by Gary Beach

Does the IT Industry Really Matter?

Jun 03, 20082 mins

I was speaking recently with James Poisant, secretary general for the World Information Technology Society Alliance. Jim raised an interesting question to me that I did not have the answer to…..alas I am sharing it with you.

Go back four years to a book written by Nicholas Carr entitled “Does IT Matter?” It created a firestorm of intra industry debate mostly about the competitive value of technology.

Now insert another word (or two) into that book’s title and you have Dr.Poisant’s question to me: “Does the IT Industry Matter?”.

It is a profound question. Particularly coming from a key executive of the world’s most prestigious alliance of information technology companies who met in late May in Asia.

Think about the range of answers. Biotech? If so, why do tens of millions continue to die because they can not get the proper drugs? Education? If so, at least here in America, why do so many believe our education system is systemically broken?Tech for all? Why then are 84% of the world’s population not connected to the internet? Hey, do they (the unconnected) know something we don’t!

Without sounding to messianic, why did we create the IT industry? What’s our global responsibility? Are we mostly talking the talk but not walking the walk?

I find IT execs are good people with good intentions for world betterment but little time to implement those good intentions.

Others are more critical of us claiming IT execs are wimps akin to standing on the backs of whales hunting for minnows with no bold visions.

Who is right? Is the world a better place because of IT….or not?

Go for it. Fire off your feisty responses and share the question in a viral way and let’s get the entire global IT community asking this question and collectively working hard to come up with the answers.

I look forward to your ideas and comments.