The process by which IT competencies are created and applied to develop firm specific IT resources is not well understood. Previous research on the phenomenon has operated from the resource-based view (RBV); however, conceptual problems with resource-based theory have neither been noted nor addressed by IS researchers. This study acknowledges these problems and provides a solid conceptual foundation for future studies on the RBV. The primary contribution of this study is empirical, however, as it reports on the findings of an in-depth case study of Analog Devices Inc. and the experiences of end-users and IT professionals in developing and applying business and IT competencies to build strategic IT resources. The findings of this study illustrate that ‘soft’ IT competencies are firm specific and therefore constitute a source of rent. Significantly, it was business end-users who developed and applied them, not IT professionals, as would be expected. This paper also builds on extant theory by presenting a refined theoretical model of the institutional and organizational influences found to shape the creation, development and application of IT competencies and strategic IT resources in firms. This answers recent calls for such a model and acts to guide future research in the area.