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Do You Have Too Much IT?

In the late 1990s, companies often bought huge quantities of IT for reasons that had nothing to do with their business models or long-term strategies. There was a “follow the pack” approach to IT investment that continues, to a lesser degree, today. For managers seeking to break away from fear-driven IT investment, the author suggests that they consider the operations of Inditex Group, a clothing manufacturer and retailer based in northwestern Spain and best known for its Zara stores. Although few would think first of this industry or region in a search for IT leaders, Inditex’s experience demonstrates that it is possible to select, adopt and leverage IT masterfully while spending very little on it.

Inditex has higher operating profit and much better recent stock-price performance than any of its competitors, and the author believes that there is a direct connection between its financial performance and its IT excellence. For managers weary of me-too IT investment, he lays out the five general principles that underlie Inditex’s approach to technology spending.

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