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Three Technology Myths

• Myth: IT, once an engine of competitive advantage, is becoming just another cost of doing business. Technological advances that improve organizations' ability to manage information will be quickly and widely copied by others, rendering them meaningless.

• Fact: IT products and processes are becoming more standardized, but so too are engineering, manufacturing, logistics, distribution, sales, customer service and other business functions that differentiate one organization from another.

• Reality: Just because a process is quickly and widely copied doesn't mean you shouldn't invest in making it better. Set the bar higher. Wal-Mart may not have achieved greatness simply because its IT was superior, but the company's relentless IT innovation lets it execute its retail vision faster and more efficiently than its rivals can. It stays a step ahead of competitors, no matter how fast they copy.

• Myth: The U.S. IT profession--because of offshore competition, the industry's maturation or other factors--is in decline. "We're not creating many new jobs in the United States," laments RIT professor Ronil Hira in a recent Wall Street Journal article, "and certainly not new jobs in technology."

• Fact: The U.S. economy has created 3.4 million jobs since the end of the recession, bringing the unemployment rate to a historically respectable 5.4 percent. By 2010, according to the Labor Department, 167 million U.S. jobs will be chasing only 157 million U.S. workers.

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