The Big Switch begins by drawing a parallel between the effects of the rapid proliferation of electricity services and the impending state of ubiquity that the Internet-fueled IT world is reaching. The first half of the book makes a powerful case for the inevitability of a utility computing paradigm that is being driven by a perfect storm of technological and societal convergence; the effect that cheap connectivity to the global network and exponential gains in computing capacity is having on people, corporations, and governments is following a strikingly similar path to what we saw in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the development and standardization of the electrical grid.
Unfortunately, the second half of the book focuses on the potential impact of the “World Wide Computer” on global society and politics, and while it is a fascinating read unto itself, I felt like the tremendous momentum that had been made in the first half of the book was prematurely abandoned and the leap to the second half created a gap that was never quite filled. If the first half of the book had been more fully developed and taken to a logical conclusion that was contextually relevant to the ideas introduced in his previous book, Does IT Matter?, Carr’s place as a top thought leader in the IT world would have been cemented. The Big Switch just misses the mark, and I would like to see the first half and the second half further developed before being reconnected as a more cohesive roadmap.
That being said, there are some critical ideas in The Big Switch that need to be explored because they are highly relevant to the evolution of the IT delivery model: