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12.7.6: Summary

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    Information systems are integrated into all components of business today, but can they bring competitive advantage? Over the years, there have been many answers to this question. Early research could not draw any connections between IT and profitability, but later research has shown that the impact can be positive. IT is not a panacea; just purchasing and installing the latest technology will not, by itself, make a company more successful. Instead, the combination of the right technologies and good management, together, will give a company the best chance of a positive result. 

    Study Questions

    1. What is the productivity paradox?
    2. Summarize Carr’s argument in “Does IT Matter.”
    3. How is the 2008 study by Brynjolfsson and McAfee different from previous studies? How is it the same?
    4. What does it mean for a business to have a competitive advantage?
    5. What are the primary activities and support activities of the value chain?
    6. What has been the overall impact of the Internet on industry profitability? Who has been the true winner?
    7. How does EDI work?
    8. Give an example of a semi-structured decision and explain what inputs would be necessary to provide assistance in making the decision.
    9. What does a collaborative information system do?
    10. How can IT play a role in competitive advantage, according to the 2008 article by Brynjolfsson and McAfee?


    1. Do some independent research on Nicholas Carr (the author of “IT Doesn’t Matter”) and explain his current position on the ability of IT to provide competitive advantage.
    2. Review the WebEx website. What features of WebEx would contribute to good collaboration? What makes WebEx a better collaboration tool than something like Skype or Google Hangouts?
    3. Think of a semi-structured decision that you make in your daily life and build your own DSS using a spreadsheet that would help you make that decision.

    1. Brynjolfsson, Erik. "The Productivity Paradox of Information Technology: Review and Assessment" Copyright © 1993, 1994 Erik Brynjolfsson, All Rights Reserved Center for Coordination Science MIT Sloan School of Management Cambridge, Massachusetts Previous version: December 1991 This Version: September 1992 Published in Communications of the ACM, December, 1993; and Japan Management Research, June, 1994 (in Japanese).
    2. Brynjolfsson, Erik and Lorin Hitt. "Beyond the Productivity Paradox", Communications of the ACM, August 1998, Vol. 41(8): pp. 49–55. Copyright © 1998 by Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. (ACM).
    3. Porter, Michael. "Strategy and the Internet," Harvard Business Review, Vol. 79, No. 3, March 2001.
    4. Wiseman, C., & MacMillan, I. C. (1984). CREATING COMPETITIVE WEAPONS FROM INFORMATION SYSTEMS. Journal Of Business Strategy, 5(2), 42.
    5. Taken from Accessed July 15, 2013.
    6. McAfee, Andrew and Brynjolfsson, Erik "Investing in the IT That Makes a Competitive Difference" Harvard Business Review, (July-August, 2008)

    This page titled 12.7.6: Summary is shared under a CC BY-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by David T. Bourgeois (Saylor Foundation) .

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