Back in the day technology CEO’s were the golden children of the business world. Golden not just in remuneration but the rock star status they enjoyed as they pioneered the wonders of new products that changed the world for the better. Employees worked all night to ship the latest software, partners queued up to share the stage at their internal jollies and customers clamoured to be made over by technology. Today the world is very different.
In the enterprise software market the only constant is change and vendors are facing a variety of business, technology and social challenges, which its senior leadership teams have to grapple with. Combined with the speed of change and the complexity of these problems leaders have to battle to build and maintain trust with their key stakeholders against a mood of increasing anatognism towards the ‘traditional approach’ to customer service that many IT vendors have become infamous for – indeed commentators argue that they are losing trust, seen by some to ‘trap’ customers with prohibitive licensing and maintenance contracts. (a fact born out by the number of companies refusing to renew their support contracts and turning to 3rd Party vendors)
To prove their worth these leaders have to become overnight experts in everything from change management to corporate social responsibility and the latest technologies, while not forgetting to hit their quarterly targets in difficult economic times. Hitting those targets is no easy matter – customers are becoming ever more robust in their demands, requiring vendors to work even harder to justify the value of their propositions. While employees’ expectations mean executives have to spend more time ‘selling’ the corporate vision to ensure everyone is focused on achieving the company’s goals. So today who’d be a technology CEO? Or to put it another way when will a Grocer become the leader of major technology vendor? Interested in your thoughts.