IT does help to bridge the gap. Of course!
You remember the article that went like: “IT Doesn’t matter (Click)“. Published in May 2003 in the HBR.
The point in that article was simple: If your IT does not provide an edge that your rivals miss, then you are not taking any competitive advantage over that rival. Today every company has email, data storage, networks, etc… Therefore, IT, in the article was compared to electricity, you need it, but it is only a cost for a commodity.
There was something important missing there: Electricity is not evolving, I mean 220V are 220V! IT wise: what was true in 2003 turned obsolete few years later. The point is to be able to adapt and jump onto the right new technology! Electricity is ubiquitous, IT is not. I have never seen a company not having an IT bottleneck somewhere; that situation where the company’s digital organisation is simply below expectation.
As this article suggests “IT and productivity gap (Click)” what matters with IT is its structuring power. To have an efficient IT, you need to have reflected on your organisation assets (among others):
While it’s sometimes popular to think of technology as “automating information work,” this isn’t a good analogy. Rather than replacing human brains, computers complement most cognitive tasks and actually increase the demand for human information processing. Computer technology, at least at the current state of the art […2003…], is a relatively poor substitute for the mental capabilities of people.
Lean processes, will help lean IT and for sure an … optimized per user capita IT cost.