As the country grinds through the long run-up to a national election staked on job creation and the economy perhaps more than
any other issue, a new study from the Technology CEO Council (TCC) concludes that the companies that best leverage information
technology will account for the lion’s share of new jobs and propel the next wave of economic growth.
New technologies such as the ever-growing litany of cloud applications and remotely managed computing infrastructure options
have lowered the entry barriers for innovative young startups to get off the ground and compete in a global economy, according
to the report from TCC. High-speed broadband connectivity, low-cost, high-capacity storage and on-demand computing resources
together have facilitated a new breed of startup business that can far more easily compete with and even dislodge its more
“It is a lot easier to start a business today than ever before,” Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell, who also chairs the TCC,
said here at an event marking the release of the report. “Now these tools are enabling great businesses to become much larger
and much faster.”
Small Businesses Spur Growth
Surveying employment rates over the past decade, the authors of the study found that small services firms with fewer than
100 workers that rely heavily on IT to run their business accounted for only a small share of overall employment, but a significantly
larger proportion of job growth. From 2002 through 2008, those small, IT-intensive businesses employed between 5 percent and
6 percent of all U.S. workers, but accounted for 34 percent of the new jobs created over that time, according to the report.
The TCC analysis dismissed the pessimistic view that would consign U.S. innovation and entrepreneurship to the history books
amid the collapses of the real estate and financial markets, recalling previous recessions that inspired similar doomsday
predictions that did not bear out.
At the same time, the authors noted that the few businesses that will emerge as high-growth, transformative companies — what
they call the “gazelles” of the economy — are a rare breed, representing only a scant minority of the aggregate small business
But those rare few will be the ones that tap into new Web-based tools for launching startups and securing financing, such
as the so-called “crowd-funding” platforms like Kickstarter. Once up and running, the successful companies will leverage technology
throughout their business operations, lowering the cost of back-office operations such as payroll and procurement, driving
into new markets, and making better-informed, data-driven decisions, according to the report.
Big Business Isn’t Bad
The study also pointed out the important role that larger, established companies play in helping start-ups flourish, providing
inspiration, services, support and, at times, funding. That relationship adds a measure of nuance to the casual populist rhetoric
that often tends to vilify big, institutional businesses by casting them as the enemy of the little guy, noted Sam Palmisano,
the chairman and former CEO of IBM.