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Writing in the Harvard Business Review, John Seely Brown and John Hegel observe that “IT’s economic impact comes from incremental innovations rather than “big bang” initiatives. If done right, these innovations can also reduce the financial risks by generating near-term returns that can help fund subsequent waves of operating initiatives.”

In other words, organizations can get more from their IT investment by adopting a layered approach, where each new development effort extends the underlying platform of capabilities, rather than sinking substantial upfront costs into a long-cycle project that does not pay off until it is complete.