If done right, IT has the potential to completely transform business by flattening hierarchies, shrinking supply chains, and speeding communications, says professor Kristina Steffenson McElheran. Why, then, do so many companies get it wrong?
In his chapter “Manufacturing: Lowering Boundaries, Improving Productivity” from the book The Economic Payoff from the Internet Revolution: Brookings Task Force on the Internet, HBS professor Andrew McAfee, discusses how the Internet has increased manufacturing productivity, lowered costs, and enabled businesses to form mutually beneficial alliances.
Once viewed simply as low-cost channels for resolving customer concerns, call centers are increasingly seen as powerful service delivery mechanisms and even as generators of revenue. Research by HBS Professor Frances X. Frei and her colleagues Ann Evenson and Patrick T. Harker of the Wharton School points toward new ways of making them work.
Spending on information technology on the part of U.S. manufacturers is finally starting to pay off in increased productivity. Why now? Have IT investments, growing steadily since the 1970s, suddenly crossed a magic threshhold? HBS Professor Andrew McAfee believes the answer lies neither in magic nor in the growing power of computers themselves. Productivity gains, he writes in this article from the online journal Exec, may have more to do with the evolution of computing from PC “islands” to integrated networks that bridge distances and bring people together.