Good ol' Nicholas Carr. In some ways he has it so right in his on-going quest to examine the question, “Does IT matter?” Many aspects of information technology truly are utilities. On the other hand, if it were as simple as turning on a light switch, how could companies such as Sainsbury's and Avis Europe waste so much money — hundreds of millions of dollars — on IT initiatives that don't work out the way they were planned? How do you spend that much money so quickly anyhow?
In the case of Avis Europe, it was a PeopleSoft ERP system run amok, licensed in 2003.
For Sainsbury's, it was the automating of four new “automated depots.” Interestingly, the UK supermarket chain's service provider, Accenture, disavows any connection to the depot problems, stating that the depots were never part of its contract with the client. How can you be in charge of a company's “transformation program” but disavow any responsibility for key aspects of that transformation, contract or no? Not a single Accenture soul was involved?