Nick Carr created one of the longest running questions I have ever seen when he wrote his book Does IT Matter back in 2004. There has been so much discussion arguing for both sides of the answer including this article from Harvard's Andrew McAfee. I believe that a key differentiator for a company is the business processes. For IT to Matter, IT must create an architecture that supports the business's need to dynamically change and customize their processes. This allows the business to be more self sufficient and agile, which leads to a better user experience and faster time to market.
This is why the BPMS and SOA vendors are cashing in right now. Many IT executives are starting to understand that IT needs to be more of a partner to the business then a cost of doing business. BPMS solutions allow IT to provide tools for the business to rapidly deploy new systems that can have a huge impact on the bottom line by:
- reducing costs through process reengineering
- identifying bottlenecks and providing what-if analytics for ongoing process improvement
- providing robust, AJAX & web enabled user interfaces
- providing visibility into performance metrics with built in business intelligence tools
- providing self service capabilities for the end users, thus reducing the dependency on IT resources
So to make a long story short. Does IT Matter? It can matter if IT recognizes that "Process is King" and that the business and IT need to work hand in hand to provide solutions that create a competitive advantage.