Recent Question/Assignment

Template for Group Presentations
• Present key ideas from the paper (15 marks) o Objective / purpose of paper o Main points, framework, or expectations o Author’s conclusions • Critique (10 marks) o Three key ideas you agree with (and why)
o Three key ideas you don’t agree with (and why)
• Extension (10 marks)
o Identify one more recent paper (through your own research) that is related to the topic of the paper you are presenting
o Discuss how this paper extends/refutes/supports the ideas in the
paper that you presented • Discussion (10 marks)
• Presentation (5 marks)

Objective / Purpose of Paper
• Few would dispute the point that IT has become the backbone of modern commerce
o Ties together global supply chains, underpins operational activities and links businesses to the customers they serve
• Mistakenly, this has encouraged executives to view IT as a critical strategic resource that can be used to generate a competitive advantage
• This is a reasonable assumption …. but a mistaken one according to Nicholas Carr

Author’s Conclusions
• Characteristics of IT almost guarantee that it will become a commodity: o IT infrastructure carries information, just like the railways carry goods and power plants carry electricity
o IT is far more valuable when shared….. This leads to greater homogeneity o IT is easily replicated at little cost
o IT is subject to rapid price deflation. Moore’s law ($$s to Cents) • Over spending on IT is the greatest risk to business today. What’s important-and this holds true of any commodity- is to be able to separate essential investments from ones that are discretionary, unnecessary or even counter productive

Critique of the Paper
• IT is inherently strategic because of its indirect effects o it creates possibilities and options that did not exist before
o Strategy as short-term wins. Companies that see, and act on these possibilities before others do will continue to differentiate themselves in the marketplace
o Technology may be ubiquitous, but the skills & insight required to harness its potential will not be so evenly distributed
• Need to look at IT investment through several different lens o Cost savings and efficiencies o Incremental improvement of organizational structure, products and services o Extending competitive scope, partnerships and integrated business relationships in which suppliers, producers and customers act as if they were in one company
, sharing information on inventories, demand forecasts, lead times. e.g. UPS
Slides for Extension
• Citation (Author, Title, ..) of the paper that you are using to extend the ideas in the paper you are presenting
• Discuss three ways in which this paper extends, refutes or supports the ideas in the paper that you presented

Plausibility of the Argument
• Investments made in IT infrastructure have become ever more significant and poor decisions in this area can severely affect an organisation’s agility?its ability to respond quickly to changing market conditions?and can become a competitive liability (Keen 1991; Broadbent and Weill 1999). • Productivity paradox proponents claim that despite the massive investment in IT, these systems have not produced significant improvements in industrial productivity (Thurow 1991; Brynjolfsson 1993).

Other Criteria
• Be creative (in presentation or discussion) o Role play
o Story telling o Debate
• 40 minutes (10 minutes for discussion)