I just read an excellent article on Google as a disruptive technology over at TechRepublic.
One quote by Richard Hunter from Gartner Group caught my eye:
“Google has the potential to be the first-choice provider of many services that are now handled by internal IT organizations, starting with non-competitively-differentiating services such as email (which Google already provides to a number of enterprises), and ultimately including high-value-added functions and services such as business intelligence, mobile sales support, and others. Some IT organizations might consider it a boon to pass these functions on to Google so that the IT department can concentrate on very enterprise-specific competitively differentiating applications. IT organizations that measure their worth in terms of how much of the company’s IT needs they supply themselves will be less happy to see Google move in on their turf-and I do mean specifically that in many cases it will be an argument about turf, not enterprise value."
This comment shows a lot of strategic savvy. The interesting question is similar to the questions that plagued IT during the rise of personal computing in business in the 1980's - first, is this really a wave? Secondly, if it IS a wave, do we fight it, roll with it, or ride it? These questions should be coming up in your strategic planning.
In my thinking, the idea that IT can (and should) focus on company-specific differentiating technology is dead on - and very important for most IT departments. An IT department that isn't differentiating the company might not be worth what you are paying for it.
How about your IT department? Does it contribute to your company's strategic competency? Do you have them working on technologies that other people can already deliver?