Five Key Lessons for Today from the Rise and Fall of Yesterday’s IT Leaders

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Waves of change roll through the information technology sector roughly every 15 years or so. Each wave floats a few agile start-ups and sinks legacy-burdened incumbents. History never exactly repeats itself but many phenomena reappear. It’s these that are worth observing for old and new companies alike. And for sectors outside IT, the waves may come less frequently but no less destructively. So think of the IT experience as a wind tunnel through which other businesses can pretest their survivability.

The IT sector is at another turning point as mobile devices dampen the demand for PCs – just as PCs formerly dampened and then buried the demand for minicomputers. Simultaneously, the purchase of new on-premise servers and licensed software is being displaced by public cloud infrastructure and software services. Add cybersecurity as another question mark for the next decade. In sum, this transformation points to an era of “creative destruction,” in the phrase coined by the Austrian economist on entrepreneurship Joseph Schumpeter. As agile and often new firms will produce creative new solutions, slow-footed companies will be destroyed.

These two prospects will require special assessment: the new companies rising to these opportunities and the old companies threatened by impending change. What lessons can be learned from the histories of corporate rises and falls during equally ferocious transformations of the past?

Ernest von Simson, a senior partner of Ostriker von Simson, a consultancy that assists the largest worldwide enterprises in the selection and deployment of advanced technologies, and author of The Limits of Strategy: Lessons in Leadership from the Computer Industry, has identified five key lessons.      

 

Related Topics : A Big Market for Big Data Jobs, Midmarket CIO, IT Management Automation, SharePoint, Technology Markets

 
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