Next to glamorous dot-coms, which offered IT professionals the chance to change the world and become millionaires while wearing bluejeans to work, some corporate IT organizations seemed like mousy country kin, especially as the companies competed for the same limited pool of IT talent.

“The dot-coms gave us a sense of possibility, of the tremendous impact technology can have on a business,” says Cynthia Hilliard. As executive director of IT at The Longaberger Co., a Newark, Ohio-based manufacturer of handmade baskets and high-end home accessories, she says, she saw dot-coms lure away several of her employees.

Now, with dot-coms deflated and technology r