In 1982, Robert Benjamin published a forecast of the state of information technology in the year 1990. He wrote that the information systems environment was in a considerable state of “flux” and information systems managers could benefit from a prediction of the “endpoint scenario [in order to] focus major planning strategies.” Ten years later, it’s time to provide a new set of landmarks for another decade of flux. Benjamin and his coauthor, Jon Blunt, envision the information technology world of 2000. What can we expect? What should we not expect? And what can we not even begin to guess?
1. Scientific American, September 1991. This issue is devoted to a series of articles on how computers and telecommunications are changing the way we live and work.
2. R.I. Benjamin, “Information Technology in the 1990s: A Long-Range Planning Scenario,” MIS Quarterly, June 1982, pp. 11–31.
3. M.L. Dertouzos, “Communications, Computers, and Networks,” Scientific American, September 1991, pp. 30–37.
4. T.W. Malone, J. Yates, and R. Benjamin, “The Logic of Electronic Markets,” Harvard Business Review, May–June 1989, pp. 166–172.
5. “A Talk with INTEL,” Byte, April 1990, pp. 131–140.
6. J. Yates and R.I. Benjamin, “The Past and Present as a Window on the Future” in The Corporation of the 1990s, M.S. Scott Morton, ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991) pp. 61–92.
7. V.G. Cerf, “Networks,” Scientific American, September 1991, pp. 42–51.
8. Unix, developed by Bell Labs in the early 1970s, is an “operating system, a religion, a political movement, and a mass of committees,” according to Peter Keen. “It has been a favorite operating system of technical experts . . . owing to is ‘portability’ across different operating environments and hardware, its support of ‘multitasking’ (running a number of different programs at the same time), and its building-block philosophy of systems development (building libraries of small ‘blocks’ from which complex systems can be built).” See
P.G.W. Keen, Every Manager’s Guide to Information Technology (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1991), pp. 156–157.
9. J.C. Emery, “Editor’s Comments,” MIS Quarterly, December 1991, pp. xxi–xxiii.
10. M.J. Piore and C.F. Sabel, The Second Industrial Divide: Possibilities for Prosperity (New York: Basic Books, 1984); and
J.P. Womack, D.T. Jones, and D. Roos, The Machine That Changed the World (New York: Rawson Associates, 1990).
11. T.W. Malone and J.F. Rockart, “Computers, Networks, and the Corporation, “Scientific American, September 1991, pp. 92–99.
12. S. Zuboff In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power (New York: Basic Books, 1988).
13. “Billing Systems Improve Accuracy, Billing Cycle,” Modern Office Technology, February 1990; and
C.A. Plesums and R.W. Bartels, “Large-Scale Image Systems: USAA Case Study,” IBM Systems Journal 23 (1990): 343–355.
14. M. Weiser, “The Computer for the Twenty-First Century,” Scientific American, September 1991, pp. 66–75.
15. Object request brokers are technologies that allow the user to access programs developed by other companies or groups much as the telephone directory allows a user to speak with someone. These tools give more people access to pre-existing solutions. See:
H.M. Osher, “Object Request Brokers,” Byte, January 1991, p. 172.
16. K. Swanson, D. McComb, J. Smith, and D. McCubbrey, “The Application Software Factory: Applying Total Quality Techniques to Systems Development,” MIS Quarterly, December 1991, pp. 567–579.
17. M.S. Scott Morton, ed., The Corporation of the 1990s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), pp. 13–23.
18. K. Laudon, A General Model for Understanding the Relationship between Information Technology and Organizations (New York: New York University, Center for Research on Information Systems, January 1989).
19. See E.H. Schein, Innovative Cultures and Organizations (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Sloan School of Management, Working Paper No. 88-064, November 1988); and
E.H. Schein, Planning and Managing Change (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Sloan School of Management, Working Paper No. 88-056, October 1988).
20. J.F. Rockart and R. Benjamin, The Information Technology Function of the 1990s: A Unique Hybrid (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Sloan School of Management, Center for Information Systems Research, Working Paper No. 225, June 1991); and
E.M. Von Simson, “The ‘Centrally Decentralized’ IS Organization,” Harvard Business Review, July–August 1990, p. 158–162.
21. P.J. Dixon and D.A. John, “Technology Issues Facing Corporate Management in the 1990s,” MIS Quarterly, September 1989, pp. 247–255.