The Challenges of Being a Technology Leader

Comparisons to the Great Depression of the 1930s have become common in recent months as companies continue to slash budgets and downsize workforces in the face of the economic downturn. Against this backdrop, those in the technology sectors — whose operating costs often comprise a large segment of an organization’s annual budget — are in many ways the hardest hit.

Yet, C-suite technology gurus don’t necessarily have history to guide them in meeting current budget, staffing and performance goals. That’s because these leaders are relatively new to the game.

“Early on, computers were honky. They were big, in rooms in the basement, and the people who operated them had very low social needs. You never saw them,” said Wayne Anderson, president and chief IT strategist for consulting firm Anderson Professional Systems Group LLC, which he founded in 2003, and author of Unwrapping the CIO: Demystifying the Chief Information Officer Position. “They did accounting-type stuff, what we call today back-office stuff — they kept the books. That’s really where the key focus was.”

But as technology improved and computers became smaller and faster, IT naturally became an integral part of business.

“I don’t care what size your business is; in some way or another computer technology is ingrained to the point where you can’t survive without [it],” Anderson said.

At the same time, it became increasingly obvious to senior management that the successful application of new technology was necessary to implement a company’s strategic mission and,…


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