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Communications of the ACM

The business of software

Owning and Using

Owning and Using, illustration


Modern companies have systems they need to use and systems they need to own. But there seems to be some loss of focus in the management of these two categories of capability and this may be quite dangerous to the future of the enterprise.

In his seminal work Post Capitalist Society1 the late management guru Peter F. Drucker noted the world has left the era of capital and has now entered the era of knowledge. The cash and hard asset economy is receding and the knowledge economy is on the ascendant. Money is still important; possessing a mound of cash will assist you in consumption, but it may not help much in construction, in building things, in acquiring knowledge. According to Drucker, the critical success factor these days is knowledge: the ability to store and employ knowledge and the ability to create and operationalize it.


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