of worth to clients (Carr, 2003). IT became essential to any business and service industries. One of the critical industries that IT affected is health care industry. It is pretty much impossible to imagine health care without having IT expertise. IT is always working behind the scene whether it’s electronically checking in patients and updating their medical records to sending them the results of vitals online or even a quick video consulting with doctors. Electronic health record could reduce medical prescription errors by huge percentile. Additionally, the conversion from paper lab reports to electronic records has drastically cut the time of finding for patient records. Nowadays, everything we need to know or need to send it to our prescriber can be easily done even from a smartwatch.

Carr wrote “IT Doesn’t Matter” document before amazon introduced AWS (Amazon Web Services) to the world. That product introduction of amazon changed the world we live in today and began the era of cloud computing. When IT was becoming the “grid” like dead end technology back in early 2000, cloud commuting completely revolutionized the game. Every single industry starting form growing food or farming to launching a space shuttle to mars use this cloud computing from sources like Azure, AWS or google cloud. With servers in this technology located off-shore and their management left to an expert, businesses can focus on getting the customers happy and can scale up or scale down their businesses as needed. Because resources are available in the cloud, the time it takes to get started with services cut from days to minutes. Using AWS’s secure and multi layered compute capacity, Lyell Immunopharma is able to design and test potential new cell therapy at a faster rate, going from conducting a single simulation in four weeks to completing thirty simulations in ten hours (Business Wire, 2020). The revolution of information technology goes beyond cloud computing to something deep and truer version of human neurons called artificial intelligence.  This is the technology that helped former NFL player Tim Shaw who is suffering from ASL to restore his ability to communicate through his smartphone. The graphic above from Deloitte (Kaushal & Abrams, 2019) shows how a wearable device with the help of AI and machine learning illustrates many of the potential benefits to the patient, provider, payer, and pharmaceutical industry. 

            Carr in his document and other authors (DeJarnett, Laskey, & Trainor, 2004) made some good points below regarding to IT that needs to be reviewed when making some major business decisions. 

  • Need to find the alternative IT solutions that are cheap, and contain less risk when implementing.
  • Find new ways to invest in non-traditional IT and communicate with senior management
  • Consider Privacy when making IT-enabled changes 

Before we can take full advantage of new IT innovations, there few things that needs to be changed. These things can be organizational innovations, trained human capital, infrastructure and regulations. As Quentin Hardy mentioned in his post, “It’s already changing organizations, by moving IT from a cost center to something with a place at the table in a lot of different meetings,” (Hardy, 2018). 

            As we all are currently going through a global pandemic and experiencing virtual classes and working from home work environment, we can truly understand why IT is still important and will be important for rest of our lives. Companies are realizing that they can’t just keep investing into traditional IT and need to figure out a way like what Microsoft did with Teams or how some tech heavy schools are using edX. New innovative technologies like IoT, cloud computing, virtual reality, AI and machine learning have created new ways to access basic services and playing a key role in helping efforts to identify treatments. These technologies have also played a significant role in everything from tracking the virus outbreak and providing mitigation planning, and quickly manufacturing ventilators and PPE devices as needed. If IT wasn’t this heavily invested, it would be much harder for us to fight this pandemic safely and staying connected at the same time.  


Carr, N.G. (2003, May). IT Doesn’t Matter. Harvard Business Review, 41-48. 

Tom Forester, (2003, April). Information Technology Revolution, MIT Press, 11.

Maroni A., (2018, N.D). Bentley User Project Case Studies, Bentley Systems.   Retrieved May 25, 2020 from: https://www.bentley.com/en/project-profiles/2019/mrwa_trafficmap

Lyell Immunopharma. Goes All-In on AWS as its Cloud Provider. (2020, May). Retrieved on May 25, 2020 from:      https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200519005109/en/Lyell

Atul Kaushal & Ken Abrams (2019, ND). The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Health Care. Deloitte Review Paper, 13.

DeJarnett, L., Laskey, R., & Trainer, H. E. (2004). From the CIO Point of View: The “IT   Doesn’t Matter” Debate. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 443-455. 

Hardy Q., (2018, February). How Cloud Computing is Changing Management. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from May 26, 2020 HBR: https://hbr.org/2018/02/how-cloud-computing-is-changing-management