NRI Papers
No. 166 September 1, 2011
  Changing Negative Ways of Thinking about the Use of IT to Positive Ones  
Koki YODOKAWA

According to the "Survey on the Actual Status of the Use of IT by User Companies" conducted by Nomura Research Institute (NRI) in November 2010, Japanese companies have been moderately increasing their investments in information technology (IT) although such investments shrunk because of the global financial crisis that occurred in 2008. When we look at the purposes of IT investments, we find that a large percentage of enterprises have still been investing in IT as part of their cost-cutting measures such as improving business efficiency and standardizing business processes. Nevertheless, the number of such companies has decreased somewhat. Instead, the number of responding companies selecting the "creation of business and service" that remained small for a long time began to increase.

Because of the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011, many companies will be forced to substantially reduce costs and will also take a cautious approach towards IT investments for the time being. However, simply resorting to cost-cutting measures will not lead to the achievement of a V-shaped recovery from the unprecedented major disaster. In addition to IT investments based on negative ways of thinking as represented by the purposes of cost reductions, now is the time for enterprises to selectively make IT investments that bring about positive effects that can become a source of rapid recovery and new growth.

IT has evolved from a means of automating business processes and improving business efficiency to tools for communication, collaboration and trial and error activities in digital form. In order to enhance a series of intellectual activities conducted by an organization, i.e., "find, explore, measure, analyze, try, judge, implement and use," and to improve organizational capabilities, enterprises must make full use of this IT power. It is also necessary for management to show the appropriate direction so as to lead all employees towards creative work that generates positive effects as well as to change the way in which governance is applied for reforms and human resources are utilized. The optimum use of IT as a means of improving organizational capabilities as well as driving the recovery from the current crises facing Japan is a pressing issue for all enterprises to address.

Contents
I Current Status of IT Investments by Japanese Companies
II IT for the Improvement of Organizational Capabilities that Brings about Positive Effects
III Actual Status of IT Use at Enterprises
IV Analysis of Survey Results
V How to Create Value through the Use of IT
VII Evolution of IT Use that Creates Positive Effects
VIII How to Best Promote the Use of IT that Creates Positive Effects

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