As time goes by and information technologies infrastructures are built, historical decisions accumulate. This accumulation put constraints on architectural options for the future. In other words, the more history you have to manage, the less time you have to make your system progress. And time is money.
It seems that the majority of IT responsible now has to decide whether he wants to secure the past investments in the infrastructure and exploit it as long as he can (the pure financial point of view) or to seek a drastic enhancement of its systems, by taking the risk of revolutionizing the way this tool is exploited in order to boost his business productivity (the entrepreneurial point of view).
Unfortunately, if the second view is often the dream of the passionate IT responsible, it is the first that defines the scope of the majority of job descriptions at the exec level in the context of IT. And the reason is quite obvious: the risk a drastic change represents in the spirit of the stakeholders (often due to their lack of clear view in the domain, and driven by some famous stories of IT projects crashes). As from this point, the IT responsible has more interest, for his reputation, and to keep his job, to follow the intuition of the stakeholders and to secure all his choices, from the level of advancement of technologies, to the size of the suppliers (as a reliability factor), to become a late adopter, and to outsource all his infrastructure… thereby forgetting all his dreams.
But it may also be a consequence of the lack of choice in term of suppliers, and a lack of evidence of an alternative way of doing things. IT is still a young discipline, and a lot of aspects of this craft are still to be discovered. It will be the case if passionate IT leaders tend to use the discipline to make their business better, as they try and explore the new services and products of technological world!