Friday, November 10, 2006

If you care about information technology, read this

I wanted to point out a terrific article in this month's Harvard Business Review, by Professor Andrew McAfee of Harvard Business School, on how businesses can manage and utilize IT better.

In it, Professor McAfee segments the IT space into three components: Function IT (e.g., spreadsheets), which improve individual tasks; Network IT (e.g., Lotus Notes, wikis), which provide general-purpose collaboration tools that users can adapt to their needs; and Enterprise IT (e.g., CRM, ERP), software products that define/enforce cross-functional or inter-company business processes.

Why the segmentation? Because the benefits and challenges of implementing each type vary dramatically. For example, the greatest challenge in adopting Enterprise IT solutions is managing the changes required in how large groups of people work, while with Network IT the challenge is to encourage users and demonstrate how they can make use of the technology.

Graciously, HBR is offering the full article online FREE this month only!

And, in a case of putting his money where his mouth is, eating his own dog food, or whatever cliche you'd like to use. Professor McAfee has an excellent blog in which he comments and expounds on his ideas regarding IT. Add it to your reading list.