Paul Ng Wai
For me this article raises the question, What IS the True Value of IT after all the evolution and upgrades, new paradigms and breakthroughs? Maybe the quintessential things that have made technology valuable have been obscured over time, possibly by the waves of new technologies in their different forms and manifestations.
To ask it another way, When technology is not used for 'technology's sake', what should we feel, what is the differentiating factors? For me I should be able to observe, use, and appreciate the underlying Information System, which is the processes built around the use of the technology.
A very simple example might be the use of a mobile device with internet connectivity such as a blackberry or Ipad. While these devices have multipurpose capabilities (entertainment, research, work, storage, etc.) many of us quite often use them for entertainment mostly. I sometimes observe a friend or colleague use these technologies for music or chat, but then physically go into an organization to find out information or download a document, when it was possible to do so online. This may be due to a number of other factors like the awareness of facilities, the culture of usage for the individual, the confidence in systems, etc. It might also suggest that an organization's IS capabilities may be misaligned with the market's awareness, culture, and confidence, and thus communication programmes and initiatives have to be developed and promoted, preferably via information systems to build the awareness, culture, and confidence. Information systems here would encompass different forms of media and communications (TV, Radio, Web). This is a very simple example, but the main point is Information Technologies need to considered in its entirety, i.e. Information Systems and then 'Innovative Information Systems' can be developed.
IS professionals, particular those who hold the mantle of providing the leadership that is expected, need to review the 'Value' question at least annually, as I am sure that the 'value of IT', ten, five, or even three years ago is different that value perspectives of what it may be today. Or maybe it hasn't and too much emphasis and focus is being placed on the manifestations and not the 'soul' of what makes it valuable in the first place.
I think that hybrid solutions are needed in many cases such as these. that is, looking at both the intrinsic value of technology (the value it should provide in theory), and analyzing and assessing the real value that is provided in today's businesses and organizations, and finally understanding how to balance the two perspectives.
Whether you work in the IS/IT industry, use technologies often at home or work, or simply have a different (or similar) perspective, I'd love to hear about it too.