High-tech CEOs confront new reality

Computerworld (US online)

The high-tech industry is facing a new reality of stiff competition, economic uncertainty and global instability, all of which have CEOs zeroing in on the bottom line, according to a survey being released tomorrow.

The survey, conducted during the first quarter by the Technology, Media & Telecommunications Group of San Jose-based Deloitte & Touche LLP, was directed at CEOs of the 500 fastest-growing technology companies in North America. The survey found that although CEOs are optimistic about the future, they recognize that a fundamental shift in the marketplace has occurred.

But there’s an opportunity to take advantage of shortsightedness in the market by paying more attention to undervalued assets, technologies, skills and individuals, and applying them to create truly valuable offerings, said Ryan McDonald, CEO at Impact Blue Inc. in Calgary, Alberta. The trick, he said, is to do it now while the competition is either struggling or waiting for change.

McDonald said his company’s primary efforts to deal with this new reality include reducing senior management staff, narrowing research and development efforts, improving cash management and optimizing production.

Russ Hawkins, CEO of Paragon Networks in Brookfield, Conn., said one of the ways his company is handling the downturn is by looking to acquire new products rather than enduring the risk and time to build everything. He said that although some internal development is still being done, the focus is on acquiring proven products.

John Fish, CEO of Chicago-based Hubbard One, said his company doesn’t view its bottom line as a target. “In any economic climate, we believe the focus must be on your customers,” he said. “We operate carefully, and we focus on our clients. That simple strategy has worked wonders for us.”