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IT Doesn't Matter-Business Processes Do: A Critical Analysis of Nicholas Carr's I.T. Article in the Harvard Business Review Paperback – August, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Meghan-Kiffer Press (August 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0929652355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0929652351
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #549,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Howard Smith is Chief Technology Officer (Europe) of Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and co-chair of the Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI.org). With more than 24 years in the IT industry, he is a sought after speaker and advisor. His work in predicting and shaping technology at the intersection with business led him to take an active role in the development and application of the third wave. He is currently researching the application of business process management to corporate sustainability, innovation and growth, for which he has global research and development responsibility at CSC.

Peter Fingar is one of the industry's noted experts on Business Process Management (BPM). He has delivered keynotes on busines technology world wide and is author of the best-selling books, The Death of 'e' and the Birth of the Real New Economy and Enterprise E-Commerce. Over his 30-year career he has taught graduate and undergraduate computing studies and held management, technical and consulting positions with GTE Data Services, Saudi Aramco, EC Cubed, Noor Advanced Technologies, the Technical Resource Connection division of Perot Systems and IBM Global Services.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Dean Winitt on September 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Smith and Fingar present an interesting monograph on the current state, and future possibilities, of IT.
Their premise is that IT, as we know it is over, Business Process Management (BPM) represents the next wave of corporate computing. They do a good job of defining IT but never do they adequately define BPM. We are told what it isn't; it's not data, it's not hardware or software, and it's not Web services. But what is it? It is loosely defined, first, as a value-chain that encompasses suppliers and then as the white space between the boxes on an organization chart (referencing Rummler's terrific book on managing process).
Regardless, I believe they make a valid argument. It's not how many servers you have, it's about how you're using the data and applications to make money and trounce the competition.
But Carr also makes valid arguments, after all, who screws things up like IT? Who would think that in this day and age we still have runaway IT projects and projects that lack business value? There is a dearth of business sense among IT managers and there are too many business managers who find computers a mystery and abdicate business decisions to IT managers.
At times the book becomes strident and takes on the spirit of a manifesto. The section on IT investments, and how they're going to soar again, references a science fiction writer and talk show host as sources. Later on, Smith and Fingar lament that Carr's article will destroy economic growth by giving CEOs justification for withholding IT investment. Perhaps the silver lining here is that vendors will offer products and services that add business value and IT and business managers will have to make solid business arguments to justify purchases.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By D. Forbes on September 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Contrary to what some might suspect, this is not simply a thinly veiled attempt to plug their recently published book, even though it does essentially repurpose much of the content to make their case. However, the vision Smith and Fingar paint of a Business Process Management (BPM) future as counterpoint to Nicholas Carr's HBR article should perhaps be more appropriately called Business Process Magic, and even if the future they deify is less than five years away (difficult to believe) their vision does little or nothing to solve the real pain today. The fact that standards have been developed, frankly doesn't mean they'll ever be widely used, except, perhaps, for marketing purposes by those involved in developing, selling and profiting from them (Microsoft, IBM anyone?). And, just because something is "enterprise," doesn't mean it has to be complex, confusing and expensive, does it? Some things to consider when evaluating the IT/BPM near-future (or more accurately, your business pain today):
1. IT departments are not the customer.
Smith and Fingar go to great lengths to explain what Carr did and did not mean by "IT," ultimately deciding he meant the industry, not IT specialists (IT departments, including the CIO). The truth is, IT departments may provide the backbone, the infrastructure, to the enterprise, but they are not the brains. That is, they are not the subject matter experts (SMEs) who perform the day-to-day transactions that define the enterprise's business value (even Smith and Fingar estimate 80% of enterprise processes should be managed by business users, not IT). This is not to condemn IT specialists (just as programmers generally shouldn't design UIs, UI designers generally shouldn't write code).
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Preston Olsen on September 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
As anyone who is responsible for strategic IT planning can tell you, it's a new dawn in IT these days - especially as IT spending relates to improved business efficiencies and the bottom line. While Carr's HBR article is a simplistic and flawed interpretation of where IT is heading, Smith and Fingar present a well thought and presented, point by point analysis of, not only what is wrong with Carr's misguided vision, but also solutions offered by new directions in IT of paramount importance to strategic corporate management. A significant element of my company's competitive edge came from developing advanced business processes, so we are already up to speed on the directions towards business process management espoused by Smith and Fingar. I do, however, know of many examples of companies and organizations that might be looking for excuses to minimize their IT expenditures due to problems with previous flawed IT strategies and execution. For those companies, Carr's article might provide the perfect justification to retrench. This book, on the other hand, is for forward thinking strategists who are looking to optimize and innovate to maintain and improve their efficiency and competitive edge.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By brian on September 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
Smith and Fingar take Carr's assertions to task, and tear them to shreds. With clever observation after clever observation, they show how and why Carr is extremely misguided -- and how and why the corporate landscape is and should be changing from IT-heavy to business process management-focused. Smith and Fingar are truly onto something: a means being adopted by many companies to help them become agile, customer-centric, real-time enterprises, with business users, not IT staffers, leading the way. Read this and catch the BPM wave (make that Third Wave, as Smith and Fingar discuss in another work).
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IT Doesn't Matter-Business Processes Do: A Critical Analysis of Nicholas Carr's I.T. Article in the Harvard Business Review
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