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Editor's Note: IT's Role Remains As Strong As Ever

I was asked recently by a media pro whether or not I agreed with the statement that "technology empowers business" (it was a quote from something we call a "house ad"). Well, considering the tag line of InformationWeek is "Business Innovation Powered By Technology," it's safe to say that I agree with that statement. Yes, the tech sector has gone through a significant downturn; yes, there has been significant overspending on technology in some cases; yes, the dot-bomb revealed a lot of silly spending and marketing strategies with no clear business goals or plans to become profitable. Sure there are screwups--an enterprise application doesn't work as promised; people made decisions based on hype, not reality; a CRM system automates too much of the human touch. But none of that diminishes the role that technology plays in business innovation, creating new opportunities, becoming more efficient, becoming more productive, creating a differentiator in highly competitive markets and a tough economy.

I'm not cheerleading here, just emphasizing the core role that IT plays in any organization. But don't just take my word for it. In a few weeks, you'll hear from the industry's top players--in a special issue of InformationWeek--on where they think the industry is headed this year. Here's a sampling:

"We may look back on 2003 as a watershed event for the information technologist. Never before have we seen a better opportunity to differentiate a company from its competitors through the strategic, effective use of IT."--CIO of a major automaker

"I believe the promise and opportunities are at least as great in the Digital Decade ahead as they were throughout most of the last 10 years."--CEO of a leading software company

"The reason I'm optimistic about the industry, and particularly about our prospects in the industry, is because, although people spent more money on IT in the late '90s, they understand why they spend money on IT today much better than they did then. Customers will demand a clearer linkage between their business objectives and their technology spend, but technology now is broadly acknowledged as being absolutely mission critical."--CEO of a major IT vendor

Stephanie Stahl

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