Introduction; Technology Makes the World a New Place

Patrick McConnell

Shoshanna Zuboff, who in the late 1980s wrote the groundbreaking book In the Age of the Smart Machine (Zuboff, 1988), said perceptively: “Technology makes the world a new place”. The technology that Professor Zuboff was referring to is information technology (IT), the subject of this book, although the same comment could be made about other world-changing technologies – such as the Boeing 747 jet airliner, which revolutionised modern business, ushering in the age of globalisation.11 See, for example, the 2016 BBC documentary “Jumbo: The Plane that Changed the World”. In this book, we will be focusing on IT rather than the more general term “technology”, but for readability will use both terms interchangeably.

As far back as 1985 (well before the advent of the Internet), Michael Porter, a guru of competition and strategy recognised the importance of IT in improving competitiveness (Porter and Millar, 1985):

Information technology is changing the way companies operate. It is affecting the entire process by which companies create their products. Furthermore, it is reshaping the product itself: the entire package of physical goods, services, and information companies provide to

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