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JILT 2002 (3) - Mads Bryde Andersen





Interesting Case Studies


Customized vs. Bespoke Software



Information Technology Strategies: How Leading Firms Use IT to Gain
and Advantage

by William V Rapp

Oxford University Press, 2002
ISBN: 0195148134

Reviewed by:
Mads Bryde Andersen
Professor of Law
University of Copenhagen

1. Introduction

The author of this book, William Rapp, is a professor of International Trade and Business at the School of Management of New Jersey Institute of Technology.

In his book he wants to help managers struggling with the strategic question, 'How do we advantageously harness the new information revolution?'

2. Interesting Case Studies

His contribution is given by a number of in-depth (and indeed, impressive) case studies that show how major enterprises have decided to use IT.

Quite different sectors and firms have been chosen for these studies: Pharmaceuticals (Takeda, Merck), steel (Nucor, Tokyo Steel, Nippon Steel), automobiles (Toyota), retailing (Ito-Yokado, Seven-Eleven Japan), life insurance (Nationwide Financial Services, Meiji Seimei), international retail banking (Sanwa Bank, Citigroup) and wireless telecommunications (Nokia).

3. Customized vs. Bespoke Software

One of the main issues that the author has addressed - and indeed one that falls within the topic of the book - is to what extent the different firms have relied on using customized vs. bespoke software in their businesses. The various reasons for doing so - or for doing the opposite - are indeed interesting and illustrative. The main contribution of the book is the precise picture it gives of the interplay between the industry and its preconditions on one side, and the information technology available, on the other. Legal issues, however, are not dealt with at all.

4. Conclusion

If the book should hold any conclusion for a legal audience, it would be somewhat disappointing. It seems to indicate that legal matters - be it copyright, licensing or contractual issues - play no part, whatsoever, in the decision-making processes by which 'leading firms' decide to use information technology.

This is a Book Review published on 6 December 2002.

Citation: Andersen M B, 'Information Technology Strategies: How Leading Firms Use IT to Gain and Advantage, by William V Rapp', Book Review, The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT) 2002 (3) <>. New citation as at 1/1/04: <>.


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