Nov 27 2007

Looking in the Rearview Mirror

The founders of five businesses — who catapulted their cash-strapped startups into storied successes — reveal their best and worst IT investments.

Recruiting and retaining top employees. Satisfying state and federal employment regulations. Establishing and maintaining financial controls. Managing information technology. These are among the top challenges CEOs face when launching and growing a business from the cash-starved startup phase to full-fledged contender in the marketplace, according to the Rearview Mirror survey recently conducted by CDW.

CDW asked more than 800 CEOs and senior officers at companies across the country with 100 to 5,000 employees to think back to their early days of starting their businesses and share insights on what worked and what didn’t as they grew. Not surprisingly, the top concern, according to 52 percent of respondents, focused on employee recruiting and retention. The next-biggest problem area for 38 percent of respondents? Managing IT to the company’s advantage.

Find even more from our special report in the IT Investment Resource Center.

BizTech’s editor-in-chief Lee Copeland asked five chief executives — John Chuang of Aquent, Al Goldstein of CashNetUSA, Ganpat “Jim” Jain of ICC Enterprises, Lucas Roh of Hostway and Gary Slack of Slack Barshinger — to look in the rearview mirror and share their best and worst IT investments, as well as their advice for leveraging technology to grow their businesses.

The interviews were conclusive. The common thread was simple. There’s not much distinction between the business and the technology that run today’s growing firms. In fact, IT no longer simply “supports” these businesses in the backroom. Ever since the public embraced the Web, customer touch points are as much a part of the IT infrastructure as they are part of marketing, sales, customer service or billing — forever intertwined in every department, every customer experience and every interaction.


John Chuang
CEO, Aquent

Al Goldstein
President, CashNetUSA

Ganpat "Jim" Jain
CEO, ICC Enterprises

Lucas Roh
CEO, Hostway

Gary Slack
Chief Experience Officer, Slack Barshinger