While social computing platforms emergence within the enterprise seems to be unavoidable, the debate on “does IT (still) matter” is coming back at the forefront of the actuality. Not directly but because, since it’s said that enterprise’s wealth is in people, we can wonder if IT sill matter.
The debate was reopened on Wikinomics, in response to Nicholas Carr’s famous scepticism. I agree with Carr to some extent, being convinced that ERP and CRM never helped enterprises to build a real competitive advantage. It doesn’t mean they didn’t improve operational performances, the point it this added performance didn’t impact competitive advantage as expected.
As for stating that IT won’t matter, it’s, according to me, going too far. Of course what counts in 2.0 world is people. But without the appropriate tools, people won’t deliver their full potential. And, although those tools are easy to install and manage, integrating them in global IT strategy will still need a lot of attention.
More, le 2.0 sphere is completing what already exists : we’re adding a right hemisphere to the existing information system. In the same way I keep repeating informal activities have to be reused by formal business, tools may make this connection possible, and once liquid information became solid it has to go back to traditional channels. Connectors between social platforms and legacy tools will be crucial and that’s why IT will matter even more.
At last, traditional formal business activities will still need process-driven tools. Even if they won’t remain the only ones.
So IT will still matter, and even more. But with an added dimension : besides tools which value is in what they do, we’ll see the emergence of tools which value is in how the make it possible for people to interact. Tools that allow people to treat information, and tools that treat information by themselves.
Even in the people-centric era, IT will still be key because it will allow people to deliver their full potential.